If there’s one thing we learned this Ramzan, it was to be kind.
There are a few more days before this holy month ends, so we’ve still got time! In a world where resources are finite and needs aren’t, it’s easy to get carried away by just trying to “get through” life the best way one possibly can. In between school, work or raising kids, does taking out time to carry out acts of kindness get lost within the grind? We’d like to think we can change that before this Ramzan too passes by without leaving a lasting impression.
Why start in Ramzan? Because once a year everything slows down a little and one can’t help but reflect: how can I give back? This year, Team Generation has resolved to be more mindful and kind – in a small sustainable way. Why? Because not only is there always room for more good in the world, but the thing with kindness is that other than making someone else feel better, for a minute, an hour or a day, kindness gives back to its giver. A story published by the Huffington Post states that research shows that kindness can have positive effects on one’s brain – is contagious and can actually help you live longer! Why wouldn’t one want in on that?
Here are our proposed 15 acts of kindness starting from today. Day 1: Take your house staff out for churiyan and mehndi
Okay so most of us give our house help Eidi and the Eid jora for Eid, but this year take that extra step. Take them out for churiyan and mehndi yourself! It’ll make them feel included and respected and we are sure their genuine smile and excitement will make you feel great too! Day 2: Teach your domestic help about how to check for breast cancer
We have access to numerous self-examination tutorials online, but a large part of Pakistan’s female population doesn’t. So, sit your domestic help down, because one always starts from home, and teach them how to do the test and pledge to do it regularly once a month. Here’s a quick refresher on how to do a self-examination for breast cancer. Day 3: Be kind to the environment
No, ooh-ing and aah-ing over the gorgeous sunset doesn’t count. We must actively work towards preserving the scarce resources and not dumping our waste on or planet any further. One easy way is to divide your trash into non-biodegradable and biodegradable (tea bags, eggs shells, fruit and vegetable peels) bins, and then use the latter to make compost in your back lawn to nourish your plants and garden!
Here’s an easy tutorial for making organic compost at home. Day 4: Try not to haggle…
…Especially with sellers who we know live hand-to-mouth. Your local fruit seller is living off his daily earnings and while a fifty rupee discount may give you personal satisfaction, it deprives him of milk or eggs that particular day. Learn to be giving especially to those in need. If you can spend thousands of rupees on your Eid jora, your bank definitely won’t break over a few extra rupees. Day 5: Give a prisoner hope
This sounds more abstract than it actually is. Yes, prisoners end up in jail due to their own reckless behaviour, but let’s not shun them from everything human. Let’s teach them what humanity means. Sending a thoughtful letter to a prisoner and telling them you know they are there and wishing them health and good thoughts takes little effort, but can make a prisoner feel slightly happier about his existence. Sometimes a ray of hope is all that matters.
Each province has their own prison system in place so it’s imperative to contact them to gather information about posting letters to prisoners. If you’re in Punjab you can contact them here , for Balochistan click here, and KPK here . Sindh doesn’t have a fully functioning website, so get in touch with Sindh Police for further information by clicking here Day 6: A small gift for someone on the road
Keep a few trinkets like a fruit basket, a pair of slippers, or even a bag of crisps in your car, and gift them to those living on the roads. Then watch them give you a huge, toothy grin! It may not seem much, but it’s definitely a step in the right – more kind – direction. Day 7: Pay for the car behind you at a toll plaza
Imagine how you’d feel if you stop at the toll plaza and the person in charge tells you, “Oh, your tax has already been paid by the car in front”. Amazing, right? Like where did this sudden niceness in the world come from? It can come from you and each one of us. So, pay for the car behind you at toll plaza whenever you feel like being kind. Day 8: Donate pet food to animals in boarding at pet stores
Most people make generous donations and give Zakaat in Ramzan to various philanthropic organizations such as Edhi, SIUT, Shaukat Khanum Memorial Hospital, and so on. But we often forget that animals are living, breathing beings too and need equal amount of care and sympathy. So this year, donate food to an animal shelter or store you trust.
