Acts of kindness :)

Acts of kindness create a positive impact on the beneficiary of such actions and leave a lasting impression. Have been lucky to receive and also witness acts of kindness many a times. Below are some that come to mind at this time that I felt like sharing.

Your toll is paid for, Sir!
Few years ago we were returning from Chicago on Christmas Eve. Those days I did not have an I-Pass (prepaid toll device with online recharging feature). At one of the toll booths as I stopped to pay toll I was waved off and the attendant said “You toll is paid for, Sir! You can proceed ahead”. Turns out the person ahead had paid for the next person 🙂 Wow, what a noble thought in keeping with the spirit of the holidays was my reaction!

No problem at all, I can drop your son for his class!
For a few years I was working out of town and wife was doing a great job managing a full time job, winter snow, dropping and picking up son to school and other activities. When she moved to a new position at work she couldn’t drop son for his music class due to some job specific situation. Hesitantly we asked retired lady next door if she could help. She was more than happy to assist and for few months it was of great help till we could manage on our own. We were very thankful for the cheerful help we got.

Main paisa de doongi bhaiyya (I will pay for it)!
Back when I was in school one day I decided to treat my friend and myself to sherbet/gola from street bhaiyya (vendor). Both of us had a good time. When it came time to pay up I realized I was a little short of cash. Was at my wit’s end as I did not know what to do. Another lady who was having sherbet at that time noticed the situation I was in and without any hesitation asked the bhaiyya how much I owed and simply paid it. A total stranger, not rich, helped when she did not have to. Don’t remember her face but to me she was a Goddess on that day.

Prasad (offering to God distributed to devotees) from temple!
When I was school (or college) for a few years an elderly, retired gentleman used to go to local temple every morning and on the way back give temple prasad to us for a few years. Not sure why but he just did this on his own and all of us were touched by this gesture.

Flowers for pooja (prayer)!
Past year or two my parents said a lady from the same residential community who plucks flowers every morning has been giving it to them for pooja daily. Not a family friend she just does it probably because she feels good about it. Nice gesture indeed.

In my book an act of kindness is something one does wholeheartedly without being asked for, without considering who the person is and without expecting anything in return. When I get the opportunity hopefully I am able to rise to the occasion.
Always count your blessings folks. Thanks!

When Bollywood came calling!

Few years ago Bollywood came calling to Thane and the result: My parents were mini-celebrities! The movie makers of Rocket Singh were scouting for a location and they they zeroed in on my parents flat in Brindaban Society. It couldn’t have happened to the most unlikely of folks. My parents have never been interested in movies much, they have watched just a handful of movies in theaters. Few weeks before the shooting was to start some people associated with the movie came over and politely inquired if they could shoot some scenes for the movie. At the most it would be required for a week. Ok said my parents. When they informed me my only request was to put the condition that the house would be available if I was offered author backed multiple roles in a future movie. I don’t think my parents ever broached that topic with the movie makers. To this day I blame my parents for my Bollywood career not taking off like a rocket 😉
I digress, let me get back to the movie shooting. Looks like news about movie shooting location spread like wild fire. Most likely because the Society secretary had to be approached for permission and he must have mentioned it to a few folks. On the day of first shooting it seemed the whole of Brindaban (100+ buildings) came over to witness the shooting. The whole place was agog with excitement with people desperate to catch glimpse of movie stars. The required scenes were wrapped up in 2-3 days. Parents mentioned Ranbir Singh was very respectful, Prem Chopra quite friendly and the production crew very polite. They got their autographs too. I haven’t seen yet it as I never remember about it when I am there. In the movie itself the scenes of the flat are more like a Tirupati Balaji darshan. Blink and you will miss it 🙂 The glow of celebrity continued to shine brightly on parents for a few more weeks after the shooting. When they used to go for their evening walks people used to point at them and in hushed and reverential tones mention that the movie was shot in their flat. Some just couldn’t contain their curiosity and even knocked on the door to find out why that particular flat was chosen. As if we knew 🙂 Must have been a few weeks of unexpected entertainment. When the movie was released I am sure many folks from Brindaban bought movie tickets to watch the movie. After watching the movie I ribbed my parents saying that the reason they chose the flat was to show the hero’s humble upbringing 😀

Lost in the mists of time

Happy faces boarded a flight hoping to fly north,
Unbeknownst to them their trip would go south;
It wasn’t supposed to happen like this,
What did the innocents do to deserve this?

