The Nicest Thing Anyone Ever Did For Me

This has nothing to do with anime or anything else on my site. Once in a while, I write little life pieces or poetry or something else and just like to post them. This is a story which I cherish quite a bit. It happened a few years ago during my internship while in MBA.

We had a summer internship of two months which for me happened to be in the manufacturing facility of a consumer goods company in the middle of nowhere. I used to stay in a city 60 Kms. from the Plant and travel everyday, leaving at 6 am and getting back around 9 or 10 pm. It was a temp assignment so I just took up a shared room in a women’s hostel.

My room was on the outside of the building and I shared it with a girl who was from the same state. I didn’t speak a word of the local language so she was my communication lifeline. Right outside my window was a tiny room where the hostel’s caretaker used to stay. She was a little old lady easily in her 70s and did not speak any of the languages I am familiar with.

We used to communicate through rudimentary sign language but she was very sweet and caring and we formed some weird bond. My roommate informed me the old lady was concerned about my crazy work timings. I’d try to communicate with her whenever I ran into her and mostly it was just smiles and pointing at things. This lady had a little radio on which she used to listen to music in her language, something which was an evening staple for us since the music would float into our room too. I liked it even though I had no clue what anyone was saying.

One random evening I was surprised to hear her playing songs in my mother tongue and was confused what caused her sudden change in music preferences. Then I figured maybe she liked to switch it up once in a while. From that evening on, I would hear the occasional mix of music in my language but never paid it much mind. It was only much later that my roommate was chit-chatting with the lady and came back to inform me she had started playing the new music because she was concerned I might be feeling homesick, posted in a part of the country so far away from where I was from, and she figured the songs might help me deal with that.

I cried at that. Who wouldn’t? This woman had nothing. She earned a bare minimum salary and her kids lived in a village some distance away. Both she and I were away from our homes but she was so concerned about a strange kid feeling lost that she was willing to sacrifice her precious music time listening to things she didn’t even understand just to help me feel a sense of belonging. I’ve always been a loner of sorts so maybe she sensed that. I don’t know. She and I were friends before but she just became so much more for me from that day. There was no way for me to stay in touch with her when I left since she was illiterate so I tried to help her out monetarily (surreptitiously because she would have never taken money directly from me) hoping that it might make her life a bit easier. I don’t know where she is now. Maybe she’s left the planet but I hope wherever she is, she is happy. The kindness of strangers like her has been a huge part of shaping me as a person and of all those instances, hers is the kindest of them all.

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I am a mango who lives on Pluto. I like to write, you like to read. That makes us official best friends.

5 thoughts on “The Nicest Thing Anyone Ever Did For Me”

  1. That is a very sweet story. I would never have thought that the languages could change that drastically even within the same country. Was this in India? How many languages are there?

    1. Oh my. Do you have like 5 hours? Haha! Yes this was in India. So we have like 28 states plus 8 Territories most of which have their own languages. These languages will also have multiple dialects each. Then we have some tribes and communities which may have their own languages too. Hindi and English are two overarching languages which exist across state boundaries but if someone speaks them or not really depends on their experience and literacy levels. There are hundreds of languages spoken here of which a good 22 are official parts of the constitution. As you travel from state to state you kind of learn the art of navigating without language pretty fast. It’s an insanely diverse country in terms of language, religion, race, terrain…you name it. Haha! We’re lost ourselves most of the time trying to wrap our heads around it.

      1. No no. Systems evolved around it long ago. Most of these languages are several hundreds years old if not thousands so it’s second nature to work with the differences plus Hindi/English are fairly widespread.

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