Happiness

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Today, I’ll  tell you a story. No, this is not one of those bed time stories you were told as a kid. This isn’t even a story about my own successes and failures. May be, it isn’t really didactic in its approach. Yet, this is the best story of my life; the best story I’ll ever tell. My little story makes me happy, and I wish to spread this happiness.

One day, I was returning from college. Like any other day, I was walking with my backpack on my shoulders and my cellphone in my hand. I was too exhausted to observe my surroundings. Suddenly, two boys came up to me. The older one, hardly ten. I looked at their ragged t-shirts, their worn out pants, their unwashed faces, and their dishevelled hairs. Nothing about their appearance was particularly remarkable. They were like millions other kids who lived each new day to calculate their monetary requirements, only to be able to afford a quarter of a meal to survive till the next day. Yet, they allured me towards their little selves more than any of my favourite books ever did.

For a moment, I could only stare at the adult-like  expressions on their faces. But when they spoke, they were like any other innocent children, deserving love, care and attention. I wanted to carry the little one in my arms. But no, that was not what they expected of me.

“Please give us money, we will buy our meals”. They wanted a meagre amount, yet I couldn’t decide whether I should give them that. To my astonishment, the older child protested, ” Don’t give him any money. He will only buy addictives”. A little boy, hardly six years old, why will he buy addictives? Who will let him? It was beyond my wildest imagination. For a while they argued, mostly trying to tell me that they don’t buy such stuff any more. Then, they changed their minds and asked for a packet of chips. Well, chips are really unhealthy stuff for kids who need at least one proper meal a day.

I knew the perfect solution. I asked them, “Do you like chocolates?” They nodded joyfully. I held their hands and took them to the nearest store. I bought them two chocolates each. You should have seen the smile on their faces. They yelled in delight, admiring the colourful packets. They were elated at the thought that I had given them two each. “She gave me two, she gave me two”, they murmurmed in between bursts of laughter as they scurried along.

I could feel my eyes moisten. I had never felt this good about myself, not even when my teacher applauded in the presence of all my classmates or, when I got a gift I had never expected. All my life, I have been pampered with some the best chocolates from around the world. And here, I meet two kids who are happy with two little chocolates bars that I’ve had so many times, I never thought of counting them. For a moment, I was so emotional, I didn’t notice the shopkeeper smile at me. But I knew, that was the best experience of my life.

I have never felt so good about myself, ever. I have never been so happy, ever.
And the little incident, has taught me a lesson too big for the world to care for-
A little act of kindness means a lot to others. It creates a beautiful memory in the hearts of those who are neglected and unwanted. They feel loved, they feel special. We only share some of our precious time with them. But for them, probably, it is a moment they will never forget.

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24 thoughts on “Happiness

  1. I know this feeling. There are so many kids like them in my country. And I always look at them and ask myself why did they deserve that… But you got the point. Not everyone gets the point, some people just do things and never learn from them.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for this. i really loved the line: they allured me towards their little selves more than any of my favourite books ever did.

    i think you did a good thing [and we face the same kind of poverty in my country every day] but one thing i am wrestling with that maybe you can share a wrestle with is the idea of the bigger picture – you gave them a moment, sure, but how do you affect a life?

    Just this last week i started volunteering at an after school homework group and i’m hoping to go back and build relationships with the young people there. There was some great life conversation and i blogged about some of it over here: http://brettfish.co.za/2016/05/27/umlungu/ and also here: http://brettfish.co.za/2016/05/27/dont-dare-let-give-easier-name/

    i do a LOT of writing about race relations and the poor and justice but have been burdened for a while now to find at least some small way in which i can get involved practically too…

    Maybe your context allows you a space to do that – whether it’s reading to those guys or volunteering in some capacity or some other creative thing…

    But the moment we move from handout to hand up is when the real change starts happening and THAT will be the best thing you did in your life…

    All the best
    love brett fish

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I just read your post. I loved the way you’re trying to take a stand on the issues of your country. Children are so innocent, yet they are so much affected by negativities, the differences that are deeply ingrained in the country’s soil. Hoping that the little ways in which we help, will help the next generation learn better values and live happier lives.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. this is so beautiful, i read your poem as well about “have you loved someone … I think many of us can relate to it. very beautiful. I think you might like the story i have started to put up installments. When you get a chance have a read. Would appreciate an honest opinion from a great writer

    Liked by 1 person

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