Wrote this article for the “Parents’ Corner” of the Junior Edition of my daughter’s school magazine – 2014-2015.
Sometimes a single incident teaches you so much and strengthens your faith in humanity. Here is one such episode that I would like to recount – one that has left an indelible mark on my mind.
This is about a family who was holidaying in Mussoorie – a young girl in her twenties, her parents and grandmother. Although they were staying in a hotel at the hill station, they had many day trips planned to the more remote scenic areas, higher up in the mountains. The only way to get to these areas was on foot or by cycle rickshaw – mechanical contraptions manually pulled by rickshaw pullers.
The family also had to use this means of transport since there were two elderly ladies for whom the climb would have been impossible on foot.
So they called for one cycle rickshaw and the two older ladies sat in it, while the young girl and her father decided to walk alongside. The rickshaw puller seemed to be a middle aged man, probably in his late forties or early fifties. They fixed the fare and the puller took to the pedals and began to ferry the ladies towards their destination – a temple at the end of a steep gradient that overlooked a beautiful valley.
All seemed well till they approached the gradient – an uphill slope that would mean quite a rigorous exertion for the rickshaw puller, well past his youth. He began the climb, pushing down on the pedals with all his strength but as it was very steep, he was soon struggling at the task. Seeing this, the girl’s father promptly went to help him by actually pushing the rickshaw from behind, using both his hands. Seeing her father, the young girl too decided to pitch in. The look of surprise and gratitude on the face of the rickshaw puller was priceless – he seemed at a complete loss for words to express his feelings.
This unique sight attracted many stares and some people actually followed suit with their respective rickshaws, bringing forth a chain of kindness. It proved that good begets good and that kindness and humility are what make us human – qualities that unite us beyond man-made barriers of class, status, language and religion.
This makes me wonder at how simple and uncomplicated our world would be if only we did not allow our humane qualities to be eclipsed by arrogance, and our egos to be flattered by a meaningless sense of superiority. Kindness is all it takes to be a good person and we don’t really need any religion to teach us that.
It is the only thing our world desperately needs today!
P.S – Dedicating this piece to my father, the protagonist of this incident – the man who walked the talk and from whom I learnt some of life’s most valuable lessons.