Highly Commended Story - Junior Category
“Kindness” by Sara Daiya, New Horizon Public School, Airoli, India, is the Highly Commended story in the junior category of the second biannual Short Story Contest 2018.
Sara is one of the 12-year-old Daiya twins living in a peaceful suburb of the multi-cultural potboiler, Mumbai. She is extremely passionate about reading, writing, drawing, painting and loves to travel with her family. While she also takes keen interest in fine arts like Kathak and playing Tabla, it is portrait sketching which pulls her. During her free time, she can either be seen reading or creating her sketches. She loves to read works by Amish Tripathi, Agatha Christie and H.G. Wells, with J.K. Rowling being here all-time favourite. Possessing an inborn flair for writing, she wants to pursue writing professionally in the future.
A fine June morning, the beautiful scenery of the birds splashing water and the twilight spreading across the sky was visible from the balcony of a huge cottage nearby.
Jatim, an old man, was gazing aimlessly at the woods with a content smile. Routinely, he sat on his old armchair with a brief moment of silence which was shattered with a sharp knock on the door.
A man with a black moustache was standing there in a courteous and disciplined manner.
Jatim enquired, "Yes, How may I help you?"
He said while handing Jatim a piece of paper, "I am from an orphanage located near the town. Will you like to donate something? "
Jatim coughed and said kindly, "Yes, certainly."
Jatim went to search for his wallet and gave the man two thousand rupees. The man was grateful and went away.
Near the city, lived Howard in a huge house. Howard was what one would call a malevolent and selfish man. The next day Howard's house was visited by the man and as always pleaded for donations. Howard instantly denied money and slammed the door on the man's face, upsetting the man. Subsequently, he went to a house where he got the same answer. The man was disappointed and somewhat puzzled.
Later, he visited a post apartment belonging to Chirag. Chirag told him that he didn't have any time for this nonsense. After circling a number of houses, the man was disheartened. Surprisingly only Jatim had donated wholeheartedly while the others didn’t even offer him the respect of a human.
He thought to himself, "These people are very cruel. Don't they feel that even ten rupees can be so useful to a child? They really need to learn some compassion. But how?"
Early in the evening next day, the man knocked softly at Jatim's door. Jatim, though boggled to see the man once again, still had a kind face and soulful eyes.
"Do you want more money?" asked Jatim kindly.
"No sir, you have already been extremely kind and gave us a good sum. I am so thankful to you. Sir, this time I am not here for money."
He continued "After visiting your house yesterday, I went around the town for donations and..."
Jatim interrupted, "I apologise to interrupt, but I know what must've happened. They didn't give you anything, did they?”
"You’re absolutely right, sir," he said while shrugging his shoulders.
Jatim said, "These people are so awful, they have forgotten what empathy is. But first, tell me your name."
"My name is Hansh George, my friends call me Hank."
"Okay Hank, listen to me carefully..."
And Jatim went ahead to instruct Hank something.
After a couple of days, Hank went to Howard's, Chirag's and other houses.
But this time, he wore a big cap and a huge jacket. He offered some amazing bargains and discounts out of catalogue containing the most desirable products. Most of the people bought multiple things. At last, Hansh had collected over Eighty Thousand Rupees. He used them for the orphanage, as clearly instructed by Jatim.
After a couple of days, when the products were delivered they looked old and were not like the ones shown in the samples. Howard was annoyed. Chirag and others were furious. It didn’t take long for everyone to realize that the salesman was the same person from the orphanage. They collectively decided to get justice and lodge a complaint at the police station. Immediately Jatim, along with the help of some others, interjected.
"The ones, who don't have a heart, can come forward and get their money back. I'll pay.”
Chirag realized that when it comes to shopping, he spent a lot of money. But when it came to donations, he gave lame excuses.
Everyone just slipped away soon.
After a week or so, the behaviour of these people changed. Every week, they donated fifty rupees.
Jatim was happy that the attitude of the people had changed.
Psst, here’s a secret, the products which were delivered by the salesman were, in fact, Jatim’s possessions. Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.