The Rare Classic Act

Nov 22, 2010

Our daughter having settled in Bhopal, my wife and I have been shuttling between Lucknow and Bhopal for the past five years, mainly because we wanted to be with our two little grand children Samriddhi, 10 and Samarth, 2.

During one of our recent visits by train to Bhopal, my wife was struggling to get to her upper berth and her age and weight came in the way, hence I was assisting her to reach there. However, I suddenly noticed the man in the lower berth getting up and virtually pleading with my wife to take his lower berth. Though we have been travelling for several years, this is the first time that we came across such a spontaneous gesture to reach out to help and the man so very sweetly impressed upon my wife that he too will reach her age sometime, sooner or later, and what’s more, he even helped her to make the bedding and settle in the lower berth.

I was simply touched by this outpouring of goodwill and I thanked him profusely but he would have nothing of it, and brushed aside my gratitude saying that it was his duty to come forward in such a situation. Now, that is what I call a Classic Act.

Until recently, we had a parish priest who made it a point to visit as many of his parishioners as possible and despite being frail and in mid-seventies, he had hardly ever missed visiting his flock. He had just retired at 75 but was still to hand over his office. One day, as was his wont, he called me and expressed his desire to visit our home and I happily complied with his wishes. Later in the day, he visited us, spoke some pious words and after a brief prayer he set out to go back to the church.

It was dark, and having to cover almost a kilometre in the dark, I did not want to let him go alone, and I decided to accompany him, and knowing him as I did, I knew that he would not let me reach him to the church. I decided to secretly trail him under cover of darkness till he reached the church safely. But hardly had he walked ten metres when he turned round and virtually reprimanded me not to follow him and go back and be with my family. Now, the priest was very old, he had all the ailments that one would inherit at that age, yet he would simply brush aside my offer to accompany him to his place with the words, “The Lord will take care of me.” I am sure, you, the readers will not agree with me if I do not call this “a Classic Act.”

Now, again, many of you surely know what Ratan Tata, popularly known as Mr Clean, had done soon after the heart of South Mumbai was reeked with blood by the terrorists on 26/11/2008.

Mr. Tata saw to it that every employee, including those who had completed even one day as casuals were treated when the hotel was closed. Help was rendered to all including those who died at the railway station, surroundings including the “Pav-Bhaji” vendor and the pan shop owners.

Ratan Tata personally visited the families of all the 80 employees who in some manner or other were affected. The railway employees, the police staff, the pedestrians who had nothing to do with Tatas were compensated. New handcarts were provided to vendors who lost their carts. Ratan Tata along with senior managers visited funerals for over three days. Salaries were sent by money order during the time the hotel was closed, and yet virtually all the news channels were oblivious to this noble deed. I reckon this is a rare Act of Class.

Now many of us know Warren Buffet, the world’s second richest man. He could have used his money and lived like a Maharaja. No, he continues to live in the same 50-year-old, three-bedroom house in which he lived before he became fabulously rich. He drives his same ten-year-old car with no chauffeur. He could have built his own couple of 27-story Antilias just as Mukesh Ambani did in Mumbai. No, instead, he preferred to give his money to charity and so far it has amounted to a staggering figure of 31 billion dollars. If that is not a Classic Act, what is? His simple mantra is just do not buy what you do not need.

Way back in 1969 when I had hardly got a much sought-after job in a multinational in Mumbai, my younger brother aged 20, suddenly fell seriously ill. He was in a hospital, in a serious condition, and I had hardly anyone to run to and being the eldest among eleven siblings, the financial need back home in Mangalore was very acute.

I was on a three-month probation when one is not supposed to take any day off, and a call comes from the hospital that I should come there. I caught a taxi and was rushing to the hospital when, on the way, I suddenly broke down and this unknown taxi driver, a Sardar, immediately pulls his taxi aside, virtually drags me to a nearby restaurant and pleads with me to tell him my plight.

I opened up to him and he saw to it that I had at least a cup of tea and then he came along with me to the hospital. I stood by the bedside of my brother and so did the Sardar, I could not hold my tears nor did the Sardar and at last I had to virtually push him back to his work and he reluctantly retreated from the place with a palour of gloom over his face. My brother died in a matter of days, but every time I think of my late brother, this good Samaritan of a Sardar makes his appearance in my mind for he has made a great difference to my sorrow by his Classic Act by being by my side when I needed the solace.

