By Shristi Patni
We live in a world where the latest political drama dominates the headlines. The devastating effects of climate change are becoming harder to ignore. Sometimes, it can be hard to remember the capacity of generosity and love humans can have to renew our faith in humanity.
Acts of kindness aren’t always grand gestures. Showing someone you care about them could be something as small as paying for their groceries or wishing them to have a great day.
However, what happened to me was much more than that and still leaves me with fond memories of a time long gone.
I was in the second year of college. I had barely settled in the college as most children. The transition from school to college is harder for some students and in this case, I happened to be one of those students.
It was right before the summer vacations that our college fest had started and was to be followed internship selection and interviews and exams.
Between lectures, assignments, co-curricular activities and preparing for the fest and exams, there was hardly any time for anything else.
I would leave for college at 12 noon every day and come back by 8 or 9 pm, just in time for dinner.
I was selected as the co-coordinator for the marketing of the fest. It included everything from selecting the right students in my team to making strategies to get sponsorships. From decorating the college to handling the performances, I had a lot on my plate.
I was so engrossed in my duties that I forgot all about the internship interviews.
While I’m great at getting things done, I chicken out if I have to face interviews.
My fellow friends were confident and could answer questions with nonchalance. While I, on the other hand, needed extensive practice and confidence to be able to face a panel and answer their questions with ease.
My efforts during the college fest were praised by all, including the director of the college. Amidst all the festivity, I had lost all of my precious time to prepare for the interview.
Upon reaching home that night, I had been extremely frustrated and scared.
Getting selected for the internship wasn’t just about the marks, it was more about the stellar reputation I had as a student.
I was one of the highest rank holders in my college, participated in extra co-curricular activities and had an attendance record of 95%.
I feared if I didn’t get selected, I’d lose my reputation and be a laughing stock.
The night before the interview, I practised until I could see the sun rising. I slept for two hours before my mother woke me up, fed me ‘Dahi-Shakkar’ (a common Indian superstition where it’s assumed that eating Dahi-Shakkar’ would bring good luck) and waved me goodbye.
As usual, I cycled my way to college.
Halfway through, it began to rain in the month of May! The clouds thundered and before I could find some shelter, I was soaked.
Tears brimmed my eyes. I was irritated, scared and hadn’t slept properly.
I parked my cycle under a tree and found myself crying unaware of the fact that there was someone watching me. An elderly lady came out of the house where I had parked my cycle and offered me her umbrella. She asked me why I was crying and I narrated the whole story. I was getting late for college and didn’t have enough time to go back home, change and then go back to college. She invited me in, stroked my hair just like my grandmother does and told me not to worry. She went inside a bedroom and brought me a clean towel, a crisp white shirt and blue trousers almost my size. She told me her granddaughter was my age and I could borrow the clothes for the day.
I couldn’t believe a complete stranger was being so kind to me!
I changed into my new clothes and thanked her profusely. The rain had now stopped and the sun was out again. I quickly cycled my way to college fearing another bout of rain. The interview went better than expected and I had been selected for an internship in a prestigious company.
My joy knew no bounds. I was elated and as soon as my college was over, I went to the nearby sweets shop and brought a big box of sweets. I cycled my way back to the kind lady’s house where she had a hot cup of tea and biscuits waiting for me. She had dried my clothes and ironed them. I touched her feet and handed her the box of sweets. I told her that I had been selected for the internship and had it not been for her, I would’ve missed my interview altogether. She smiled at me and gave me her blessing. Today, we’ve established a great relationship. We invite each other over on special occasions. To be honest, I’ve never felt the kind of happiness that I felt that day.
Since that day, I’ve started believing this famous quote by “Sometimes it takes only one act of kindness and caring to change a person’s life.” – Jackie Chan
Author Bio: Shristi Patni
Shristi is a content writer and owner of F and B Recipes. She enjoys writing about Soul Healing and Transitions Counseling. Formerly the Chief Content Officer at Raletta, she is currently working on her second cookbook.
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