Like every new year, I sit down, introspect and make a list of things that I wish to do in the coming year. This year, one of my goals was to see how I could put into service everything that is a part of my life, whether it is my mobile phone, water bottle, a bowl, bi-cycle, or our car.
Using my car as a mode of service was on top of this resolution and it was just last week while I was driving to see some migratory birds, did this idea strike me.
A lot of travelers arriving at airports need a mode of transport to get them to their destination, they either are picked up, or rent a cab or an auto. Could we fit in? Could a few cars, offering a free ride out of love, fit in?
I shared this idea on my facebook wall, and a few friends were concerned especially regarding safety and security. This concerned me too, and made me anxious. But I couldn’t have found the end of the tunnel if I didn’t make an attempt.
Like every other beautiful mornings, I got up and made a simple placard; shared it with my fellow buddies, my lovely wife and Shilpa and we hit the road with two cars to serve.
Shilpa & Pooja
While Shilpa and Pooja waited in their respective cars for me to find fellow travelers, I walked, slowly, dealing with several questions in my head. Anxious I was, but there was this consistent feeling of wanting to experience excitement, curiosity and inquisitive faces!
In the twenty minutes I stood there looking at curious faces, I felt more encouraged and confident with what I was doing. It’s been a while since I participated in any service experiment and my instincts were slightly rusty. But after facing a few head-turns, it felt like the good old days!
Our first fellow traveller is a Theosophical teacher who had come to receive a Mexican friend. He walked up to me and questioned me about what I was doing with the placard.
‘It’s service from the heart,’ I said.
Questioningly he asked ‘Free?’
‘Yes. We do this out of love, expecting nothing.’
‘Where can I drop you sir?’ I added. ‘We have two cars available, but you will need to give me sometime as I wish to find a few more travellers whom we can serve. If you could wait close by, I will reach out to you in a few moments from now.’
‘That’d be fine. I am awaiting a friend too.’
Our second co-traveller was someone who had two thoughts about the idea. Before he could find a cab for himself, I asked him if I could drop him somewhere.
He was skeptical initially, until I spoke about the idea to him. I hear that he quickly googled servicespace.org, read a little about what they do and it’s only when he was slightly sure did he agree to join us. He did have a lot of questions to ask Shilpa and at the end of her journey, while they bid adieu, a seed of optimism and inspiration was planted in him. While there is a world that is constantly fighting with trust and safety, there is another that chooses to be in a space of love and service.
THE POLO’s TRYST WITH SERVICE
As soon as I spoke with Shilpa and informed her about her three guests, Emely and Matt walked up to me. This was quick I thought to myself.
‘Where would you like to be dropped?’
‘Starbucks, Koregaon Park?’
“We need to walk a little as my car is parked a short distance from here. Will that be fine? Can I help you with your luggage?”
After an introduction of what we do and why we are doing this, we walked to our car. The drive was short, as Koregaon Park is a close distance away from the airport. While we introduced ourselves and took leave it was only after Shilpa, Pooja and I sat together that we realized how deeply enriching this experience has been for all of us.
For the Mexican, it was his first time in India as he is here to learn about religion and spirituality. A gift of a car ride would be an amazing experience of Indian hospitality and service that he will surely take back home.
For Emely and Matt, the experience was Royal in their own words, but for us, it was our moment of joy for we received more in giving.
Shilpa (@shilpakanungo) and Pooja (@poojabanwari): It was only an hour of service, but enough to experience the joy of service first hand.
Servicespace.org: May you and the various people affiliated with you from around the world continue to inspire.
Read Shilpa’s post on her experience here: http://10millionsmiles.wordpress.com/2015/02/09/smiles-on-wheels-service-experiment/