Sunday, January 30, 2011

To be kind during "Normal" times......

The DC metro area experienced its first big storm of this winter this past Wednesday, followed by the usual traffic hassles. A friend of ours was also caught up in snowy mess that snarled traffic in this area for hours. As he stood by his vehicle that refused to move on the icy road, a car pulled up and the young driver asked if he needed a ride. That young man took him to his own house and then along with his wife, eventually dropped our friend to his house at about midnight! And there are numerous "feel-good" stories like this one. People paying for gas for a complete stranger because the gas station only accepted cash that stormy day, others helping stranded commuters in a variety of ways. Makes you feel good, doesn't it? In a world full of cynicism and "to each his own" mentality, these kind of stories and anecdotes are refreshing.

Its a well known fact that during times of adversity, people will come together and go the extra mile to help fellow human beings. How about during 'normal', day-to-day, routine times? If we all show each other just 10 percent of the civility, kindness and courtesy that comes up spontaneously during tough times, would the world be a kinder, gentler place?

A lot of times, my day starts on a good note just because somebody opens the door for me as I walk into my office building and says "Have a great day!" with a smile. That attitude is contagious and catches on. Kindness, like a boomerang, always returns. One part of living a perfect day would be to do something for someone who, you know, will never be able to repay you.

"Today I bent the truth to be kind, and I have no regret, for I am far surer of what is kind than I am of what is true." ~ Robert Brault


Sunday, January 2, 2011

A 'Desi' New Year Eve experience!!

We made last minute plans to go to a New Year Eve party. As soon as we entered the party hall, I almost got run over by a pack of screaming 10-year olds. And as is usual in all desi parties, there was no place to sit. After exchanging pleasantries with a few friends we met there, my wife and I decided to get drinks.

I tapped a gentleman on the shoulder and asked him where the bar was.
"This is the line for the bar," he said.
"Really?" I said. "But I can't even see the bar from here!"
"Its a long line," he said, as he shrugged his shoulders.
That was an understatement. The line seemed endless. By the time I would be able to get a drink, it would be the new year already!
"Let's go down and get drinks at the restaurant," I said to my wife.
So we walked to the restaurant, a floor below the hall and bought a few drinks. In spite of the fact that our ticket to the "Grand Party" included unlimited drinks. After a while we thought of going back up to the party. A security guard blocked my path as I tried to walk up the steps. I held up my wrist and showed him my entry bracelet.
"Sorry sir, can't let anybody go up there," he said.
"What?! We have tickets," I said.
"I'm really sorry. The fire marshal's orders, there are too many people. Nobody is going up."
Well, that was that. I looked at my wife and we both burst out laughing.
"So let's get this straight," I said to her. "We paid a lot of money to get tickets to this party, we couldn't find a place to sit, we bought our drinks ourselves and now we can't even get into the party. This has to be the mother of all Desi parties!"
"Let's just go out for a walk," she said.
So we stepped outside the hotel and walked onto the Reston Town Center. The weather was nice and people were dancing outside, to the music from the numerous restaurants lining the streets of the town center. It was one big party. So we joined in at a couple of places. This was better than the party we had paid for!
After a while we decided to head back to "our party". This time they let us in, and we were able to connect with our friends and kids inside before the start of the New Year. The food, as expected was gone, but luckily, our friends had saved some for us, so we would not go hungry.

All in all, we had a good time in spite of the chaotic organization, enjoyable because my family and friends were with me. And at the end of the day, that is all what matters.

"At every cocktail party there are two kinds of people. Those who want to go home and those who don't. Trouble is, they are generally married to each other!"

P.S. "Wishing you all a very happy & healthy New Year!"