As India gears up for Daan Utsav, the national Joy of Giving Week festival held from 2 to 8 October, this year has a special significance for me. In my role as a volunteer with the festival’s Mumbai chapter, I organize various events of giving for the week. A handful of them are usually held at the housing complex I live in. And guess what, this year one of the events is centred around donating groceries and spending a morning at the Mother Teresa and Missionaries of Charity’s Home for the Destitute here in Mumbai!
If you wondering what’s so special about this, well, it is a reason for me to revisit some rather magical personal memories.
Some time ago I had spent an afternoon, just like the upcoming one on 5 October, volunteering at Mother Teresa’s hospice for the sick, destitute and dying in Kolkata. It was one of the most beautiful days of my life. A day I would like share with you today in my blog. 🙂 Continue reading →
I just did. That is, I pledged aloud to give away 50% and more of my savings to philanthropy. And no, I am no billionaire. I am just an ordinary, working woman. This pledge is my birthday gift to myself. It is my birthday today. 🙂
It was not a spur of the moment decision. The idea to give away my hard-earned money was made subconsciously many years ago. The fact is, life has been pretty kind to me. I make way more than I need and so I figured I owed it to life to be kind in return. To pass on the blessings. What better way could there be than to pass on what I have received. But it felt nicer to acknowledge it publicly. Like I was setting myself free.
What made it doubly right was that I was not alone in my decision. I was joined by a score of others, all professionals like myself, guided by a desire to give back. Many more are giving it a serious thought as I pen this article—fighting both inner and outer battles. After all, it goes against the very grain of our social fabric to give away half of what we own.
Whenever I see litter on streets and public places my heart squirms. I feel sick in the stomach. It’s just the way I am. When I was young(er) I often got into arguments with friends, and at times complete strangers, when they littered. It did not do much for my popularity index as you can imagine. 😛
For someone like me, hence, the move to India meant I had to learn to shut up if I was to have any semblance of civil conversations.
A firm believer of the three R’s— Reduce, Reuse, Recycle—my contribution to protecting the environment has been limited to following these ‘rules’ over the years. How could I do anymore? How can I do anymore? I, thus, excuse myself from the debris around me. It is the easy way out. Not taking responsibility for spaces outside my own personal ones. Continue reading →
Last month I became a volunteer at Daan Utsav Mumbai Chapter. Many asked, why? Why not any other NGO? I think it’s because, in an intrinsic way Daan Utsav reflects a core part of me, and in fact of everyone.
I like giving. The material stuff, yes. But more than material things I like giving my time, my effort, my attention, to friends and strangers alike. And that’s what I like receiving the most too. Like everyone else again, I believe. Continue reading →