Lastly, in Lucknow, I have a doctor neighbour here and if he so willed he could have had a grand reception for his daughter’s marriage. No! He would simply go in for a simple ceremony on his own terrace and he gives a grand treat to the lepers of Blessed Mother Teresa about 40 Kms from his place. Such a Classic Act is very rare to come by where one would go all out after pomp and show in the present day world.

Back home in Mangalore I have witnessed several Classic Acts, such as a man going around distributing food to the poor and the needy languishing by the way side; a whole village coming forward to help the neighbours and if there is a wedding the entire village is pervaded with an aura of joy with people reaching out to the family with help; and if unfortunately there happens to be a funeral then again the village gets engulfed in gloom and the whole neighbourhood turns into one family, coming forward to cater to the needs of the bereaved.

I have even seen people simply leaving their lucrative jobs in the USA and returning to serve the country, the deprived, the sick, aged and the needy. All of them of course are doing their Classic Acts in their own way.

I do not think there is anyone who has a better opportunity to show the Classic Act than our politicians but they mostly go about their lives in selfish pursuits and want to be in the spotlight.

But then there are the people like that good Sardar, the selfless man distributing food to the hungry and the distressed in the streets of Mangalore, and that man as well as of course that lady who return from the greener pastures to silently serve those back home to make a hands-on difference, but for whom no monuments are built, no streets named, no parades thrown.


Jimmy Noronha - Archives:

By Jimmy Noronha
Jimmy Noronha, originally from Belloor, Bantwal, has extensively travelled abroad and is now settled at Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh. In this article tries to highlight some of the Classic Acts that have been carried out by people neither for selfish pursuits nor to be in the spotlight but purely in the interest of the society.
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Comment on this article

  • Sanjay, Gujarat

    Wed, Nov 24 2010

    An article written from the heart. Mr Noronha uses experiences from his personal life to draw us all towards a very pertinent message. Thank you.

  • adshenoy, mangloor

    Mon, Nov 22 2010

    Blessed are those who help the poor and downtrodden for they are closer to our SAVIOUR doing his work in this world.

  • Suneer Noronha, London

    Mon, Nov 22 2010

    A wonderful article. As life becomes more and more busy, we tend to be even more entrenched in pursuits for self,failing to pause and reflect on the ill fortune of the millions around us. Which brings us back to the epitome of goodness, love thy neighbour as you would love yourself.

  • A.S.Mathew, U.S.A.

    Mon, Nov 22 2010

    Cheryl, Mangalore: Your comment
    speaks volumes about the current
    trend of life, and generally about
    the Christian denominations. Even
    though we may be doing more
    humanitarian services than other
    people, but this is high time to break
    the shell of "mediocrity" and
    put in a top gear to do greater
    revolutions through love.

    I read today something pertaining
    to the article and your comment.
    I John 3:14 " We know that we have
    passsed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love his brother abides in death" (spirutal death).

    Verses 16 " By this we know love, because He (Jesus) laid down His
    life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren".

    The real test is now coming.

    "But whoever has this world's goods, and sees his brother in need
    (humanity), and shuts up his heart
    from him, how does the love of
    God abide in him? My little
    children, let us not LOVE in WORD
    or in TONGUE, but in DEED and TRUTH".verses 17,18.

    We Christians need to read these
    passages, pray more often to change our
    mindset and spiritual eyes to see
    the suffering world in front of us
    so that we can fulfill the perfect
    will of Jesus Christ in our daily

  • A.S.Mathew, U.S.A.

    Mon, Nov 22 2010

    It is a great article which can
    shed light on life and the purpose
    of life.

    Those people who are motivated
    to conduct "classic act" are the
    only people in the world with
    "classic inner peace of life".

    Among the few rich business people
    I know personally, two of them are
    Jewish. One friend told me
    their philosophy of life. " the
    wealth is not the purpose, but a
    means for the purpose". They
    are very able people to create wealth
    through hard work and simple lifestyle, finally donate to
    charity of their choice at the last days of their life, also
    distribute generously to worthy
    causes while they live.