Here’s what you can do. Collect leftover bones, and set some fruit like water melon and mangoes aside for donation for dogs. We have on good authority that dogs love these things. Also, a packet of dog food costs around PKR300 rupees and can feed one dog for a week, so do the math and donate according to your budget. Cats, on the other hand, are more liberal in their food choices; from chicken, oatmeal, and eggs to fruits, they love everything so share away! Day 9: Get that haircut for a good cause
If you’ve got long hair that is. We know we love our hair and we’ve been conditioned to believe that it is our crowning glory, but bobs and lobs are quite the IN thing you know? Ditch those age old inhibitions of “haw-haye my hair is too short, I look like a boy” and take the plunge. While you’re at it, donate the remnants to organisations like Hair to Help that gather hair for cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy. You get a spanking new look and they get to enjoy what they’ve lost. It’s a win-win situation.
Do follow the instructions given by Hair To Help carefully before heading to the salon. Day 10: Leave love notes around the house
Nothing too explicit, no, because your carefully curated love note might end up in wrong hands. But these written reminders can work magic in uplifting the receiver’s entire day. And please remember, that ‘love notes’ are not just for your better half, they can be directed to your parents, siblings, or any relative who’s coming to stay with you during the summer vacations. Day 11: Thank people when they give you way on the road
You are driving, it’s sweltering hot, and suddenly the driver in front of you lets you pass on before him. You are shocked. But it’s time to shake yourself into action, roll down your window, and say thank you. If we can yell profanities at each other through car windows then we can definitely yell “Thank you” on top of our lungs too! Day 12: Open doors for others
Before you go all “don’t we already do that” on us, let us tell you that no, we’ve lost that basic courtesy somewhere along the line. And even if we do keep the door open for someone, they walk on without a second glance, let alone a polite “thanks”. So, let’s do two things from now own: open doors for others and say thank you when someone does that for us. Day 13: Help an elderly with their shopping bags/luggage
Here’s another thing we’ve stopped doing over time. We’re so busy finding the matching dupatta for our outfit that we often ignore the old lady struggling with her shopping bags. Take a moment, and offer to relieve them off the load while they browse. Being kind doesn’t always mean doing momentous tasks that take up a lot of time and funds.
Find kindness in the smaller things in life. Day 14: Be kind to someone who has been unkind to you
Nothing brings the good out of you more, than being kind to a person who has been unkind to you! If you’re able to do this, then you’re only one step away from becoming the quintessential ‘bigger person’ you’ve always dreamt of becoming. The satisfaction of actively dodging a heated (and often unnecessary) argument is oh-so-good! Day 15: Be the first one to say salaam to shop keepers
Saying salaam or wishing someone a good day is perhaps the easiest act of kindness. Try to be the first one to greet your colleagues, office guard, house help, shop keepers, and anyone else you meet. And yes, doing this with your children will set a great example for them! Day 16: Write a note to the boss of someone who ever helped you in any way, and explain how great a job that person is doing.
It can be your bank’s phone officer, who listened to your complaint patiently and took matters in her/his own hands; or it can be the client executive who helped you deliver the project according to his/her boss’s preference. Let the boss know about the amazing job he/she did and be responsible for the glee they’ll experience when their boss praises them. Day 17: Be patient with your darzi
How often have you spotted yourself scowling at your tailor for stitching that pompom a few inches below than you instructed him to? More often than we’d care to admit. As much as we love to assume that our tailor derives some sort of sadistic pleasure in ruining our clothes, let’s get one thing straight: He doesn’t. He is as much prone to human error as we are. So, let’s give him benefit of the as long as he’s willing to correct it. Day 18:Buy a product off the street from one street vendor and give the goods to people living on streets
It can be toys, fruits, or miscellaneous items like combs and slippers. Remember, presenting a gift to someone is a sure shot way of spreading joy, especially to those who need it the most. Next time you spot a cart filled with toys or fruit, stop right there, buy the merchandise off the vendor, and gift it to the street children around. Day 19:Give dust masks to people whose job involves being on the streets all day long
Keep a pack of dust masks in your car and give it to those who need it. If you spot a traffic police officer without a dust mask, present one to him. Give one to the sweepers who clean our roads early in the morning. Give it to the street vendors and gatekeepers and basically anyone who spends a lot of time inhaling toxic fumes and dust.
