Every trip to Ahmedabad gives me something new to write! There is so much that I receive there that I can just not let it pass without sharing and giving back 🙂 I shared it on Volunteer Weekly, but like the Seva Cafe volunteering experience, I wanted to share it here as well. But this one is a shorter version of the original article.
Last month when I was in Ahmedabad; Mihika gifted me a SMILE deck.
The smile deck is like any other deck of cards – 4 suits with 13 cards each and 2 Jokers – with a twist that each card has a unique kindness idea. These decks were created by a group of volunteers, people just like you and me.The four suits are four categories for kindness towards people you know, stranger, yourself and for the world. You can view all the ideas here:
My SMILE deck has become a game now. I started with the Joker card as soon as I opened the deck – telling a joke to the person who gifted it to me. For a week I thought about how to use it. And then I decided to pick one card at random every day and do what it says. I have to confess that I haven’t been able to stay one-a-day with them as I had initially thought but the game is on till the deck gets over and it has been fun and rewarding. Here are some that I have picked till now and what I did :).
8 of diamonds:
Visit a place of worship other than your own.
I don’t usually visit any place of worship, so for once I thought it doesn’t matter even if I go to a temple, but I decided to go to a place where I haven’t been before so went to a Gurudwara. It was nice, had not been to that particular Gurudwara ever before. I sat there for some time in silence and came back.
3 of Hearts:
Next time you are in an auto-rickshaw, buy a cold drink for the driver.
This was easy; I bought a bottle of cold drinking water and a chocolate for his kid. And got a huge smile in return :D.
9 of clubs:
Give a tulsi plant to someone you know
I did a slight change in this one. My neighbor had asked me for a cutting of money-plant some time back (Don’t know it’s biological name). So instead of tulsi, I gifted her that.
J of Hearts:
Feed a beggar and spend 15 min with him
We normally go and five our leftover food to beggars; but for this one I cooked a meal especially for them and it was great fun!
Q of spades:
Find a plant that has wilted and nurse it back to health
This one was difficult. I decided I will have to find a plant in my colony itself so that I can water it every day. I filled up water bottles and went around the locality to find a wilted plant and to my despair (or happiness!) there wasn’t one wilted plant! 😮 So I came back, filled up more bottles and watered all the plants in a lane. And did this for a week every day.
8 of clubs:
Tag your house help by doing the dishes today
I couldn’t do this the day I picked this card because she had already completed her work, so I did this the following day and gave her the day off!
In between, I have done other acts like giving discount coupons to people behind me in the supermarket queue and saw the smile of how we sometimes find money in the pockets of an old denim 🙂 ; I always carry candies for the kids of my vegetable vendor or that I always carry my bags for shopping. One day I’m planning to sit with my vegetable vendor with lots of cloth bags and give one to everyone who comes there without a bag. But I still need to ask him if I can do it.
Till now I’ve just done 7 (including the Joker card). I can’t wait how it will go with the remaining.
Check out Help Others for more kindness ideas and stories on how people have used their smile cards and smile decks