I was quite young when I first read ‘The Last Leaf’ by O. Henry. I was moved by the story. It dawned upon me that it is hope that keeps one alive. Recovering from crisis gets very difficult in the absence of hope. The plans that we make for tomorrow help us look forward to the future and keep the hustle going. And in the current situation of pandemic, it is hope that is giving us strength and the will to carry on, to visualize a disease-free world.
The world doesn’t need more of watchers but doers, who are ready to make a positive contribution. It hurts when we see sad faces in the news and around us. Reading about struggles of others made many people come up with innovative solutions to the problems. Often, people complain about lack of resources or time when they are not able to do something for the community. However, it doesn’t require one to don the avatar of Robin Hood every time. Even if one could smile to the people who are in distress is enough sometimes.
“The planet does not need more successful people. The planet desperately needs more peacemakers, healers, restorers, storytellers and lovers of all kinds.” – Dalai Lama
The last one year has been mentally exhausting. Every day, there is the news of people dying and struggling to recover. Besides the frontline warriors, there are so many common people who are trying to help those who are in agony. A section of people even took small yet important steps to lift up the hopes of the people around them, which is again very necessary. Here, I bring you the stories of those kind-hearted people who are spreading positivity and happiness with their acts of love and compassion.
Inspiring one day at a time
Social Media is a great tool to spread the message of goodness. Everyone has their own way of making people smile. While some post jokes and stories leaving people in splits, others post inspirational messages to get up and get going. Just like Priyata Agrawal. Since the beginning of the pandemic, she has been sharing quotes, poems and messages to spread hope, resilience and motivation. In her words, “What I believe is that when we make people smile and happy, it reciprocates to us in some way or the other. The happiness simply rubs off on us. Initially, when I started posting messages, people responded positively and said that they look forward to my messages. It motivated me to choose a special message and a corresponding image every single day. Many felt that the message came to them at the right time and help them endure the situation they were going through. Some said that it helped them as a ray of light and gave them clarity or became a guiding light. Sending daily messages helped me to connect with my friends and family on a regular basis when I was not able to meet them; it was like telling them that we all are together in this and will fight this back, that you are cared and loved too. This is the time to think and work on self and help others too. World needs all this. It has been over a year doing this. When people ping me saying that my posts are awesome, it inspires me to keep doing it. This is an amazing feeling and it makes me satisfied and happy that I am able to do little that can bring some change and happiness in the world.” A single good message is enough for that silver lining in the clouds.
Spreading the goodness
“There’s a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in”, so said Leonard Cohen. Thanks to online shopping and delivery, many people got the convenience of essentials getting delivered at the doorstep. But the best part of online shopping was friends, family and neighbors and sometimes even strangers sending presents and hampers to each other. Narrating her experience, Eepsita Chatterjee, a Team Mentor at an IT firm, said, “The pandemic made many lives miserable across the globe. However, we understand the gravity of the situation only when a closed one gets affected with the virus. It is certainly important to stay positive for a healthy life but people lose all hope when the virus strikes. It makes the affected person negative, depressed and alone for a few days. I planned a surprise gift for my friend to make her smile during the quarantine. She was elated with this lovely gesture and I am sure it must have sped up her healing process.”
Extending Surprise Gifts
When Tokenz surprised me with a gift containing two sets of earrings, I was overjoyed. After recovering from COVID-19, this was something that made me look forward to dress-ups and outings. One of them is the black rhodium, glass coated, 18k gold polished hoops, studded with button-shaped pearls. The design is such that it will go well both with western and traditional dress-up!!! I loved the colour because it’s somewhere between grey and black and this gives it a gothic touch. The other is 18K gold polished, matte finish earrings in a twisted shape. This set of earrings lit me up. The golden colour and ribbon like shape make them a statement piece. I am planning to don them with my ivory coloured outfits. The earrings were meticulously bubble wrapped. I have stored them separately to preserve their shine l. I don’t remember many occasions in the last year where I got the chance of dressing up for social occasions. But I am sure that these times are temporary and I will get to meet my loved ones soon. I really loved the gesture of https://tokenz.com/ to bring a smile on my face during these tough times.
Lockdown, Parenting and Art
When the world was falling apart during the pandemic, artists kept the hope alive through their creativity and imagination. Lockdown has been tough, especially for parents of young kids. But this artist made me realize that it is not necessary to engage children with just toys or screen-time. Children are also engaged when they watch their parents creating something. Ankita Mathure Bhurke, an architect by profession, took the #100daychallenge during the initial days of the curfew. And if you are thinking that 100 days are a short duration, then just think about the person who has to think of 100 different art inspirations to present every single day. Since day one, she has blended different mediums, explored new tools and even shared the story behind every art – how she overcame her fears or how she experimented with the tools.