    When our wealth, other
    abilities and assets we may have in life, if used properly to
    make other's life happy, or atleast
    to wipe their tears of life that
    is a "classic life of purpose" and

    Those people who are in business
    can learn greater lessons of life
    from Mr. Ratan Tata and Mr. Warren
    Buffet about life's priorities.

    Some of the "playboy" type of people who are totally
    dedicated and engaged in a life of "self-gratification" are indeed the most
    miserable people in the world.

    Great article of inspiration to be
    followed by all.

  • agnes, mangalore

    Mon, Nov 22 2010

    it is a very inspiring and touching article.Like little drops of water making the the mighty ocean, little acts of kindness make the world so beautifrul.

  • Sonia, LUcknow

    Mon, Nov 22 2010

    Very beautifully written and extremely touching.In this fast paced world today where people dont have time for anyone and are becoming more selfish by the day ,its wonderful to find a few 'angels'who set examples for us to follow,they are an inspiration!Thanks Mr. Noronha ,this article comes as a breath of fresh air when otherwise we only get to hear about Terrorism,Materialism and useless shows on TV...

  • Cheryl, Mangalore

    Mon, Nov 22 2010

    Lovely article and a mind opener. How I wish people especially parents and teachers would teach the kids kindness and humility but its the other way round.

    Now a days its nothing but a show off world and competition is at its high everyone wants to do better than the other. Wish the money they spend on unwanted things would be given for the helpless childrens education and benefit to the so called needy people who live around the corner but our people forget them. I always ask myself what is the point in going to church and receiving the holy communion, listening to the word of god, sermons etc when one turns a blind eye on the neighbour who is in dire need of help. Its sad we live in such a selfish world and the kids are spoilt to the core.. what is the generation gonna be in a few years from now .. wake up parents, teachers and the elders its time to teach the kids and be a living example rather than go by the text books ...

  • Molly Munro, Dubai

    Mon, Nov 22 2010

    Very nice article which delivers a message that God wants us to live by – acknowledge the good done to you and also Volunteer to help people in whatever form or capacity it may be. Some of the acts mentioned in your article, “classic acts” as you call them, are simply exemplary. Thanks Jimmy for coming up with such article to boost our morality.

  • Rani, Udupi/UK

    Mon, Nov 22 2010

    A refreshing article..It assures us that world is not so bad to live in when such people are still arround. Sir, you have told the positive side of a negative world. Hats off to you!!!

  • Antony T. D' Souza, Karkala / Qatar

    Mon, Nov 22 2010

    God is Good and so his Creations including politicians, if not all. God has instilled within us spirit of humanity which can never be separated or defeated in any stages. Worst of worst scenario among politicians we also witness classic acts from i.e A.K. Antony, SM Krishna, George Fernandez, Oscar Fernandez, Present PM, MLA from Ullal etc., I will go one step ahead saying that every politicians have some classic acts performed under their belt in some stages of their political life although some acts are not shown or heard publicly. In my life, every day I am witnessing classic acts from a common man, spontaneously pouring out to serve God, a God given free gift to serve His humanity. In none of profession or trade people can never fail to do some classic acts but may not perform all the time because…

    Why classic acts are not seen everywhere ? Yes, there is a war or dilemma between good and evil. People want to do good but can’t do it and want to avoid evil but can’t avoid it too. Good and evil both are faces of a single coin. We commonly say..good acts comes out of a good heart (spirit) and evil acts comes out of evil heart (spirit). The question remains here who created evil spirit but by man himself due to his disobedience to God. Therefore due to this particular evil sprit we fail to witness classic acts from everybody, from every time and everywhere. But Praise God there are some exceptional Classic Acts from people that you have named who have built great minds for themselves and for others PURELY out of Love for God and Fear of God i.e., Mother Theresa and others.

    Few words of appreciations for Mr. Noronha. Your mind too is a classic one and so your acts should be (following the priests to help and should be many undisclosed once) although monuments are built, no streets named, no parades thrown after every classic acts but irrespective which religion they belong..their crown is in Heaven.

  • Eugene D'Souza, Moodubelle

    Mon, Nov 22 2010

    A wonderful and touching narration of kind hearted acts done to strangers by people good at heart. What else than the teaching of Christ, 'Love thy neighbour'. Mr. Jimmy Noronha, thanks for sharing your experience.

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