When I started using Black Lotus, for a long time I had paid little attention to RAKs – Random Acts of Kindness. Most days I didn’t have anything to put there, partly because lockdown caused limited to almost no interaction with outside world. I thought how could I help someone if I did not even go outside? And partly because I completely failed to recognize the small opportunities that came my way to act in a kind manner.

One fine day everything changed for me when in the new app version, we could see the RAKs done by other members. I saw a lot of people putting the simplest acts like helping a family member, appreciating someone at work or calling a friend as a RAK. I realized that till now, I had totally missed the point. I had always underestimated the simple ones like feeding the birds and wondered if they were even significant at all.

Around that time, a mother pigeon laid eggs in one of the open spaces in my home. Some days my parents put some grains near them, other days I did. Gradually, I started keeping something edible whenever I passed near that area and caught a glimpse of them. Few weeks into this and I always found myself smiling at them whenever I saw they had finished up everything I had put for them. And of course, I put the same in BL every day, all the while beaming at my accomplishment. The pigeon family flew away after a few weeks with two baby pigeons from our home leaving a great learning for me.

A RAK doesn’t have to be a grand act or a very sought-after opportunity. It is not in a visit to an old age home giving away a huge charity or in being able to pay the fee of a poor child. Of course, these are great acts, but we must notice that every day gives us many chances to be useful, to be selfless.

The beauty of RAK lies equally in the small gestures. It lies in that moment when we immediately jump to help elders when they find trouble understanding a text message on the smartphone instead of procrastinating with a ‘I am busy, will check later’ (unless, of course, we are extremely busy). It lies in sharing that piece of cake with the house help lady or in the moment where we don’t get annoyed anymore every time the Zomato delivery person or the Uber driver requests for a 5-star rating. Instead, we try not to miss an opportunity to do so.

Gradually, one thing led to another and I started taking ideas from RAKs of others : P. Suddenly, there were so many things to do – checking on that friend I haven’t spoken to since long, appreciating the co-worker for her help and complementing so and so person too. Everyday presented me with at least one opportunity of being helpful. Only that I had to be willing in my thoughts. The community at BL inspired me to take a closer look at what was already lying bare in front of me.

So, if you are waiting for that golden opportunity, cease doing that because very little act of kindness is a great one. Not simply because every small kind gesture is valuable but because that very act will open your heart and mind to a million other opportunities. A domino effect of sorts. That’s what it did to me, anyway.

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Shivangi Pandey

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