1)I saved my mother from being burned alive from my father.
I live in India. Domestic violence was a common scene in my family since my childhood. Despite having a careless attitude towards studies, I used to score well in school exams (88-95% marks always), so my parents had huge expectations with me that I will surely clear IIT-JEE. But, I never prepared for JEE during my 11th and 12th class. I had the habit of studying only a night before the exams. It was the night before IIT-JEE exam date when the above incident happened. My father doubted that I will never be able to clear JEE because I never did preparation for it like other kids do, so he drank alcohol and came barging at me in anger that I have wasted his money for nothing as I am not getting into IIT. He was angry that why was I preparing the night before the exam and not months before. So he threw all my books at random and created a havoc. When my mother intervened, then he went after her. It led to my mother drenched in Kerosene oil and at the verge of being burned alive. So I hit father and locked him in another room alone for the rest of the night. The next day he apologized to us and told me that I did the right thing.
I never told this incident to anyone and only my parents know about it, and not even my elder sister.-
2)An Unusual Dinner
A few years ago, I was on one of my solitary long walks on the road when a female beggar approached me with her child. “Please, give me some money,” she said. As somebody who lives in Chennai and who’s rather used to these requests, I continued walking.
She followed me, showed me her child, and said, “We are both really hungry.”
I turned around and said, “So, you need money to eat something now?”
“Yes,” she said.
I wasn’t sure if she’d really use the money to get food for herself. Moreover, the boy looked pitiably frail, and seemed like he could really do with some food.
“So, if I bought you some food now instead of giving you money, would it be a problem?”
“No,” she said.
I looked around, and found this upmarket restaurant. I asked them both to follow me, and took them in. When the watchman tried to stop them, I said they were with me. He looked curiously and didn’t know what to do. The manager of the restaurant, upon seeing the woman in rags and her child, approached me with concern. I asked him if it’d be a problem. But perhaps because it was rather late in the night and probably also taken aback by the surprising encounter, he got them a table by the corner.
I asked them to order whatever they wanted to from the menu, and they did. Her child, the young boy, was especially delighted. I got them the items they wanted from the menu, sat with them, and spoke with them.
After paying for the bill, as we went out, she thanked me profusely. The boy was grinning in happiness. I said, “Can you not stop begging? You seem healthy. You can do better.”
She promised to go back to her hometown, a village, and seek a better life. I gave her some change, which she may or may have not used to travel back to her hometown.
But that dinner with them was a very poignant experience, and told me how we often take many things for granted. I’m not sure it was the ‘nicest’ thing I’ve ever done, but it is what I can think of off the top of my head.
Credits: Sudhir Srinivasan
3)The innocent child in me unknowingly changed a life.
One fine Saturday morning when I was fast asleep, my cellphone rang, an unknown number flashing. Annoyed, I picked up the phone after several rings. I didn’t recognise the voice either. It was a guy whom I had met, when I was in fifth grade, nearly 12 years ago, long forgotten.
This is something which is always going to remain really close to my heart.
When I was a kid, I always fancied visiting our farms in the village, around 7-8 kilometers from my town. There was a family friend of ours, whom I used to call ‘Apple uncle’ because he visited us on every Sunday and brought apples for me. One day I insisted him to take me to one of our farms in the village. He would never deny me anything.
Upon reaching the farm I saw a kid, working relentlessly, weak, scruffy clothes, unkempt hair, muddy hands, probably a couple of years elder than me. Curious kid I was, I approached him and started asking my questions. He seemed quite smart, knew a lot of things, much different than I had read in my course books.
In a while, we got friendly and started playing around. He even taught me how to climb a tree. He told me that he stayed in the farm, in a small tent house with his family, which probably was three-fourth the size of my study room. I was surprised, because for the first time, had I seen a kid of my age working in a farm. He showed me his school from over the tree. It looked like some abandoned building with 3-4 rooms and cracked walls without even a roof.
He told me that he went to the school twice a week mostly because they used to get free sacks of rice for attending school, thanks to the then government policy. Upon asking him, why did he work in the farm instead of going to school, he told me that his father was an alcoholic and drank to death every night. When they didn’t work enough to earn at least 50 Rupees a day, they wouldn’t even be able to afford a meal twice a day. His father used to beat his mother and sometimes didn’t even spare his little sister. His mother, even after being constantly sick, worked the entire day so that the kids don’t become victims of their father’s rage.
Even though I belonged to a middle-class family, my innocuous mind was unable to comprehend this injustice. I got everything that I asked for. What had I done to deserve a better life and he didn’t? It dazed me! It somehow made the child in me feel guilty, I don’t know why!
So a few weeks passed and it was my birthday! Apple uncle visited in the morning to wish me. I asked him to take me to the farms again. He wouldn’t deny me anything as it was my birthday. I broke my year long preserved piggybank in which I was saving money for a new bicycle on my birthday. Not that my father couldn’t gift me, but you know, as a kid, you love certain things in your way. I filled both my pockets with all the coins and crushed notes. I didn’t tell anyone and and offered whatever money I had to the kid and asked him to spend it setting a tea-stall or something of his own so that he didn’t have to work in the farm all day long. It was around 1800 rupees. At first, he denied it wholeheartedly but I pleaded him to keep it for his mother’s sake. I told him that it was my birthday and he couldn’t deny me.
