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Remembering little big acts of altruism on World Kindness Day

Tap into these team confessions that feel like a warm hug! 

“What do you want to be when you grow up?” asked the horse. “Kind,” said the boy, from Charlie Mackesy’s illustrated book, ‘The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse,’ is a reminder of the little things in life that mirror where we are now and take us where we want to be. Since its inception in 1997, World Kindness Day is celebrated across the globe to encourage kind gestures and good deeds. What is the nicest thing someone has done for you? When we asked the team, most of them were stumped. Kindness can mean different things to different people—whether it’s saving the last seat on the bus for someone or selflessly helping others in need. Often, they mean so much, yet we’re at a loss to express how much these gestures truly impact us. So, this time, we urged each other to dig deep. Here’s hoping these nuggets of kindness remind you of some of your own. 


What is the kindest thing someone has done for you?

“I was in my final year of college and we had back-to-back exams with little to no time to prepare for them. I’ve always been known to doze off mid study sessions so a night before a paper one of my friends kept checking on me every other hour to make sure I was awake and studying. It is the nicest, and probably the kindest thing someone has ever done for me.” – Sarah Khalko, Features Writer

Wake up Sid

“In my second year at Pearl, where I was pursuing my undergrad studies, we went on a scholarship-based exchange programme to Nottingham in the UK. It was my first time moving out of the house and I was new to the city. One day we had to attend a class and I didn’t know how to get there. I was lost—I didn’t know which bus to take or where to take it to get to the campus. I didn’t have a SIM card at the time. I was scared, and I started to panic. And this middle-aged gentleman (who was extremely good-looking) walked by and asked me if everything was okay. I told him I was lost, and he very kindly bought me a ticket, transferred some money, told me which bus to take, dropped me there, and then left. We even ended up exchanging numbers and meeting for coffee later.” – Duhin Ganju, Social Media Editor

“I feel like there have been several acts of kindness and while I may not remember them at the moment, I feel grateful for the experience. There was this one night, my friend and I were heading to another friend's house after a work event and it seemed like we were in some sort of a maze. We just couldn't find her place and my phone had died so I couldn't get in touch with her. I had memorised her address, and she was waiting for us to arrive, but it was freaking us out since it was super late and we were navigating through unfamiliar by-lanes. It was then that an old, married couple heading home, actually guided us to the building. They asked us to follow their car and ensured we reach safely. It was a relief!” – Akanksha Narang, Senior Features Writer

“Kindness is infectious. While I've experienced a host of incidents where I've been kind to people and seen them reciprocate the same, one that stands out occurred with me at a stationery shop eight years ago. I was 22 and full of life and energy as I used to spend my weekends teaching underprivileged kids at a shelter home nearby. That meant a weekly trip to the shop as I had to take notes for them. The owner of the shop that day could see that I was involved in the education space in some capacity (I was volunteering there) and engaged in small talk with me to pass time (there were a lot of copies to be made!). It was when I gave him the details about why I was there is when he decided to not charge anything. Along with giving me a pat on the back, he sent me away with a whole lot of stationery items that brought a smile on the faces of the tiny tots I met the next day.” – Adit Ganguly, Assistant Editor (Entertainment)

Taare Zameen Par

“A little kindness goes a long way. This is a phrase that we throw around without fully understanding just how much small acts of goodness impact us. I feel the full extent of this every morning when my mother, who works full-time herself, wakes up with me at 7 am just to make me a fresh, hot lunch that I carry with me to work. A lot of people will say 'that's what mothers do' and while they are right, it's easy for us to take them for granted. They don't get nearly as much credit or appreciation as they deserve.” – Mitali Shah, Features Writer

“You know the feeling of sipping on hot chocolate on a cold winter night or digging into your favourite pastry and forgetting all your worries? Feels like a warm hug, doesn't it? I got both, the pastry and the hug–the setting wasn't as cosy as a winter night, but I know I needed it to get through the day. On a really bad work day, when I felt like calling it quits and encountered the worst existential crisis, a pastry box with an encouraging and sweet note from an anonymous colleague lifted my spirits and gave me the confidence to see past the situation and move on… Even today, on days when I feel out and lost, the gesture reminds me of beautiful people that abound which to me, feels like a warm, tight hug.” – Tanvi Parekh, Copy Editor

"At the receiving and giving end of kindness, while there are plenty of experiences I am grateful for, this one time, when I was on my way back from Milan, stands out for the cinematic interludes it seemed to be peppered with. On a work trip for Mark Seliger’s ‘Falling in Love in Italy’ Lavazza calendar launch, while homebound, I had to take a connecting flight in Vienna. Seliger and his crew were on the same flight and we had a great time talking about everything Milan and the whole experience and shoot in great detail. I would carry my prized notebook/diary everywhere around the time, and scribble in it whenever I had the chance to. All my notes, interview, and personal outpourings found a home in it. At Vienna, we said our goodbyes, a few hours had gone by, when I realised that not only had I forgotten my diary somewhere but my wallet along with it. On top of it, my flight back home was delayed by four hours! Anxiety and panic stricken, I felt lost and helpless, clutching onto my passport and handbag for dear life. Leaving no room for anyone to berate me other than myself, the sinking feeling just continued to grow. At this point, the airport authorities also knew of what was going on and assured me that they would let me know if anyone found my belongings, constantly feeding me and coming around to comfort me. Three hours down in no man’s land, now my name was being called out repeatedly at the airport. Rushing to the help desk, I was handed over my diary and wallet with a note, “Keep writing, you are precious! You forgot something of yours.” Signed off ‘the crew’– I was told by the stewardess that a tall man had dropped it a while ago and since she had just started her shift, she had no idea the entire airport knew of my mishap by now. The crew (Seliger’s) had three tall guys and two women. Till today, it’s a mystery to me who it was. But the little note, my diary, and my wallet with all my money intact felt like a true homecoming, even if it was at the risk of a stranger reading my diary.” –Pratishtha Dobhal, Assistant Editor

Wake up Sid

And as for me, in an abundance of kind gestures that I have been at the receiving end of, it seems entirely impossible to choose just one: out-of-the-blue reminders from friends to eat, stay hydrated and smile during a hectic work day, or snail-mail surprises. Still, an instance that comes to mind was when I was in my final year of college which was entirely online. It was sometime after the first lockdown, raining heavily (typical to Mumbai) and I was on the verge of a breakdown because of assignments and academic pressure. My best friend, who lived an hour away from my house, made her famous hot chocolate and drove down to my house to take me for a drive in the pouring rain, just to make me feel better.