The beauty of kindness is that it can only be repaid with more kindness, notes Aarti David.
The past couple of months have been an emotional rollercoaster for me.
Many unexpected twists and turns that one can imagine, but on the way, I've had some life changing experiences.
I had the privilege of crossing paths with many people who were complete strangers to me, yet their kindness overwhelmed me beyond words.
It made me realise how the world is a beautiful place because of these wonderful humans who put others before themselves.
I went overseas to drop off my daughter for further studies two months ago. While there, we were hosted by a couple (my parents' age group) who were completely unknown to us.
I had a lot of apprehensions about how it would be staying with strangers. With great trepidation we reached their home.
Little did we know that the few days we spent with them would forge a bond for life. They welcomed us so graciously and opened their heart and home to us.
My daughter and I never felt like we were away from home at all. They were just so loving and generous and giving.
I could never have fathomed that our stay would be so convenient and that we would be able to accomplish so much in the little time we had with the help of our hosts.
Their hospitality was way better than that of any five star luxury hotel.
In fact, their thoughtfulness permeated in every act and gesture whether it was regarding the food we would like to eat (especially mindful of my dietary restrictions, since I don't eat meat and eggs and a have a host of allergies to many foods) or sleep arrangement or the pick-up and drop from the train station or assisting/guiding with the shopping options.
They had a ready solution for everything.
They took us both in like their own and assured me that my daughter had a home away from home and that she could just go over to their place whenever she missed home.
Such kindness, I had never experienced before in my life. It was like staying with one's own parents.
Not to say that I have not felt kindness at other times in my life. But this trip was quite different.
It showed me how the circle of good surrounds us at all times. We just need to be mindful to it.
Everywhere we went, we met people who went out of their way to offer help. Their kindness and warm friendly smiles made us feel less anxious in our new surroundings.
I particularly remember this one time on campus when we were not able to find the correct bus stop and this bus driver actually accompanied us to the correct bus stop which was a bit further ahead.
He could have simply given us the directions, but he chose to go out of his way to help by walking with us.
The lady at the bank, who sat with us for over an hour and tried to resolve an issue we were encountering.
Not only that, she even guided my daughter on best practices and what she should be watchful about.
She too, chose to give her time and help out despite her busy schedule.
There are so many similar incidents where people were more than kind. Whether it was someone at the airport or someone who helped us while we were still planning our trip.
Help just poured in from every quarter imaginable.
Friends and family went out of their way to take care of little things and ensuring we were able to plan our travel safely and smoothly.
Not to forget my uncle who upon hearing of our plans offered to ask his friend to host us while there.
Such thoughtfulness is rare and fills one's heart with immense gratitude and thankfulness.
If it weren't for his offer, we would have missed meeting our wonderful hosts and an opportunity to know them.
It is true that kindness is a virtue. And when you're at the lowest point in your life you might encounter a random act of kindness that reinstates your belief in humankind.
Those who give off themselves without expecting anything in return are the rarest of rare people and surprising as it may seem, they are all around us.
We are not perceptive enough to spot them.
Do you realise you lost the moment running after something big while it was something completely small and almost insignificant that made your day?
I have felt like this a lot lately and also appreciate that it is the little things in life that matter much.
Just the other day, while on my way back home from picking groceries I stopped by the ice-cream cart to pick up some ice-cream for home.
It so happened that the payment app showed payment failure and I had to pay again.
I just jokingly told the vendor, if the double money gets credited to you, don't party with it, be sure to refund it to me. And he smiled and told me, that he surely would.
And to my utter dismay, that it is exactly what he did. I felt so touched with his mild-mannered kindness and honesty.
As I woke up this morning and opened the curtains to my room and saw the beautiful sunrise.
I realised how little we appreciate all that surrounds us. We go about our busy day, lost in thoughts of our to do lists and things still left to be done and the day breaks and ends just like that.
We never stop to smell the roses (metaphorically) and the coffee (literally). Gobbling up our breakfast or ignoring it completely in our rush to begin the day.
And while we are hurrying, we might encounter someone who smiles at us. We might sometimes find that annoying even, considering how relaxed and easy going they seem.
Not knowing that we encountered an act of kindness in that non-verbal act of a smile. Someone just gave us a happy start to our day.
And if only we appreciated it enough, we could reciprocate it for someone in another way.
A famous quote from Rumi resonates a lot with me: 'Before you speak, let your words pass through three gates: Is it true? Is it necessary? Is it kind?'
I guess we could all do with a little more kindness in the world we live in.
It would help us replace anger, frustration, ego with understanding and compassion.
The beauty of kindness is that it can only be repaid with more kindness...
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. -- The 14th Dalai Lama.
Feature Presentation: Ashish Narsale/Rediff.com