When I came back home, I thought my dad would scold me upon hearing this. But instead he gave a pat on my back and hugged me. My dad actually helped him set a mini-shop with all the money I had given and asked him to join the school in our town. I gave him my old bicycle as I got a new one. My dad had a word with principal and asked him to let him join the school. He used to ride all the way long from his village to the school, helped his mother working in the stall during evening and studied in the weekends.
He wasn’t originally from English medium so it was a little tough for him to understand. I was in 5th grade, still I read his 7th grade books and taught him english and Science in my free time initially for a few weeks. He was a good student and kept performing well.
Four years later I left that school and lost contact with him.
Fast forward to Oct’ 2013.
He had called me to tell me that he got placed in a multinational company just after graduating from a good engineering college and is now earning 20 times more than what his entire family used to while working in the farm. He studied on loans and scholarships. He told me that his father had left drinking and now they were living peacefully in an house on rent. His little sister was studying too. I asked him about his mother. I could sense the brittleness in his voice. He told me that his mother unfortunately died of cancer three years back. I was really moved when he said that, if she was there to see him succeed, she would be really happy because that’s all she wanted, that’s all she had strived for all her life.
His heartfelt words left me overwhelmed when he said, “You changed my life. Whatever I am today, it’s all because of you.” He conveyed me the blessings of his father and thanked me several times. I didn’t know how to respond. All I did was offered him some money. It was him who cycled all the way to school, worked day and night so that his sick mother didn’t have to work and made his way up against all odds without any external support.
Honestly speaking, a privileged kid like me could never imagine how is it like being in his shoes. I never felt so happy before and didn’t mind shedding a tear or two. I respect him from the bottom of my heart for what he has achieved and thank him for setting up an inspiring example indeed.
His words will always remain close to my heart and motivate me to spread smiles whenever I can.-
4)At 25, I used all my money to buy my parents a house. They didn’t know it was all my money at the time.
I sold a tech company for a small exit in 2010. Everyone was extremely proud of me, but no one knew the exact amount I made, but everyone assumed I did really well. In actuality, I only made just over a hundred thousand dollars. I purposefully hid the amount because I wanted to use all the money to buy my parents a house, and I knew that my parents would never accept me buying them a house with the money from my sale. So with no one knowing, I drained my account (after paying taxes) and bought my parents a 1-story house in Texas (where I grew up). I did this because they had been living in a small two-story house that, in recent years, could no longer accommodate my sick and increasingly wheel-chair-bound dad.
Everyone assumed I had made a large amount of money and that this was one of many things I used the money on. In reality, this was my exit and my dream gift. This gift allowed my dad to live out the remainder of his life in dignity and it brought a tremendous stabilizing force to our family life. It stands as the nicest thing I’ll likely ever do.
Since then, I’ve made more money, my dad passed away, and my mom lives in that house, now full of great memories. We look back with great joy at those last few years with my dad, and I’m glad I could make it as comfortable for him as possible.
5)I walked into the men’s room at Costco and found an obviously confused and disoriented man trying, unsuccessfully, to get his pants down right in the middle of the restroom rather than in the stall. He was fumbling with them and not making any headway in his efforts. There were a few other men in there as well and you could tell they were wrestling with the idea of helping but uncomfortable with the idea and not really sure of what to do. I announced that I am a nurse and would take care of it from there. I assisted the man into a stall, got his pants down for him and got him on the pot. When I left the stall, I left the bathroom as well, knowing there was no way this guy had gotten there unaccompanied. I found an old lady waiting outside, obviously distressed. I asked if her husband was the confused gentleman and, of course, she replied yes. I told her what I was doing, that all was in control and well and asked his name. I then went back in.
He took a while to finish and I know everyone who entered to find me waiting in there, doing nothing but just standing there must have thought I was a nut job… But when he was done, I went back into the stall to find that he had made quite the mess of things. I had suspected as much given the smell that was emanating into the surrounding vicinity. I got a few wet paper towels and cleaned him up, got his pants back up and fastened and finished up at the sink, washing his hands with him just as I do my toddler daughter. Then I took him back out to his waiting wife.
I made my purchase and left, telling my wife and kids waiting in the car that I’d had great trouble finding what I was looking for and the lines had been unbearably long. I got a few nasty looks (and a comment or two…) but it was worth it.-
6) My ma has my kidney.
I can never tell her. She would have never agreed. And she would regret it forever if I told her now.
She thinks it’s someone who sold it to us. And that she was so lucky to have got a “donor” within 3 months of needing it.
The amazing feeling of having done this for my ma is something I can never explain to anyone. No one knows about this – except my wife!