You can buy the re-usable fabric dust masks (hyperlink) from Daraz for PKR 249 and two packs of 100 disposable ones for PKR Day 20:Plan a night out for your male house help
Because let’s face it, after spending the entire day at our homes, our females like to unwind at their own home. Give them a treat and arrange an all-paid night-out for your male help with dinner, a Pakistani movie et al. If you feel they won’t be comfortable with the eatery and movie you’ve chosen, then just give them the money and they’ll sort out the rest.
405. Then there is option to buy a pack of 20 heavy duty Respirator Face Masks from Shopping Bag for PKR 3,511. Day 21: Get water pumped out of any street after a heavy downpour
While we live for a refreshing bout of rain, we can’t deny the mosquitoes, electricity shortage, and flooded roads that come with it. So this Monsoon, after you’re done enjoying your pakoray with mint chutney, call the relevant authorities and get water pumped out from your street or any other street that is flooded. Your little act of kindness will take the entire neighborhood by pleasant surprise. Day 22: Take a street child for a medical check up
There is not much science involved in this little act. On a day you have time to spare, pick a street child and take them for a medical check up to a nearby hospital. If you’re confused about which doctor to take them to, then opt for a General physician. They’ll check his/her weight, height, BMI and might even be able to spot a deficiency through physical examination and prescribe medicines. You might be saving someone from a serious illness through your little act. Day 23: Buy extra groceries on your next trip to the mart and hand them to your domestic help
From toiletries we mean sanitary napkins and washes that keep it clean and healthy down there. It might not be a huge deal for you to buy an extra packet or two of toiletries, but it’ll make things a lot easier for someone else. They won’t need to wash the piece of cloth (which most of our domestic help uses instead of pads) after every hour or so and won’t be afraid of leakage or staining anymore. Imagine the amount of mental peace you’ll give them. Day 24: Plan your birthday lunch at an orphanage
Birthdays call for treats and hanging out with your friends…multiple times and at multiple places. There’s a weekend getaway, a midnight surprise party, and then the actual birthday bash. Why not cancel one of those? Be kind and do that. Now use that budget to plan your party at an orphanage near you. Day 25: Offer to buy groceries for your old neighbor
Most of us have a graceful old aunty or uncle living beside us, who are so independent that they give us #lifegoals. But however self-sufficient she/he is, they’ll definitely be pleased if you offer to do their grocery shopping while you’re on your way to do yours. Grab their list and be prepared for the impending cardio. Day 26: Write a thank you email to your teacher
It doesn’t matter if you’re still a student or not. Just go ahead and thank your teachers for helping you excel in your field one thank you note at a time. While we’re quick to write to them about our grievances and requests to extend the deadline or reconsider the grade, we often totally forget about our teachers during our good times. If your boss praises you specifically for something your teacher taught you, then go ahead and share it with them, they’ll surely feel special. Day 27: Promise yourself to not get angry at anyone for the coming week
You have no idea how many hearts you’ll be saving from getting hurt. We often don’t realise, but anger brings out the worst in us, making us say things which are totally uncalled for and hurtful. So, breathe in and breathe out, and stay silent if unreasonable anger starts bubbling inside you. If someone’s being unfair to you then by all means discuss the issue with them calmly, but don’t scowl at your sibling or house help for taking a bit too long in opening the door. Day 28: Take street children for a drive around the block
We know for sure that they love this. Just pile them in your car while waiting for the signal to turn green and take them on a drive in the neighborhood. Buy a butta (corn on cob) or two for them if you feel like it and then drop them safely where you picked them. Day 29: Offer to babysit your friend/neighbour’s children for a few hours
Do you realize how many exercise classes, haircut appointments, doctor’s appointments, and get-togethers mothers miss because of their toddlers? Too many to list here. Over-exhausted mothers would do anything to sneak in that yoga class they’d been planning to take for ages or a café they’re dying to visit with their friends. Be there savior and offer to babysit their child/children while they enjoy a much-needed break. Day 30: Be kind to yourself
Don’t kill yourself for not owning a house before thirty or not being able to tone your tummy even after joining a gym, or not teaching your children multiple languages. These exorbitant amounts of expectations have been piled on us by the capitalistic world. Don’t fall prey to it and learn to be thankful for what you have. Say thank you to your body for taking you around, your hands for helping you feed yourself, and your mind for being there whenever you need it.
SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS!