It was a pleasant sunny morning, just like Bangalore mornings are wont to be during the early days of summer in the first week of March. There I was, taking my usual brisk morning walk on the jogging track of the integrated township I stayed in absorbing the usual morning sights and sounds which comprised mostly of well-groomed canine friends being walked by their masters, the regular joggers with their iPod earplugs and workout music, the elderly couples (and a few solitary old men and women with lazy spouses who didn’t join them) and the overweight couples who lived an otherwise sedentary lifestyle due to their ‘desk jobs’.
And then, I noticed her, right near the entry gate of the township. A little girl, Tanya, not more than 8 yrs old, walking briskly towards the gate with what looked like a thermos flask and a few plastic cups. I remembered having seen this girl when her parents introduced themselves to me a few days ago, when they newly moved into the apartment opposite mine. If memory served me right, both her parents Raghav and Indira had recently moved to Bangalore, both of them having taken a transfer in their respective jobs, and accompanied by Raghav’s old father, Venu.
Tanya reached the gate accompanied by her grandfather Venu, and immediately set down at least three separate cups on the footpath just outside the entry gate. She then went on to carefully pour out milk from the thermos flask into the cups. And as if by magic, three cute little puppies appeared from behind the large plastic waste disposal container kept outside the gate. The puppies, hungry as they were, immediately started lapping up the milk that Tanya had poured out. She then went on to put her hand into the small jute bag that her grandfather had carried, took out one of the few biscuit packets in there, opened up one of them and started lining up the biscuits on the footpath for the puppies.
In this day and age, where most of us don’t even have time to even absorb, let alone enjoy the sights and sounds of nature around us, this small gesture of the little girl warmed my heart quite a bit. Venu, who noticed me taking in this entire scene soon greeted me and came up to me. ‘Good morning!’ he said cheerfully.
Wishing him back, I expressed my appreciation at what Tanya was doing. Proud of his grand-daughter, Venu said, ‘Oh, this is nothing. You should see the smiles on the faces of Tanya’s young students after their English classes.’
‘English classes!’ But then, she is hardly eight years old. Who does she take classes for?’ I asked.
Venu smiled ‘Oh, her mother Indira managed to convince the domestic help and the some of the housekeeping and security personnel to send their kids for basic English classes conducted by Tanya. She doesn’t teach them much, other than just the alphabets and basic spoken English.’
Impressed by the initiative, I asked him, ‘Wow, that is something! At her age, I was busy running around open grounds, playing with my friends and busy reading comics.’
‘She does all that and more. It’s just that she makes it a point to spend at least two hours of her free time every day to help out others in some small way or the other. In fact, this whole milk and biscuit routine for the puppies started only yesterday when she noticed the puppies squealing in hunger when her school bus stopped outside the gates to drop her off’ he said.
‘I guess all the values that my wife and me imbibed in Raghav when he was young, and all the good work that Indira’s parents put into her upbringing have been hard-wired into little Tanya. Genetics and DNA do have their benefits, as she is displaying right now’ he proudly said.
‘Come Tanya, we have to get back home. Your school bus will be here in 45 minutes and you still have to bathe and have your breakfast’ he called out to her.
‘Sure grandpa! Now that these puppies have had their breakfast and milk, I can have mine as well’ Tanya jumped up and came running to her grandpa.
Walking back, I was left thinking if only more grandparents and parents nowadays spent more time teaching their young ones to be as considerate of other humans and all living beings in general, the world and its future would be that much more happier and secure.
It truly was a good morning!