7) A few months back, I was on my way to reach a movie theatre where my girlfriend was waiting for me. I was late already, so I had to rush on my two wheeler. Suddenly, an old lady, maybe around 70 stood beside the road stretching her hand to get a lift. I was late, but I couldn’t resist stopping.
She sat on my bike and when I was about to start, she said “Son, Please stop. I have lost my medicine. They would have fallen on the road from my bag when I was walking. They are very costly and I can’t afford to buy again”.
I stopped immediately and she got down. She was worried and almost cried. When she was getting down, I saw some bandages on her back. She asked me to help her find them. I parked my bike beside the road and started searching for her medicine. At last, I found them and I gave it to her. She felt very relieved and thanked me.
Then, we came back to the place where I parked my bike and we started. On my way, I asked about her bandages and why she was alone.
She said, “My husband died after we had a boy. Then all the responsibility was on me. I raised my child with great difficulty. He was a good student, he got a scholarship for his study and everything was going well. He got a job and we moved into a good place.
One day on his way back home, he got into an accident. I had to sell everything for his treatment. But, unfortunately, after two months, he passed away. I was all alone and had no one. After my husband’s death, I knew I had to move on and raise the child. I loved my child and he was everything for me. After his death, I had no reason to live. But, I thought life has to move on and worked for my living.
Few days back, I had a surgery and I was discharged today. I couldn’t walk all the way home and God sent you my son.”
After listening to her story, I had no words. I dropped her at her place and gave her my mobile number and said, “Think of me as your second son and feel free to call me at any time for any kind of help. From now, you will be going to hospital along with me.”
She smiled and said, “Son, I am glad you said that. I don’t need any financial help from you. Come to see me when you are free, that’s all I need”.
From then, I visited her whenever I was free, took care of her medical needs without letting her know.
She passed away a few days back. I took care of her rituals in the place of her son.
8) It was May of 2011, I was doing my internship at Delhi. I was staying at Saket. My flat was about 5 kilometers from nearest Metro. I generally used to take share autos from metro station.
One day I was stuck in traffic jam and it didn’t seem that it would break soon. I thought I would walk and got off the auto. On my way, at a red light I saw an old lady who was using a spread plastic sheet as a small shop. I stopped there and bought a packet of gum from her.
As there was still time left for the light to turn green I started small talks with her.
Me: Amma itni budhi ho gayi hain, ghar pe aaram kuon nhi karti.
(Mother, you are getting old why don’t you rest at home).
Amma: Kya kare beta, khana hai to kaam karna padega na.
(What can I do son, I have to work for food).
Me: Kuon ghar me aur koi nahi hai kamane wala?
( Isn’t there anyone else to earn money?)
Amma: Wo to gujar gaye. Ek beta hai jo roj daru pita hai jo paise main le jati hun wo bhi chin leta hai. Agar na du to khana bhi nahi deta.
[ He (her husband) passed away. I have a son who is a drunkard. He takes whatever I earn too. I have to, other wise I wont get anything to eat]
We ended up talking for an hour or so. I was deeply moved by what she said. From next day I never took auto and always use to walk my way back. I stopped at her shop every day without fail. We used to talk for almost half an hour everyday. On a Monday she told me that she was really worried why had I not come the previous day, which being a Sunday was my day off.
On the day before I was to leave Delhi I met her for the last time. She started crying upon hearing the news. A few minutes in, and my eyes also become moist. It was a bizarre experience for any passerby seeing us cry sitting there. But I guessed it did not matter at that time who was watching.
After a while when I started taking my leave, she said:
“Beta hamesha khush rehna. Mil to kabhi paoge nahi, par apni is amma ko bhi kbhi yaad kar lena. Hum to har roj yaad karenge”.
( Always be happy. I know we are never meeting again but sometimes when you have time, miss me because I am gonna miss you everyday).
I don’t know if it comes under doing great things or not because I never gave her any money. I never went out of my way to help her. I just gave her someone to talk to for 30 minutes everyday.-
Credits: Rachit Agarwal
9) One fine day, on my way to college, I saw an accident and a woman was rolling on the road, her clothes partially torn, with her private parts visible. She was badly injured. People out there called for the Ambulance. I took off my shirt and covered her. I have never met her till date.I had to travel all the way home without a shirt.people on the road gave all kind of weird looks
10) This was not something I did, but it was a great kindness though illegal and risky for the person who put it into action. Many years ago (in the 70s), a woman in my mother’s state government office group was diagnosed with a brain tumor. She could no longer work and it was just her and her high school age kid, no other relatives or support system. She did not have long term disability and the health insurance at that time was nonexistent.
Her immediate supervisor gathered everyone together and stated that he was going to carry her on the payroll until she died. For it to work, everyone had to keep their mouths shut and not let on, and they’d all have to work harder to make up for her absence. For a year and half, until she died (and she managed to hold on until her son graduated high school), she was on the payroll. It never got reported, either. Funny thing is, all the women in the office disliked this supervisor, and the feeling was apparently mutual.
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