Monday, July 15, 2013

The Kindness of a Stranger (Day 15: Ultimate Blog Challenge)

The story I am about to relate took place in the first trimester of my second pregnancy. I was travelling to work one particularly sunny morning. The 39+-km, over one-hour-long commute between Borivali and Churchgate on the Western suburban railway line, harrowing during peak hours, is much worse from the standpoint of a pregnant woman. The fact that I had a seat did not help matters much, squashed as I was between two rather bulky women on either side.

The migraine that was a regular symptom during those days was threatening to split my head apart. And as the train trudged on and the crowds got on, I began to feel more and more uneasy. My head seemed to weigh a ton. Stretching my legs might have provided some respite, but there was no room for that. With two trains having been blithely cancelled by the Railways, without assigning any reason, the train was holding much more than it could.

So I held on, praying desperately that I should be able to reach my destination without throwing up on some unsuspecting fellow-commuter. The way I was feeling right now, head heavy, legs numb, body aching, mouth at once dry and bilious, a disaster seemed imminent.

With each passing moment, things seemed to get worse. I would have liked to get off at the next station in order to get some fresh air, but the door was about six feet away from my seat and I doubt if I would have survived the perilous course. So I sat where I was, feeling physically and mentally miserable, longing to lie down and close my eyes and give in to my exhaustion.

At last, after what seemed like an age, the train pulled into Churchgate station. I waited for the crowd to disperse, and then dragged myself out slowly. I didn't have much energy left and I barely managed to get off the train and settle down slowly on to a bench on the platform. 

I briefly considered calling my office and requesting one of my colleagues to come and pick me up, then gave up the thought. In the condition I was in, I didn't think it made sense to go to work. Better to sit here for a while till I felt better, then take a decision about whether to go to office or hop on to the next train home. Besides, this was only the second month. There would be many such occasions in the next seven months. I had to learn to fend for myself. I could not depend on others for help.

It was an effort to think. So I just sat on the bench, eyes closed. Then as happens, when you feel yourself being stared at by someone, I opened my eyes, and I found a homely looking elderly guy looking at me. I quickly collected myself, sat up straight and gave him my hardest look. I have always been wary of strangers. 

But he wouldn't get the hint. He approached me slowly and asked me if I was ok. I said, yes, thank you, I am perfectly fine. He sat down beside me on the bench and the mercury on my panic-meter shot up higher.

"Don't worry," he said. "I'm not going to hurt you. You look like you are having a headache." He spread out his palms in front of him, and then used his right thumb to press the fleshy portion on his left palm. "Do this," he said, "It will help you feel better."

I let down my guard a little. After all, he was only directing me, not offering me any free massages. I tried to press my palm as he suggested. To no avail. "It doesn't work," I told him.

"Mind if I try?" he asked. A few decent-looking people walked by and said hello to him, before walking away. I let down my guard a little more.

He pressed my palm so hard, I winced with the pain. But before 10 seconds had elapsed, the headache was gone. "What did you do?" I asked, a wide smile on my face.

"It is called acupressure," he told me, this homely looking man that I had suspected of nefarious ends. "I'm a carpenter by profession, but I know a little of acupressure. It is easy, you should learn it too. You never know who you can help."

I was so busy gushing about how effective it had been, I barely remembered to say thanks to him. He told me to take care, and trust in God to watch out for me. He said, little babies were gifts from God, and God could be counted on to look after His own gifts.

And saying that, he disappeared into the sea of people that is Churchgate station during office hours. 

I stood there, looking at the crowd which had swallowed him up. And I realised he was right. God does look after His gifts. No wonder this carpenter had shown up like an angel out of nowhere.

What about you? Have you ever had a kindness done to you by a stranger?


  1. Your post reinforces the faith that thee are Angels on this Earth.

  2. Yes, and I guess the lesson I learned that day was not to under-estimate anyone.

  3. How utterly awesome!! I believe there are angels that watch over us and lend a hand when needed and your post proves as much. What an awesome blessing!


  4. How wonderful that one such as him should come by to help you!

  5. Touchwood!
    Such people strengthen ones beliefs in kindness itself!

    I felt this sort of kindness when I fell at my yoga workshop. The instructors were so kind and patient and took such good care of me that it made it easier to deal with the pain...

  6. how lovely! these days you hardly find people who run up to help. but the few angels who reside are to be held special always :)

  7. god sure knows when we need him and he makes sure to send his angels to watch over us and help us.... as true as this is, it is also true that our little acts of kindness come back to us in the form of complete strangers when we might most need it...stay blessed!

  8. The kindness of strangers is such a rare thing. What a great story! :-)

  9. Cynthia, you know about my angels..
    My Mum said her Migraine intensity reduced post her pregnancy..Did yours too?
    May U always have angels in your Life :D

  10. Firstly I believe in acupressure like I would believe in god. I know almost all points related to various organs on hand and feet. And many times I put them to use. What he suggested to you is the most practised of all because our lives give us way too many headaches...

    Cynthia I am glad that you always come across such wonderful people and i am sure it has something to do with you being an angel yourself :)




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