The Ramadan Series #2 | The Thing About Giving

'Art Lessons' by Pascal Campion
The other day, I stepped outside about half an hour before iftaar (the time we break our fast) and across signals and streets I saw young boys distributing dates, food and drinks to people passing by in cars. This month, this social enterprise I previously interned with, has actively been involved in their monthly "Iftaar Sayem" where they train young volunteers to work for 30 months in packaging and  distributing food across various poor neighborhoods in Jeddah. Similarly, there are various organizations who actively work at giving food supplies for the month of Ramadan and many even for the entire year. I remember this one time, I was inspired and drawn by someone because of their niceness, generosity, whatever one wants to call it. One morning at 7 am, me and a friend of mine were out for a cup of chai (I remember this being during Ramadan, so he was sipping tea, while I watched) While being engrossed in our conversation, a middle aged poor lady came begging for money, outside the tapri.  Instead of loosely handing over change, he asked her, "kya chahiye?" "bas chai peeni hai thodi" she replied, honestly.  He said to the bhaiyaa, who was brewing the usual adrak ki chai "usse chai de do, jo bhi chahiye, mei baad mei pay karta hoon" and it was just that, that warmed my heart. It may seem like it was a small thing, it was just tea right but, I think most people on the other hand would have probably just given out some change or many, would have ignored her completely. It's always been these little things that have drawn me to people, and have inspired me in some way or the other.

The point of putting these little snippets together is to remind myself and reflect on the act of giving. How, people in our community sometimes seem to focus on other acts rather than this, simple yet extremely rewarding and a heartfelt, contenting act.  I've realized that most times, it is the genuinely nice people, the people who give out good vibes, who are the ones to give and who have within them the quality of being generous and giving.

The other day, I was watching these tiny, 4-minute episodes of Tariq Ramadan's Ramadan Chronicles Series where he quite consistently talks about the act of giving and serving the poor and how this is a fundamental part of Islam. After praying, it's the second pillar of Islam, Zakat (refers to donating or using a certain percentage of your earnings to help the poor. Most people do this by calculating their yearly amount and dividing that for different purposes such as donating to needy children's complete education, school renovations, winter blankets, food supplies for the year, etc spread across the year) , which I personally feel people probably take for granted or don't talk about enough but should be, considering the amount of lives it helps and of course, I think it slightly makes the giver's life better, happier, warmer.

Giving, though I think could be in any form and not necessarily money. For young people like us, who aren't really earning yet, it could probably just mean dedicating time to a volunteering organization who require people to give time out to distribute meals, it could mean giving out extra blankets in the winter or water during the summer.  It could mean giving out  knowledge, whether it's through teaching someone a skill you're good at it, or just by giving someone the right book that would open their mind. Giving could also maybe mean, giving love to the people who need it. Not everyone needs money, someone out there probably just needs inspiration too . It could actually mean so many different things for different people and I guess that's the beauty of it all, because that just means the world could get better, a little better than it is through these little acts, the consequences of which often go unnoticed. Sometimes, while going through tumblr feeds, I often realize that there are so many great stories out there, some great artists who take inspiration from reality and all that's around them to construct deeper meanings within, there are some great poets out there who make you feel happy because of that one line that, probably gets you to ponder aimlessly and there are times when I think, that maybe sometimes these are the things that go unnoticed. Not every one's piece of writing, picture of a sketch is going to go viral or get a million hits and notes, but I guess it's just the little impact it manages to create for an ordinary person like you and me, it's all part of giving and sharing; giving out positive things, important ideas, creative inspiration, thoughts worth thinking about, information that you'd never known otherwise and just even mere happiness that creeps in because you read that random, yet important comic. That's the other thing that's beautiful, the ability of the internet in helping us make sharing the good things much easier and for today, for me, this is just the one thought I want to let this post linger with.

Since this post has been revolving around this theme, there's this really important campaign I came across, Just One Bookdedicated to rebuild and restock a library in a town of 1200 people in Northern Sierra Nevada. In short, the library here is not stocked enough, in fact books here haven't been stocked well since 1992. They're approaching people to donate any one book they wish, keeping in mind that they're using them to help young people open their minds about different things so, diverse books and classics are highly appreciated! There's also an Amazon Wishlist the blogger has put down in case you're not sure which books work. Do have a look and help out if you can. 

"When you learn, teach, when you get, give." — Maya Angelou

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1 comment:

Anmol Mathur said...

It was such a simple thought, yet so thought provoking :)

Great read.

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