These heart-warming acts of kindness will revive your faith in humanity
We’re getting by with a little help from our friends… neighbours and strangers
When you’re running around trying to get to work on time, rush through the school carpool line and make it home so you can cook up some semblance of edible food for dinner, the kindest thing anyone can do for you is leave you alone.
Of course, with the whole world battling a pandemic, collectively stuck at home, we’ve begun aching for the human contact we tend to avoid (unless scheduled).
While on some level, social distancing is actually improving social lives, as we have more time to listen and engage with our friends and family, the pandemic appears to be bringing out the best in humanity.
Little acts of kindness are creeping up on us — from the sulky-faced neighbour that never did anything but scowl at you, to the policemen we cower from, and even strangers on the streets.
The silver lining to the pandemic is that it has reminded us that the only way we can survive, truly, is by showing up for each other.
Speaking to our virtual and IRL Tweak family, we realise that these little acts of kindness have cropped up all over the country, uniting people at a time when we’ve been categorically advised to divide up.
If you’re feeling a little isolated quarantined all alone, or starting to resent the family that never seems to be leaving you alone, these stories will tug on your ice queen heart — and remind you that there’s still good in a world that’s desperately battling an apocalypse.
Keep the tissues handy for the ugly cry.
Random acts of kindness from across India during the lockdown
“Our fifth floor neighbour is super stern. She’s constantly scolding the kids playing downstairs and everyone used to avoid her. But then one day she went door-to-door, distributing besan ladoos she had made herself at home just to cheer everyone up.” – Neha Mathur, Mumbai
“My dog had been unwell and took a turn for the worse and urgently needed a blood transfusion but nobody had a pet that was a suitable match. As a last resort, I posted a request on Facebook which I rarely use and to my surprise, I got so many messages from people that I hadn’t spoken to in years, some I’d never even met offering to help and connect me with other people they knew who could help.
I didn’t expect anything to come through with that post but it saved my dog. I still can’t believe someone I didn’t know agreed to do this and deal with the police (we needed permissions for car travel).” – Nandini Pathak, Gurugam
“When lockdown happened, four building watchmen were stranded with no way to get home. The society members encouraged them to stay on with us. Every day it was one flat’s responsibility to give them meals, water and help them with whatever they needed. Not all residents agreed, but the ones who did, were very enthusiastic.
As conversations continued regarding what else we could do on the society Whatsapp group, one of the flat owners who recently shifted overseas offered up his empty apartment for them to use.
It has very basic furniture but has electricity, a working kitchen and bathrooms. We provide rations for them and they cook their own food and can sleep comfortably.” – Sara Hussain, Mumbai
“My aunt’s golden retriever Goofy used to love going for walks, mostly to play with the building kids. Since lockdown, his walks have been restricted and no kids come out to play. As a joke, she put up a flyer on her building’s bulletin board saying ‘free doggy playtime for anyone who needs some joy’. Goofy was missing his little friends too.
Initially, no one really reached out because they were scared they’d get COVID-19 from the dog, but one day there was a knock on the door and one little girl’s mum showed up, asking if her daughter could play with him.
Now Goofy is let out from the apartment, two or three times a day, for a couple of minutes to play with a visitor while my aunt watches from behind the screen door. PS. It’s all very sanitary, a vet is consulted, everyone’s masked and at a distance. And a lot happier with doggy time too.” – Natasha Handa, Mumbai
“My boss has always been kind of a hard ass. On a normal day (pre-lockdown), he would expect you to work late into the night and you’d have to always be on call.
When lockdown started I was a complete mess. I had no routine set and was running around like a headless chicken trying to get things done. I don’t want to get into details but I ended up costing us an account.
At a time when people are struggling to keep their jobs and get more brand work, I managed to lose one.
I was sure that I was going to be fired. Instead, my boss called me up and was kind. He saw that I was struggling to keep up with my work.
I live alone, and between cleaning, cooking, washing clothes and getting groceries, I was exhausted and terrified. He asked if I was doing alright, if I needed anything since I lived on my own, even offered to help find a dabba service nearby for food.
