A recent experience left an indelible imprint on my mind… It was our last night in Barcelona… And after a hectic but rather fun day of sightseeing and absorbing the local culture, we found ourselves in one of the popular street-side bars that line the pavements. The bars sprout and thrive once the sun goes down and if you keep pace with the locals…you can be rest assured you’ll see the sun rise as well!

Settling ourselves in one of the crowded bars in the narrow streets of the medieval old town spilling over with customers fuelling themselves on ‘Beer and Tapas’ and other such treats, we started to unwind. Street performers were still regaling tourists and local musicians were enthralling their spectators while others negotiated the labyrinthine alleys.

With the tiredness slowly seeping out of my bones, I nonchalantly took in the sights. There were a couple of hawkers around…mostly Indians/Bangladeshis/Pakistanis – who can tell really? Smiles and waves exchanged without hesitation on recognition of your kind across the seven seas – a reassured familiarity…a feeling of belonging - for we are all the same, aren’t we?

I was quick to spot a young man with a huge bunch of roses…long, single stalks…more like buds but as red as wine and glistening with their freshness. He weaved his way through tables, selling his roses – some buying just one, the others a few more and some none. We exchanged looks and suddenly he gave a huge grin and came across to our table.

“Hello beautiful lady. How are you this evening?” he said to me in pure Punjabi. I grinned back and said I was great. Picking out the nicest rose stalk from his bunch, he handed it over and said it was for me. I was absolutely floored. My son and he exchanged pleasantries in Punjabi and before I could thank him enough or even pay for it, he had made his way across to the next table, dismissing our pleas to accept any money. The huge grin stayed on my face all evening.

I passed on the rose to the receptionist of my hotel two days later as I knew it would not survive the train journey to Madrid and beyond… She in turn gave me her broadest smile while she placed in a water-filled jug on her desk. The joy had been shared.

It was in all just a simple random act of kindness that could very easily be life-giving to both the giver and receiver. We don’t need to do big things to make a difference. Most of us today won’t be able to change a person’s life. But a smile and some pleasantness is always a good thing. Know that it does make a difference, even if you don’t see it.

Living in a selfish world, we are often forced to question our ethics and wonder whether there is any humanity left at all. But sometimes, a random act of kindness by a stranger restores our faith in humanity and gives you hope that maybe all isn't lost yet.

Small acts of kindness can make a difference in someone’s life. We live in an interconnected world where everything we do affects other things. This is encouraging because it means that when you are kind, you are usually affecting more than the person right in front of you.

Yet it is often overlooked how important an act of kindness can be to someone who is in need. Every action you take affects the life of someone around you. We are living in a ‘me first’ type of society. We are self-focused and self-possessed. An unfortunately large segment of the world population finds it very difficult to see beyond themselves…to look at those around them. How often do we act without considering the effect of our actions on those around us?

But once in a blue moon, something beautiful happens and it changes your whole perspective and you believe in humanity again! So what if that young man was a Pakistani and me an Indian!!

Let’s also not forget: Not all Pakis are terrorists and not all Indians are ‘bhakts or sanghis’…!!