Little acts can bring about big changes. I realised this when I met Ram Singh, a neighbour, at the nearby temple recently. He was picking up plastic bags, paper cups and crumpled pieces of tissue paper that devotees had thrown outside the temple after partaking of 'langar' an evening earlier. Appreciating his devotion, I complimented Ram Singh saying, "You are a true devotee of Lord Krishna."
He smiled and said, "Sir, I am not a religious man at all. I go to every such venue where I feel that a 'polythene hurricane' would strike the next morning. These plastic bags choke drains, contaminate water and pose a threat to precious lives." His words left me speechless.
In another incident, I came across Happy Singh, who had painted my house at one time. We met on the busy Amritsar-Jalandhar toll plaza. There was a traffic jam and some impatient drivers were honking. I got down from the car to assess the length of the queue when Happy Singh walked up and greeted me with a customary 'namaste'. I asked him what he was doing there and he politely described his rather strange hobby. "We are a group of 10 friends.
We are engaged in removing bushes from along the highway," he said. "How much are you paid for this?" I asked. "Nothing, we are volunteers. We are not associated with any NGO. This is our hobby," he replied. "Our passion has become our hobby and we enjoy doing this," he added.
The jam cleared and I left but Happy's words kept coming back to my mind.
A few days later, I met an old man selling helmets outside the college I teach in. I needed to replace my helmet, so I went to his makeshift shop. When I asked him the rate of one on display, he politely declined to sell it to me. I was taken aback.
"Sir, please don't misunderstand me. I sell these helmets to students only. I spend a month's salary every year to buy helmets for college students and sell them at half the price." When I wanted to know why, he said, "Sir, these boys speed on mobikes without helmets and fall prey to accidents. I believe I can save precious lives through this small move," he added.
I salute these ordinary heroes and their meaningful acts. May their tribe, however small, grow.
Cleisure, only if we understand the limitations of our mind.