He had more empathy than I ever expected and gave me two days off to get some rest and get a routine in place before getting back into the workflow.
It definitely felt like an act of kindness to me when everything else seemed like it was falling apart.” – Shamita Khandelwal, New Delhi
“I had been standing in line outside the grocery store for about 20 minutes, just perspiring. Finally managed to get in and as I was walking out, a man in line saw that I was struggling to carry all the bags and this giant 20L Bisleri bottle.
He jumped out of line and hurried over to help, offered to carry it home for me (I live nearby). I said no because he’d lose his spot in the line, but he insisted and ended up losing his spot.
Once we got home, I offered him some tea or anything else to repay his kindness but he politely declined and left.” – Zainab Hussain, New Delhi
“My mother’s been incredibly stressed with all of us working from home. She’s a stay-at-home mom and has always had a strained relationship with my paternal grandmother who lives with us. Your typical saas-bahu drama.
She’s been managing the entire house during the lockdown. I’d like to say we’re all helping out but honestly, it’s mostly her. My grandmother is usually the type to constantly criticise.
One night we sat down for dinner and my father complained about having to eat the same sabzi for the third time and dadi just snapped at him, “Chup kar! Meenu is doing so much and you just sit on your bum all day. Who are you to complain about anything, haan? Just shut your mouth and eat.”
We were all shocked. This was probably the one and only time dadi has ever defended her or even come close to any acts of kindness towards my mother in over 25 years.” – Gayatri Dev Singh, Amritsar
“I’m in a lot of these Delhi animal groups because I love seeing pictures of cute puppies and kittens on my feed. I was running out of cat food and posted in the groups for leads on where I could buy some.
Nothing seemed to be working out and one lady asked me where exactly I lived to suggest stores nearby, so I told her. She gave me a supplier’s name but they weren’t operational either which I mentioned to her casually and thanked her for the help.
I was still in the process of calling people to check when I got a call from the building’s watchmen saying a lady has dropped of bags of cat food for me.
She left me a note saying she lived nearby and had extras so walked over and left some for me.” – Khushi Singh, Mumbai
“I go down for a small stroll (walking up and down the 10-foot driveway in the building) in the evening sometimes and I’d see this man walking in and out with a large canister and a grocery bag. I didn’t recognise him, I knew he didn’t live in this building so I started getting curious.
After seeing him three-four times, I asked the guard. Turns out, he lives in one of the neighbouring buildings and in the evening he makes chai and goes around giving tea and biscuits to the building guards, the vegetable sellers outside and basically whoever wants some.” – Meghna Roy, New Delhi
“My gas cylinder ran out in the middle of the lockdown. I tried to survive by making Maggi in the microwave and ordering food but I couldn’t eat like that anymore — I needed home-cooked food.
I asked my neighbour if I could use their kitchen just to cook, gave an entire speech about how I’ll be in and out, come prepped with everything and just use their stove.
At the end of my rant, she just looked at me strangely and asked if I just wanted a gas cylinder since they had just changed theirs and had managed to get another.” – Manoj Gowda, Bengaluru
“I moved to Hyderabad a few months back and it was my first time living on my own.
I’ve generally been very anxious through the lockdown and it grew into a full-blown panic attack one night and I didn’t know what to do. I thought I’d just manage and it’ll pass but when it didn’t my mind, of course, started racing and I, of course, jumped to the worst-case scenario and thought it was something far worse.
I ended up calling the cops who turned up at the house. A very sweet policewoman sat me down on the sofa, ended up getting me some water to drink (in my own house), to calm me down.
I was crying heavily and apologising for hassling them when there’s so much happening. The policeman who came with her left to go back to work but she sat near the front door for some time, just coaxing me to ease my breathing and waited the entire time until I started to feel like myself again.
I don’t know how much time had passed, how long she sat there but she was just an angel dealing with me, a swollen, dehydrated mess by this point, with such ease and kindness.
When I finally felt calm, everything was still a bit blurry. She waved goodbye and left, I just went to bed and passed out. I can’t believe I didn’t even get her name after that. We stuck to social distancing rules, but I wish I could have given her a hug for helping me like this.” – Niyati Kumari, Hyderabad