This is a real story and everything that I’m mentioning here happened to a very good friend of mine and his actions helped him out in a time when he really needed help.
I have a friend named Farooq who is from India. These days he is busy preparing for his PhD applications in Germany after being almost done with his Masters in Environmental Engineering at TUHH and I know him since quite a while. He was the first person I came across who didn’t have an association to any kind of organisation or students association but wanted to help the incoming students on his own and that’s why he started pouring out everything he knew from his experience about living in Germany into his blogs. If any of you get interested to read more about him and his works, you can go and follow this link.
While going through the different posts in Facebook groups of Hamburg, I came across the one that I mentioned earlier and after that time he was on my radar. I wrote to him on Facebook, thanked him for mentioning me and we got in touch. I have this extreme need, almost desperation, to build and keep a network of people who are smart, take initiatives, are highly motivated and want to help just anybody that they see. This way you have some common grounds to form connections with them but the differences that every individual brings as a person lets you learn from each other and build a better personality in your life.
Because I started taking live sessions to interact with students very early, I wanted to bring as many people over as I could so that everybody can share their experience of studying a specific course in Germany. I had already shared mine of studying Structural Engineering but I wanted my people, you guys, to have another perspective on that. That’s why I asked Farooq, if he would be able to join me for a live session and answer the questions that you would ask. At that time I barely had 20k subscribers and just a 100 or so would watch the live sessions. He saw the opportunity of helping out and he just readily agreed and joined me in this live session where we were discussed about different things related to civil engineering in Germany. Once the session was over, Alina came home, she baked a Flammkuchen (tastes and look like a Pizza to me, so, I don’t understand why Germans call it something different), set the table and we all sat down to eat and just discuss. This was the first time we were getting to know Farooq and were really surprised by the different stories he had for us. But in this blog post, I will tell you one specific story which just depicts how real the Good Karma is.
It was the time when he was still living in a Student Dorm near TUHH and he was going somewhere at night with his friend when he saw an old couple at a bus stand who were trying to lift some suitcases up, but were facing a lot of trouble because of their age. Farooq and his friend saw that and even though they didn’t know a lot of German, they asked them “Können wir Ihnen helfen?” or in other words, can we help you? The old couple told them that they were trying to take their luggage to their homes but it was too heavy for them to carry. Hearing that they offered help to the old couple and took their luggage the whole way to their house and dropped it there. The old couple was really happy, they gave them a few Euros and wrote a number on a piece of paper, gave it to Farooq and told him that if you guys ever look for any kind of accommodation, we have a house which we rent. You can always contact us and inquire.
A year had passed and the lease for the student dorm was about to end. Farooq had almost forgotten about that slip lying on his desk, but after seeing that he just has a few days left till he has to move out of this place, he started going on all of the different online accommodation websites like wg gesucht, immobilienscount and others. After having no luck with them, he contacted this phone number a few times but every single time it would go on voice mail. He lost hope there too and threw the number away because it was practically of no use to him. Plus, he also had to clean his room before he could move out.
3 days are left and he is still trying to find places and see if he could fit in somewhere. Then suddenly his phone rings up and the old couple called them and told them that yes, they remember them and they have a house where he and his friend can live in. It was quite unbelievable for him to have landed an accommodation at such short notice and from somebody whom he had helped 1 year ago, but this was the reality of the situation. He didn’t have to stress about being unable to find a place to stay or a room to move into. All of that has been taken care of!
Now, the moral of the story isn’t that you start picking up every old couple’s bags because most of them might just freak out and might even get offended when you offer help because Germans are independent and they love to do their own things, but you should always keep your eyes open and be aware of the surroundings, no matter where you are living. Always see if you can help somebody out or if somebody might require some help because this is an important part of the German culture which has really been primarily lost in this generation of Germans and that too especially in the cities. In cities, everybody has this anonymity where you go past thousands of people every single day, without greeting them, without knowing their names or even just giving a tiny smile, but this culture is really different in the villages and towns in Germany, where people still live with their old traditions and love to ask you, what’s up and love to offer you help! In the cities too, you might get opportunities where you can help someone out and once you do, the feeling of satisfaction and gratitude that you would feel in your heart is worth any kind of effort you made to help that person out. It might sound crazy, but I actively look, if there might somebody who need help with something. Maybe the thing they are carrying is too heavy or maybe there is a person on the wheelchair who is having trouble coming up the pedestrian walk again after crossing the street, so, I just go and ask them if I can help them.
We Indians have always been a bunch of helpful folks. I remember when I and Alina were flying to India, there was a Japanese couple in front of us and they had two children, heavy luggage and were struggling with their children carts. Alina cracked up when I and another Indian standing in front of them offered to help them out at the same time and I was like, Alina, what can we do? We are just brought up this way (well, at least many of us and the other percentage of our people really can’t care less about others). Whenever you are being kind or offering to help somebody, the expectation of getting something in return shouldn’t be the reason you should do it, because that nullifies that complete act of kindness. The reason you should do it is because you are young, you are smart, you are strong and you can actively shape and change this world and its people by helping out anybody and everybody who might need some help. That has always been my north star and whenever I come across other people who also guide themselves by this value, I have nothing but pure admiration and appreciation for them.
Don’t be kind just in Germany, be kind wherever you are and wherever you can because when you help somebody, you actively reduce the number of total problems that exist in this universe! ?