Kindness: The Passport to a Happy World

Siddhant RajJuly 21, 2022Who Am I?Helping Hands

Artwork by Avishi Gurnani, age 12

Until a few weeks ago, I had no idea what kind of effort goes into the simple act of peeling a potato.

As a class, my friends and I prepared khichdi (a dish in the Indian cuisine) with the help of our teachers and support staff. We distributed it to low-income communities near our school. When I was given potatoes to peel for the khichdi, I didn’t know how to do it right, because I had never peeled one before. I had only seen my mother, my grandma, and house help doing it. But once I successfully peeled the first potato with the help of my teacher, I started enjoying using the peeler and peeled many more of them.

Once the khichdi was ready, it was time for us to go out and distribute it. The initial dejected, famished faces of the people waiting to receive the food tugged at my heartstrings. However, as soon as they were served the khichdi, I observed a change in their expressions. The radiant smile on their faces after their first bites of the warm, refreshing khichdi will forever be etched in my mind’s eye. Their jubilant thanks made my day. This experience brought new perspectives into my life, making me aware of the outer world, and that is why it is one of my most memorable experiences. The feeling of joy and satisfaction that one experiences after helping someone in any way is simply priceless. Helping is kindness, and according to me, kindness is the best act of humanity. It is the greatest virtue in the world. Growing up, I have always believed in helping people for the following reasons.

First, helping can inspire and ignite others. Lending a helping hand can bring about a sense of balance, respect, empathy, and tranquility in life. Even one simple act of kindness, such as holding the door open for someone or helping someone cross the road, can give us immense joy and boost our self-esteem. Such simple ways of supporting another life create endless ripples, which can inspire many people to make a difference in society. Having experienced this feeling early in life has helped me set definite goals of giving it back to society.

Second, helping others is, in a way, helping oneself. When we are kind to someone, we cultivate their trust and feel proud of ourselves. On one of my birthdays, my family and I visited a school run by the municipality that required resources to teach. We donated a lot of new books to the children in the classroom. The students gathered in a line, intrigued to read the books and hoping to learn something new from them. This experience of helping the school made me feel proud of myself and my family. It motivated me to constantly brainstorm how I can continue to contribute to our society in an even more meaningful way.

They say that “what goes around always comes around.” This saying is relatable to me because, whenever we help someone, kindness, support, and love come back to us multifold. For example, when we selflessly extend our helping hand to someone, that person will keep us in their good books and will most likely return the favor someday. Once, when one of my friends couldn’t understand the expectations of a particular project, I helped him understand it, and together we completed the assignment faster than expected.

Furthermore, helping someone can reduce our stress levels. Based on my research, the fourth reason why I think helping others is very important is that it can naturally lower our levels of cortisol, the stress hormone. Often, when I have a lot of homework and projects to complete, which makes me anxious, I choose to help my little sister with her assignments instead of getting worked up. Or I simply go out for a stroll and feed the stray dogs, for they, too, need our support. I have noticed that, by doing all of this, I end up feeling energized and I manage my work in a better manner.

Helping others has taught me more about who I am. I have realized that I can do just about anything I set my mind to. Even one act of kindness can make a sea of difference. It has inculcated a sense of empathy in me. Helping can start right at home. On weekends, doing the laundry or simply filling the water bottles can reduce the workload of my house help and my mom. If we are kind toward others and help them, it not only changes us but changes the world. Whereas if we are unkind and inconsiderate, we will bear the consequences of our deed. After all, that’s what karma is: it is one’s actions which determine how one lives. Let’s not expect rewards from the person we are helping, for true kindness lies in having a true heart, and not expecting anything in return.

In the Mahabharata, an epic text from ancient India that I recently read, Lord Krishna says, “Do everything you have to do, but not with greed, not with ego, not with lust, not with envy, but with love, compassion, humility, and devotion.” This is one of my favorite quotes because I believe that love and compassion have the power to eradicate hatred.

At the age of 10, my journey of kindness started off with the soul-stirring khichdi experience, which sowed the seeds of humanity in me. This has allowed me to move out of my comfort zone to “do” something and brighten someone’s day. Keeping the warmth of this experience in my heart, I aspire to set my world in the right direction through various and continuous acts of kindness.

Siddhant Raj is an 11-year-old from a multicultural family in India. He loves to call himself a bibliophile and aspires to be a published author someday! Riverside School is the space where he gives shape to his thoughts and dreams. Writing stories and poems is Siddhant’s superpower.