October 2011

The Goodwill Balloon

Last year my friend’s son, Aryan, a young boy of ten, decided to do a little experiment. He bought a helium balloon, a nice, big, shiny one. He played with it for a little while and later, quite like what people sometimes do with birds in a cage, he released the huge balloon in the air.

The balloon travelled gently, carried by its own weightlessness and the wind behind it. It made it’s way to a remote village close to Barielly. There it descended and was excitedly collected by a bunch of children. They ran to the PCO and made a call to the number written on the balloon. An excited exchange took place between Aryan and the village boys. They thanked him profusely for the lovely gift, expressed astonishment over its size and color, discussed other topics and bade each other a heartfelt farewell.

Aryan loved this experience and has decided to do this more often and light up the life of some unsuspecting child with such unexpected gifts…

Kindness of Strangers

I was in my car, waiting impatiently for the red light to change to green at a big, busy crossing in New Delhi. Moving around were lots of little children selling various interesting, saleable items.  One such child stopped by my window carrying neatly lined strings of my favourite flower, Jasmine. They looked beautiful and upon lowering my window their gentle fragrance immediately wafted into my car. I looked at them appreciatively and asked him the price for a couple of strings, all the time aware that the light might turn green before I could make the transaction. When he quoted a price I rummaged in my purse, only to find that I had no change, just hundred rupee notes. The light turned green and I mumbled my apologies, telling him I didn’t have the requisite change.  As my car started moving, he started running along…  I could feel myself getting annoyed at his persistence. He was running, not to make the deal but to drop two strings on my lap, telling me to enjoy them since I liked them so much. Completely taken aback, I went along my way, my car already fragrant with the unexpected gift.

I realised then that though I had the money, that young lad was far richer….

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