It astounds me … as to how people go the extra mile with their little acts of kindness. Few such acts happened on a pleasant January morning.
I was on a field trip with the Basic DSLR Photography Weekend batch participants of Ambitions 4 Photography Academy to the famous Marina beach, Chennai as a Junior faculty.
We had assembled at Mahatma Gandhi’s statue for a brief session of instructions from the key mentor Mr.KL.Raja Ponsing. Soon the participants were busy capturing the interesting morning activities. Marina was abuzz with people from all walks of life enjoying their activities on a zesty Sunday morning.
There were joggers, people walking their precious pet dogs and cuddly puppies, vendors selling drinks and bites, children undergoing different kinds of training like boxing, silambattam, roller skating, people doing their yoga, some families giggling in happiness, Grand parents enjoying with their frisky grand-kids, friends catching up and of-course our participants capturing all the wonderful activities with their cameras.
Then came an interesting person, an old man dressed in a very different way, he has been the fancy of many of our students pictures for several years. He is a daily visitor to the beach and anyone can spot him in the early hours of the day at the statue of Mahatma Gandhi. It was the first time I saw him arrive. He arrived in style in an interesting looking two-wheeler with lots of bags and curious looking things. He parked his vehicle walked upto the statue of Mahatma Gandhi and stood in attention and saluted. He was soon greeted by a brown dog who seemed to be pleased by his arrival. It has been awhile since I saw anyone salute with so much honor in their hearts. Soon he walked to his favorite spot placed his huge plastic bag and sat down for a few minutes of quite meditation. It gave us all time to observe what a unique person he was and how he went about expressing his uniqueness. It left me thinking … all of us are made unique and how many of us take steps to destroy that individualism in us just to join the rat race. Just to be a part of some greater group that we consider more important than our own self.
He was wearing a hat with a traditional South-Indian towel with red an green borders wrapper over it complimenting his flowing white beard and mustache. A pair of sunglasses with black frame and yellow lenses, sacred beads around his neck accompanied by a very modern pouch and his reading glasses. He also had a carry pouch on his waist over his traditional dhoti worn the traditional way. With no shirt on top his upper body was carefully covered with yet another piece of cloth which was bright red and green border.
After the brief mediation he removed the hat and made a turban out of the towel that wrapped the hat and began his yoga. He started straight away with the Salamba Sirsasana. Our Basic DSLR Photography course participants soon started shooting picture of him in his yoga pose. Following that he came back to his normal sitting position and started meditation.
Soon after his meditation he opened a few packets of snacks from his bag and scattered them about. Followed by a few biscuits. A few birds came by and the biscuits were for the stray dogs. There was a woman who sweeps clean the beach side who greeted him out of respect and he gave the poor old woman a packet of biscuits.
After awhile another old man came by to greet him . He discussed about his knee pain and almost instantaneously our generous man applied some medicated oil he had in his bag on to the other man’s knees. He took the blessing of our turbaned man and left. I was surprised as to how a person within minutes of his presence in a place has created changes in the lives of so many others around him in a very positive way. He showed no difference in his approach to the beings around him. As he went about his acts of kindness there was a silent spectator who seemed to be used to his presence, the ‘Brown Dog’ he watched for sometime and casually went to sleep in front of our ‘Turbaned Hat Man’
I was so out of track of what I was supposed to do observing all his activities. I clicked a few pictures of him with the surroundings but was carried away by his doings. He was not a man of great means. His legs were dirty. His clothes were not new or fresh. But that didn’t stop him from helping others in need. He could have invested his time in his own upkeep. He need not come everyday to meet his two legged, four legged or feathered friends but he did.
Soon I was distracted by a feeble whine of a puppy. There were people gathering for a protest parade close by and amidst the noise of talking people I heard the puppy again and again. After looking about I found a small little puppy only a couple of months old. I figured he was hungry and has lost his mother amidst the chaos only a few minutes back. His constant yelping calling his mother was drowned by the noisy protesters. I was wondering what to do and phoned my sister an ardent Dog rescuer asking her what to do? She told me that it is best to unite him with the mother but can bring him home if I cant find the mother. We could take the puppy home but he was too young and needed his mother. He was running about searching for his mother. I kept following him ensuring that he doesn’t run into the traffic. Soon my weird movements caught the attention of a couple of our BTEC learners. They asked me what I planned to do with the pup. I figured he was hungry that lead to the feeble yelping. I just had water with me. We tried to feed small pieces of biscuit thrown around by our kind hearted yoga man but the puppy was too young to eat solids. The one of the learners came up with an idea. He said he’d buy a cup of milk and feed the puppy. We were far away from the vendors who sold food and drinks. He volunteered to get some milk and water. Soon he was gone and I was left watching over the puppy.
After several anxious moments he returned with a small cup of milk and water. We fed the puppy he licked the brimming cups anxiously and soon got transformed into a little bundle of energy. And off he sped away in search of his mother. I ran behind him as fast as I could hoping he doesn’t get run over or trampled upon . He was small and swift and I couldn’t keep up with him and he vanished out of my sight into his familiar territory where I spotted a few male dogs. The quickly sniffed him and caused no harm. Hoping he would find his mother I ran back to my group. I missed more than half of the field trip experience. I rejoined the group but my heart was still on the puppy dearly hoping for him to find his mother. Soon there was a glint of real hope I saw an anxious female dog sniffing about the pathway and bushes. Soon she came to the very spot where I stood guarding the pup. I was watching this dog from across the road. Her pace picked up as soon as she caught the scent of her baby. She tracked the path and soon she too vanished in the same direction as the puppy. I knew they would find each other. I was happy that I didn’t take the puppy home with me. After all who can be the better guardian angel for a child that his own mother.
I was happy that in this world filled with chaos there is HOPE. Every little act of kindness strengthens that hope for a BETTER tomorrow. I saw goodness in so many beings around me in just a few hours. I am sure the world still holds a lot of Goodness and Hope.