The Goodness of Being, writes Priyanka Chaturvedi

PRIYANKA CHATURVEDI : Let’s admit it. The start to 2016 hasn’t been great, from the Pathankot terror attack, to students protesting, to an almost crashing stock market. Reading the newspaper has become a painful affair. A few months ago, I started to read the entertainment supplements that accompany the papers for more fun and happening events. It is depressing to read those too aaj-kal because everyone seems to be breaking up with everyone. Yes, married couples you thought would be together forever and ever are getting divorced; couples you thought ought to marry ASAP as they look so much in love, are breaking up. Well so much gloom and doom and the year has just begun and for sure, it is temporary.

Whenever my own life bogs me down, raising self doubts in my mind, it is within these newspaper pages that I end up reading stories that make me, reinforce my faith in the goodness of being. Considering that I wasn’t exactly having a spectacular week, it helped remind me that my problems are so much smaller or inconsequential as compared to the stories I read about.
Last week, I read the story of an auto rickshaw driver, who for two months focused his energy to find the couple who had forgotten their gold chain in his rickshaw and finally managed to not just find them but also return the piece of jewellery that was worth a lakh. Similar honest auto rickshaw driver episode happened even with my mother who had stepped into an auto after shopping and had forgotten all the items she had bought inside the rickshaw along with her phone. Totally helpless, not knowing how to reach the auto driver, she gave up. She was pleasantly surprised when he returned where he had dropped her and handed over all her purchases and phone as is. Good still exists despite all that’s wrong around us.
The extremely moving story I read last week was of Dadarao Bhilhore, who after losing his 16-year-old son in an accident due to a pothole, has taken it upon himself to fill whichever pothole he encounters, as a tribute to the son he lost. This story warmed my heart too. A man who could have chosen to be angry at the apathy and negligence that caused his son’s death rather chose to dedicate his time in the service of others. Your problems pale in comparison to what he has gone through and how he emerged out of it. Positive, not bitter.
In Uttar Pradesh, a group of youngsters have started a ‘roti bank’ that provide rotis and sabzi to the residents of Mahoba, Bundelkhand’s poorest district. A similar initiative in Aurangabad has become a huge success. Parkash Kaur from Punjab, abandoned at birth for being a girl, today runs a trust which brings many such abandoned, unwanted girls from both poor and affluent homes, under her shelter.

There are many such stories that take place amongst us, everyday. This column doesn’t have adequate space to applaud and salute them enough. A sincere heartfelt thank you to them, for reminding us, that there is more to life than our immediate anger at our everyday problems.