One evening when I entered my balcony on the 4th floor, I could hear a goat bleating loudly. The goat was running helplessly around the empty ground. Some “intelligent, sensible” human being had thrown an Amazon parcel plastic cover with the bill inside. The innocent goat put its head into the cover to chew the paper. Unfortunately the goat’s head got stuck with the adhesive in the corner of the cover. The goat kept struggling. Its fellow companions had gone far away. This naughty one must have strayed far away.
A street dog came running and tried helping the goat. But did not dare to go near an angry goat. That was when I saw a man coming out of his house. I was relieved. I knew he would help the goat. Instead, he called his wife to see it and she in turn called her child. The three of them just stood looking at the troubled goat. This was so irritating.
Even the dog tried to pull the cover with his mouth but the goat retaliated. When I was just about to leave to help the goat, a boy came cycling from the opposite direction.
He was a random passerby. He parked his cycle and bravely went to the terribly agitated goat. He made a peculiar clicking sound with his tongue for which the goat responded. It slowed down and the boy immediately pulled out the bag, crushed it and threw it into the nearby dustbin. The dog went back to its position in the corner of the street and the goat ran as fast as it could to join the trip of goats.
To write about the man and his family would be futile. But I wondered if the child had a notebook to make an entry of this good deed.
The moment I witnessed this I was reminded of my favourite class teacher from the 8th grade. Her name was Mrs.Shantha who handled my favourite subject, English. I admired her for various reasons. She was always well groomed and entered our class with a sweet smile. One special reason for which I still remember her everyday, is the habit she instilled in the minds of 45 students of our class.
One day we had her period and it was the last one. We did have a tempestuous day as our Math1 and Math2 teachers had borrowed our Library period and OA (Outside Activity) period to complete the portions.
We were mentally drained yet we greeted her with a smile. Mrs.Shantha walked into our classroom without her English textbook or even a piece of chalk. We were relieved. I was excited. If she did not carry her textbook it meant learning something outside the book which was always more interesting for all of us as teenagers.
Mrs.Shantha was not without any book. She carried a small notebook of 192 pages which was covered with a gift wrapper. I closed my English books, cleared my table, packed my bag and sat erect. I was happy we weren’t going to write anything. Mrs.Shantha noticed me and said, “All of you please take out a sheet of paper.” She smiled when I had to reopen my bag. With enough embarrassment for the day, I took out a paper from my bag and waited for her next instruction.
“We are nearing the end of the day at school. Let us learn something to freshen your mind. Today morning all of you must have woken up at least at 7AM. It is around 2.30PM. Write one good deed you did from morning till now. Do not write a lie as I will ask you to narrate the entire incident.”, she said.
Mrs.Shantha was everybody’s favourite teacher and nobody dared to deceive her. A few remained motionless, a few kept tapping their pens on the paper. A few wrote one short sentence and sat with their heads held high ready to announce their deed. I wrote my good deed and wanted to read it to her.
During the lunch interval, I had helped the school librarian to arrange the books in the comic section. We had a mini library inside every classroom. (I wanted to glance at the tinkle comics and so I voluntarily helped. But it turned out to be helpful at the end of the day)
After 5 minutes Mrs.Shantha said, “Does anyone want to write another deed? A few classmates and I raised our hands. She said, “Then let me give you more time. List out all the good deeds you did today.” She came near our desks, read what we wrote and appreciated them either with a ‘Good’ or ‘Excellent’ or even a pat on the shoulder. We felt so good. Within 15 minutes Mrs.Shantha succeeded in making us feel so good.
After we completed, she showed us her notebook and said, “This is the notebook which I maintained when I was your age. My class teacher Mrs Pinto told me to make a list. She was my favourite teacher. In order to see a smile across her face, I had made it a habit to do at least one good deed a day. Initially, I did a good deed just to write in the notebook but later it turned out to be a habit. It became like a muscle memory.
“Mrs Pinto told us, ‘Adolescence will be challenging, bringing with it moments of elation and depression. You may feel you are useless. When your days are blue just open this book and read the list. You will feel worthy and believe me you will never feel you are useless. No adolescent is useless. He or she is just used less. Make yourself useful and realize your worth.’ ”
Mrs. Shantha continued, “Till I was in her class I wrote in my notebook. But after that I made it a point to do at least one good deed a day. In the same way I want all of you to follow the magic acronym ARK – meaning Act of Random Kindness. I quote Mrs.Pinto’s words, Adolescence will be challenging. So gear up and prepare yourself to prove your worth. As said by our People’s President Dr. APJ ABDUL KALAM
The world may say teenagers and the youth are useless who do not understand the seriousness of life. Prove them wrong by your actions. Do good deeds. Lend your mind heart and brains for the wellness of your environment. You people have the power. It is just latent. You are not useless you are just used less. Both by yourselves and the world. You need not bring an instant evolution. Start small and achieve big.”
With this awesome message, Mrs Shantha ended the class for the day but a beautiful thought began its journey in all the 40 lives.
We often say actions speak louder than words but sometimes it is vital to word our actions and elevate our worth.
Do one good deed a day and enjoy the purpose of living everyday.