Have you ever had one of those nights where your thoughts were racing a million miles a minute, and sleep seems to evade you? Well, I had one, just last night.
It was 3:14 AM and I had just about given up any hope of getting sleep. I realized I was hungry and my limbs were starting to ache. I thought about what I would have liked to eat right then, and the answer, to my surprise as much as anyone else’s, was dimsums. Specifically, street-side dimsums from the vendor near a friend’s place. My mind had a mind of its own and started to take a walk down memory lane, trying to figure out when the last time was that I had visited this particular food stall. The irrelevance of the detail mattered little. I just had to know.
It was a few weeks ago. I remember that the vendor had doused my dimsums in the chilli sauce and it was all I could do not to cry by the time I was finished with my plate. I remember frantically searching for a tissue. In my frenzy, I bumped into some balloons.
These balloons were held by a young boy. He looked ragged, like he lived on the streets. He was leaning against a parked car near the road and was looking at the dimsum vendor. For a second, I forgot that I was leaking from my eyes and nose. I thought about what he must be seeing.
The dimsum vendor was surrounded by the business’ patrons, enjoying delicious steaming plates. The young boy looking on, without ever taking a step towards the stall. The impenetrable wall of poverty kept him out. While I don’t believe that giving money to beggars on the road is the solution to anything long term, I couldn’t help but intervene in this case.
I walked towards him. I asked him how much the balloons he was holding were for.
“Twenty rupees”, he said.
“Do you want dimsums?” was my next question. The boy looked at me in wonder, as if witnessing mind-reading capabilities for the first time. He nodded, a little suspiciously.
I bought the 3 balloons from him. Luckily, one plate of dimsums cost 60 rupees. I handed over the money to him and told him to go eat. He flashed me a smile before starting to sprint.
I returned to my friend, who asked me what I planned to do with the balloons now that my good deed of the day was over.
“Do something else that’s equally meaningful”, I replied. I had decided then that the balloons would be a pre-gift for my roommate, who was impatiently awaiting her upcoming birthday. I imagined myself leaving the balloons on her bed as a surprise. I imagined her smile. I remembered the boy smiling, too. The two merged together in my mind.
I looked back one more time and realized that the boy was happily munching away behind me.
Back to me lying in bed. I was exhausted after reliving every detail of this distant memory. I hoped that now would be when sleep would come. It did, eventually, but not before I connected another dot.
The ConnectFor motto is Win-Win for a cause. I realized the real-life implications of following this strategy. The boy got his dimsums. My roommate got her balloons. And the cause? Just humanity.
Greeshma works at ConnectFor and is a big fan of random acts of kindness.