When asked about the response she received, she said, “When I took up the challenge, I had the faint idea that it will be interesting. However, I had not imagined it being so inspiring and engaging. I have been receiving positive messages. Some people even mentioned that they log in to their account, especially to check what I posted today. Many people even tried their hands at my creative. I even help people out when they are stuck somewhere. Lockdown can be boring, I agree, but every single day of ours should have a purpose. My art and yes, my young son, keep me motivated.” Ankita is already on Day 80 of her 100 day challenge. And her followers are keeping a tap on every art of hers.
Across the Seven Seas
When a loved one gets affected with COVID-19, families and friends think of different ways to help them recover. However, some people do not reside in the same city, state or country as the affected person. How can they be of help? This was answered by Neha Marolia, who had been through a similar situation. She says, “When a person is ‘positive’, all her thoughts become negative, owing to the anxiety, depression and deteriorating health. When my friend got affected, I could not be there for her as our city had an imposed lockdown. However, I made sure that she was fine by enquiring about her health. I sent positive vibrations, praying for her fast recovery. I did not bother her with my calls, instead dropped messages. I assured her that this was a rough phase and very soon everything is going to be normal again. I cheered her up asking her to make some plans after she recovers. This helped her look forward to the future.” Surely, physical presence is not at all necessary when poor health just requires love and care, even if it is from across the seven seas.
Small acts of kindness
Little acts of kindness, little do they cost, but they make a huge difference in the lives of the people who receive them. Street-side vendors are some of the most affected people during the pandemic. Lockdown made commuting difficult and such vendors did not get their routine clientele, which put a dent in their daily income. With the rise in the concept of people ordering vegetables and fruits and other supplies online, many small vendors are in a sorry state. In spite of this, many people bargain with these vendors and often end up paying much less than acceptable. However, there exist many superheroes that do not wear a cape but act as one for these vendors. People like Leena Kalyani, who is an independent professional, make sure that they purchase from such vendors and also end up paying a little extra on the total bill. In her words, “Whenever I used to pass across these vendors, I was moved and wanted to do something for them. To know more about them, I began with small talks. Communicating with them made me realize that the only thing they need is a good price on their stock so that they can earn their daily wages. They do not want charity. Every time I buy from street-side vendors, I do not bargain for a good price. I have a habit of enquiring about their health and family to make sure they are doing well. I have come across many vendors who bless me, just for communicating with them.” It is true that a wretched soul just needs healing words to get better.
Activating happy hormones
There is so much that can be done to bring people from different strata together and form a community. This helps in enriching the lives of people and learning from each other. Anushree Tajpuriya shares an incident, “A friend of mine, a renowned Serenity surrender teacher and a qualified criminal lawyer at Delhi, arranged for a few free sessions through zoom. Many of us were invited to be a part of this concept. The purpose of this was to make COVID-19 affected patients stay motivated and speed up their recovery. The activities included Yoga, Antakashiri – a sing-along game, live college bands and the like.” She further added, “I was given a chance to speak something on motivation as I myself underwent psychological, emotional and physical challenges due to Cancer. I inspired them with the Paulo Coelho quote, ‘when we least expect it, life sets us a challenge to test our courage and willingness to change’. Ailing people require lots of love and care to get better.” Engaging activities and motivational talks activate happy hormones and people get the willingness to live and thrive.
Staying available to loved ones
People affected with misery often stop communicating with friends and family. During such times, it is the onus of the loved ones to keep them in circuit. Aayushi Tulsiyan, a Sr. Commercial Engineer, made sure that her friends and family were safe and happy. She made regular video calls to her parents. She said, “When cities went into lockdown, I felt helpless and hopeless at times. Talking to friends and family not only kept their spirits high but also kept me sane during the distressing times. I remember last year my friend lost his job with the onset of the pandemic. I made sure that his spirits remained high. Searching for a job in such times can be tough, but I assisted him in looking for one. It is difficult to travel to meet people and be there for them. And hence, I have been sending long distance love in the form of gift hampers. The smiles on the faces of recipients made me feel that I was there with them with my cuddles and hugs.” She added, “When my closed one got affected with the virus, I didn’t know what to do. I couldn’t hug her when she felt low. I couldn’t do her chores when she felt tired. In such times, I made sure I did regular calls. I avoided stressful questions and instead focused on sharing good news and happy developments with her.”
I had sent my friends, family and colleagues messages to connect me to people who are doing their bit to spread happiness during the pandemic. And I did not know that there are so many souls who have found their Ikigai in lighting up the spirits of people around them. I am grateful that even I have many beautiful folks in my life who have been helping me stay hale and hearty in difficult times.