Respectfully offering water | Pakistan Today

Respectfully offering water

  • It can go a long way….

To all those who read this column I humbly appeal for a small but a very doable act of kindness. A practice that can go a long way – here and in the Hereafter!

The quest is for drinking water. Not any contribution for construction of mega waterways or dams that would take years upon years, and a functional government, to build.

Given that in the long-term we are all dead, the plea is for something more immediate and gratifying.

Having won votes on promises of 10 million jobs, five million houses, education and healthcare of the kind only those derisively branded as the ‘elite’ could afford, the current dispensation in Islamabad has done little during the 22 months of its misrule except promote despair.

So let us abandon high-sounding rhetoric and promises of revolutions and just do what ordinary men and women of this country do best– be kind. To tide over an era of utter ineptitude and mendacity!

In this sweltering summer heat and suffocating humidity, what can be more welcomed than drinking water? When the sun beats us down mercilessly the one thing that gives us immediate respite is chilled water and cool shade. It can be life-saving. So for the love of God the fortunate amongst us who have both, courtesy airconditioned automobiles, please carry extra water bottles to offer fellow citizens trudging along the road.

During the month of Ramadan in Pakistan, as in other Islamic countries, there is tremendous show of generosity– in cash and kind. People give in abundance food, drinks and rations. Lavish spreads for iftar for the faithful are offered in almost every other locality. It is equally important that this spirit extends beyond the holy month. Kindness and generosity should not be a seasonal affair!

In these times of the deadly Coronavirus outbreak, wearing protective face masks has become a necessity and the scorching, unbearable heat outside makes it even more dehydrating. Hence the need for water is felt even more. Offering water to the less privileged pedestrians is the way to go. But in doing so, it is equally important that we do it gracefully, keeping in mind the dignity of the receiver or person at the other end– with respect and humility. Not as a favour but a duty, as considerate caring citizens. It entails very little but would take us a long way as individuals. Consider this gesture as a token of thanksgiving to God for all His countless blessings that we so often take for granted. In these tormenting times healing will come largely through empathy and compassion.

Helping quench somebody’s thirst is one of the finest acts of human kindness and it takes so little. Its importance can never be underestimated. At times it can make all the difference between life and death. Acute dehydration in many cases can lead to death, especially in children and elderly. We have been reminded repeatedly in the Divine scriptures that saving one life amounts to saving the entire humanity.

Those who can afford it, and surely many can even in these cash-strapped times, should may be go a step further and also distribute caps, umbrellas and portions of dry snacks like biscuits, bread or fruit for instant energy. As individuals we must make our contribution to society, no matter how modest. The act of giving is a great source of strength and solace, and more so when the state appears to do nothing but fail in providing for the most vulnerable amongst its citizenry.

In times like these, small acts of kindness will help restore people’s faith in humankind. It will make them feel counted– seen and heard. Not abandoned.

All religions teach humaneness– kindness and compassion to fellow beings.

The giving spirit of Ramadan must prevail throughout the year even if not in the same measure and scale. It keeps us connected to humanity, our soul and more importantly brings out the best in us.

It is so important that when we set out in our respective cars we do not get sucked in by our cell phones but keep our eyes wide open to the world outside– beyond the comforts of our airconditioned vehicles. Slowing down at times to simply offer water to the elderly, children and young folks compelled to brave the heat for a living. We need to sensitize our children to such acts as well and do it in their presence. Children grow up doing what they see their parents do. Lectures and sermons have little impact on them as do the real gestures of kindness and generosity that they witness.

During the month of Ramadan in Pakistan, as in other Islamic countries, there is tremendous show of generosity– in cash and kind. People give in abundance food, drinks and rations. Lavish spreads for iftar for the faithful are offered in almost every other locality. It is equally important that this spirit extends beyond the holy month. Kindness and generosity should not be a seasonal affair!

True generosity is helping deserving people without their asking. And it is this act of giving on the quiet, without any pomp and show, that is most blessed. The spirit of unconditional human compassion will always triumph over the fleeting gains of this worldly life. The ultimate healing is in acts of kindness, not in expediency. Empathy must translate into concrete action.

The giving spirit of Ramadan must prevail throughout the year even if not in the same measure and scale. It keeps us connected to humanity, our soul and more importantly brings out the best in us.

True generosity is helping deserving people without their asking. And it is this act of giving on the quiet, without any pomp and show, that is most blessed. The spirit of unconditional human compassion will always triumph over the fleeting gains of this worldly life. The ultimate healing is in acts of kindness, not in expediency. Empathy must translate into concrete action.

Giving away bottles of clean filtered drinking water would certainly be a good beginning.



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