As we go about our daily lives, what we often fail to grasp is how one small gesture or act of kindness can go a long way. For some, a helping hand has given hope or put a smile on their faces while some acts of kindness and compassion have gone on to change lives.
Retired IPS officer D Sivanandan, who served as the Mumbai Police Commissioner and Maharashtra’s Director General Police (DGP), imbibed the virtues of kindness, sharing and empathy towards his fellow human beings, right from home.
Through remarkable initiatives like setting up schools with free education for underprivileged children and founding the Roti Bank in Mumbai, he has set a stellar example for everyone.
In an inspiring and at the same time, heartwarming Humans of Bombay post on Facebook, the former DGP not only narrates interesting anecdotes from when he was a serving officer but also shares a precious life lesson.
“So, all I ask for people who are ever benefited by someone’s kindness is that they pay it forward. All you need is small acts of kindness. You can’t see it at the time–but trust me, it creates big ripples in the Universe,” he says in the post.
Currently, Sivanandan is on a mission and has teamed up with Kindness Unlimited, a non-profit organisation to donate 20,000 food packets to school children to celebrate World Kindness Day on November 13.
You can read his entire post below and if you wish to be part of his mission to create the kindness ripple through donations, click here.
Kindness can be taught to a child. I grew up in a small village in Tamil Nadu where I went to a school with bare minimum facilities. But there was one thing that my parents taught me–share when you have enough. If you have a pencil, you have two choices. Either you break it into two and share it or use it to harm someone. I chose the first.
My parents weren’t very educated. My 3 siblings and I grew up aiming for government services and helping the other siblings get educated. My elder brother joined the Navy at 19 and sent a money order every month. I started teaching Economics as a college professor and sent a part of my salary home too.
But I wasn’t satisfied–I wanted to give back more. So I applied for UPSC exams. I’d study in my extra time at the college library and travel from Coimbatore to Chennai, for 600 kms by train to give my exams. On my first attempt, I cleared the IPS exam! All of it was on merit–No bribes, no donations. All I paid for were my test fees which were Rs.85!
When I joined the police, everything I’d learned as an Economics professor became real. Every crime was committed because of lust, greed and hunger–I’d studied about it, but it was gruesome to watch. Back in 1998, people were being hacked and shot to death in the streets–gang violence was at its peak.
I was the head of Crime Branch when I saw an interview on a news channel. A woman telling a reporter that she wasn’t sure that her husband would come back home. I took that personally and vowed that her husband would have a safe passage home every evening!
All gang violence was started by people who didn’t have enough–basic needs like food and a roof over their head. They were children of mill workers who had gone on indefinite strike and were jobless. Street children were addicted to drugs, all because they wanted to escape poverty. When I was in Gadchiroli, I saw people eat crushed red ants because of hunger.
In an attempt to help in someway, I raised the money and started 3 schools where 4500 children learn for free. Then, I founded Roti Bank in Mumbai which redistributes leftover food to the hungry and we’ve fed about 3 lac people.
So, all I ask for people who are ever benefited by someone’s kindness is that they pay it forward. All you need is small acts of kindness. You can’t see it at the time–but trust me, it creates big ripples in the Universe.
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)