Days passed and turned into weeks,
Each day brought more innuendo and unconfirmed leaks;
Anxious faces scanned all news, alternating between hope and dread,
One day came the terse announcement “Everyone on flight 370 is dead”

Now they are lost in the mists of time,
They have departed before it was their time;
Searchers looked in vain collecting just an occasional piece,
Lost forever may all aboard MH370 rest in peace

Forgetfulness + Borderline OCD = ?

If your guess was Raj you are right 😀
You might ask what kind of OCD like tendencies. Below are some that come to mind immediately
1) In my wallet I like the $ bills of each denomination together and all the bills in increasing or decreasing order
2) If there is something closer to the edge of a shelf or kitchen island, especially containers with liquids, my natural instinct will be to move it closer to the center so that they are knocked down by accident
3) In the refrigerator all stuff with earlier expiry date in future will be closer to the front for easier access and use
4) If tissue paper roll has a tissue partially torn the “offending” piece will be torn off to the perforation 😀
5) If there is a spelling mistake by me I like to correct it if I can edit it or add a follow up note with correction. If there is a spelling mistake by others I struggle with how to get it corrected by bringing it to attention without offending the person
6) While tipping at restaurants I prefer the final figure to be a round figure. In recent times I have been weaning off this habit to save the effort of calculation
7) If paying by cash will try to get dollar bills as change instead of coins. It’s becoming more difficult now as current wallet does not have separate pocket for coins
8) Used to keep set of quarters handy in car (in a prescription tablet container no less 😀 ) in case of need for parking when I used to drive longer
9) Symmetry: If there are 3 flowering plants, two of them red and one white, the white one will generally be between the two red flower plants
10) Symmetry: Spacing and placement are important on pieces over mantel and entertainment center. If there are two of a kind and three of another kind normal preference would be to not bunch them together
11) Staircase steps: When I use them (which is very rare nowadays 🙂 ) I always like to count the # of steps. Serves no purpose but it’s a habit
12) Staircase steps: If I take 2 steps at a time first step landed will depend on # of steps on a flight of stairs. If the total is even first step will be on step# 2, if total is odd first step will be on step# 1. The meaningless objective is to make each step kinda uniform
13) While sending Emails all Email addresses will generally be in subject area till the Email is fully composed for fear of clicking Send by mistake before it’s fully written
14) Forgetfulness and OCD like combo: I frequently get out of elevator the first time door opens
15) Forgetfulness and OCD like combo: If I have promised to get something for a person will try to keep it in the car as soon as I remember. Generally in driver seat so that it is visible when I open the car driver side door. It’s a different matter that I may forget the item is in the car when I get off the car as I would have placed in different seat before starting the car 😀
16) Forgetfulness and OCD like combo: If there is an important piece of document I need to carry it generally will be stuffed into the wallet if it fits in or placed right over the wallet or near car key so that it is difficult to miss. Couple of times recently I forgot my wallet and realized why I felt something was missing when I noticed it on reaching the gas station or a shop

When I go on a “Why are the shoes not placed properly in the rack OR Why are things placed on the edge” wife and son laugh, probably thinking the OCD like tendency has kicked in 😀 Can’t blame them, almost all of it is trivial in the bigger picture 🙂

Getting pulled from all sides?

The Raj is always looking out for interesting things and structures when he goes out for a drive. Radio masts / telecommunications towers have fascinated me. Tall and thin, they stand out dwarfing other structures around. What keeps the masts standing are the guy wires running in different directions from the tower to the ground from multiple levels in the tower. The guy wires/cables are spread out over a radius of several hundred feet. Will be interesting to see a tower under construction just to observe steel lattice being put up and then secured to the ground by the guy wires. Some of those guy wires must be tethered to the ground in properties not owned by the organization that owns a tower. I wonder if those property owners get some discount if they use the radio/TV services on offer 🙂 My guess is more densely populated the area where the towers are they are likely to be taller to avoid signal obstruction by surrounding structures.
What is the point of all this?
To share a life lesson: If you are getting pulled from all sides you can still stand tall and
strong if you maintain your balance! (Did I hear someone say “and there is always a Raj story
waiting to be told”? 😉 Yes, of course! You betcha 😀 )