Mumbai Memoir 108- With ‘Kind’ Regards from Mumbai!
Living in a city like Mumbai is not a cake walk. Though the city has huge potentials to upgrade materialistically, but when it comes to rejuvenating one’s spirit, each one has to develop their own mindfulness system to manage the stress and strain of urban life. One of my mindfulness seeking ritual is watching good travel, adventure & interior design related web series on television while I have my morning cup of tea. With Netflix & Amazon Prime offering the liberty to choose one’s content as per one’s taste, I make sure to feed my mind with healthy content while I feed my stomach with a heathy breakfast!
Recently the season 2 of ‘The Kindness Diaries’, a documentary television series on Netflix captivated my mind and also touched my soul. The concept of the series is very unique. Leon Logothetis, a former stock broker travels without money from Alaska to Argentina, relying only on the kindness of strangers for food, shelter & petrol. He travels in a yellow vintage Volkswagen Beetle convertible which he has nicked named ‘Kindness 2’ and does not accept money from strangers, but requests them to offer him a space to sleep, food to eat and petrol wherever he stops and explores the 12,000 kilometers spanned landscape. In return of their kindness he donates few ‘Good Samaritans’ who have a vision to help others and thereby want to make a positive difference.
‘The Kindness Diary’ is a 13-part video diary in which Leon shares about his realisation of the spiritual gifts which he gathered on his journey. Each episode documents the gifts namely Faith, Community, Purpose, Home, Food, Shelter, Hope, ‘Winnie Love’, Connection, Knowledge, Travel, Friendship & Kindness. The episodes of Community, Food, ‘Winnie Love’ & Knowledge were my personal favourites as a ‘feel good’ sensation filled my soul, thus making me hopeful that the value of kindness has still not got extinct from the human heart!
In the episode titled ‘Gift of Community’ Leon meets a Canada based travel agent named Richard, who cares for immigrants, refugees and new-comers to Canada. Every Wednesday Richard organises a ‘barbeque get-together’ at his home so that the multi-coloured population feels safe in a social environment away from their home. In the ‘Gift of Food’ episode we get to know about San Jose based Father Sergio, who offers free food to underprivileged kids and slum-dwelling people. In the episode of ‘Winnie Love’, a lady from Machala, named Rina, is featured, who is a dog rescuer and has volunteered to take care of 35 dogs at her home! And finally, the Good Samaritan from the ‘Knowledge’ episode, who touched me the most was Duska, who is a teacher and runs a school in Peru’s Urubamba region. I agree with her belief that “every child needs to be touched with ‘love’ so that they know what ‘love’ is, when they grow up to be a loving adult!” Every episode was inspiring and it was heart-warming, & at times made my eyes moist as I got to know the kind actions of Leon’s hosts. Here’s the trailer of ‘The Kindness Diaries’ (Season 2)
I believe, the media one watches sub-consciously programs one’s mind and creates hope or despair in trusting the world to be a safe or hostile place to live in. Television series like ‘The Kindness Diaries’ certainly has the potential to touch base with the values of kindness, love and generosity that define us as human. Surprisingly one will notice in the series, that the people with the least material resources have been the source of maximum spiritual wealth that reside in their ‘big heart’!
As I reflected on the series it reminded me of my recent encounter (March 2019) with kindness on the roads of Mumbai. Once at 10pm I was returning to South Mumbai from Kandivali (a suburb in North Mumbai). I noticed that the petrol was very less and I needed to re-fill the tank. I approached a nearby petrol pump but their reserves were exhausted so I was searching for another petrol station on the Western Express Highway. Just then at Jogeshwari area, in the middle of the fast lanes, my car slowed down and finally stopped! I knew that it ceased to start as the petrol had got completely exhausted. I was in the middle lane and could not get out of my car as from both sides cars were zooming in fast pace. For the first couple of minutes, I was a bit restless, but later decided to focus on what is in my control rather than to panic. I started the ‘hazard lights’ so that car drivers know that I had a problem in my car and so it was stalled. I was trying to call my car mechanic but his phone was out of network area. After 5-7 minutes of uncertainly, I noticed two men stopped their respective cars on either side of the road and were heading to my car. They were random strangers, not related to me or each other, but I could sense from their body language, that they were coming to help me with kindness in their heart. Both men signalled and stopped the cars around and pushed my car on the service road lane. That was enough for me (as I could have waited for my car mechanic to respond) but one of them- Mr. Tajinder Singh chose to stay back and stood like a rock. He helped me arrange petrol (as the clock was nearing midnight) and finally after an hour of crisis management I could hit the road again! As I bid goodbye & thanked Mr. Tajinder, he smiled and replied ‘No worries madam, just pay the kindness forward’! As I drove back to my home I realised how a city like Mumbai may apparently seem cold and insensitive with the buzzing pace with which it moves, but I felt reassured that people like Mr. Tajinder still carry kindness in their heart and are touching the lives of Mumbaikars, especially when it matters the most! On personal front, through this article, I acknowledge the kind spirit of ‘Good Samaritans’ like Mr. Sheetal Thakur, Miss. Sheetal Parulekar, Mr. Prashant Pednekar, Aabid Bhai, Jaishri, all fellow Mumbaikars, whose kindness I witnessed in a personal crisis situation in September of 2016. Besides my personal list, I salute the spirit of all the Mumbai’kars who have unconditionally touched other’s life with their kindness, may it be feeding a hungry kid or rescuing people from the rain soaked streets of Mumbai! May their breed grow for Mumbai to experience the ‘Warmth of Kindness’! Amen!
Photo Courtesy: Shraddha C. Sankulkar and Free Internet Source
Photos and Captions:
A ‘Good Samaritan’ from Mumbai helping people who got stuck in the Mumbai Monsoon Crisis.
Volunteers feeding food to the Underprivilege kids of Mumbai
Leon Logothetis hosts the travel show ‘The Kindness Diaries’ Season 2
I agree with Duska from ‘The Kindness Diaries’ (Season 2) that its important that every child should be loved so that he/she knows what love is, to become a loving adult.
Enjoying my morning tea as I watch travel shows and other mindful television content before I take on the stress and strains of the day.