The rains are finally upon us and bring with them the joys of clean trees, washed pavements and petrichor. When you are in one of the busiest cities of the world, it also brings traffic jams, uprooted trees, garbage from the sea and wet pavements for the homeless to sleep.
Some of us are lucky enough to escape all of this and enjoy a hot cup of tea with crunchy, yet soft, pakodas. Some people even manage to go to the promenade by the sea to get splashed by the huge waves during high tide! But most of our fellow citizens dread this season, as it brings more hardships than any other time of the year. People who commute long distances along with the people who use the streets of Mumbai to rest before beginning yet another stressful day, find no relief when it is pouring continuously.
Here are some random acts of kindness that will bring a little smile to their face:
1. Carry plastics bags with you and give it to people who are caught unaware in the rain. Nowadays, everyone carries a cellphone and would really appreciate if they could use a cover to protect their phone and wallet/purse from the fury of the season.
2. Carry packets of biscuits or dry snacks in your car. When stuck in a traffic jam, do give them to the roadside vendors who knock on your window and also to the traffic police. Remember, they are at this junction even when it is pouring and are quite tired and hungry.
3. Gift your help and your building watchman umbrellas and raincoats. If you want to gift raincoats to other deserving people, like those who are homeless or too poor to afford them, do connect with us and we will gladly do it on your behalf (do watch this space for our August event).
4. If you see someone stuck at a station or on the highway repeatedly shaking their cellphones (we still have the Indian legacy of banging our remotes against our hands to make them work!), then offer to make a call on their behalf and pass a message to their family about their whereabouts.
5. The sea brings back all the garbage that we dump into it mindlessly, and deposits it back to our shores. Be part of your local beach clean-up drive and help.
6. A lot of NGOs must keep their children busy and occupied as they cannot be sent outside to play. If you have skills you can teach, like dancing, spoken English, yoga, basic computers or volunteer at an NGO near you, for 2–3 hours a week and see the smiles when you engage these children for an evening.
7. If you can play board games, and are willing to teach them to children who have never had the privilege to do so, or make hot basic food and deliver to the homeless, you can do that on the week day evenings or weekends. Remember that so many homeless people cook on the streets and eat, in the rains even that is taken away from them. And not all children have a PS4 or Xbox to amuse them on a rainy day.
Hope you find one of these ideas easy to adopt. I guarantee you, it will warm up your heart like a hot cup of chocolate on a rainy day!