Little drops of water.. Little grains of sand… Make the mighty ocean And the beauteous land. Little deeds of kindness, Little words of love, Make our earth an Eden Like the heaven above. This poem by Julia Carney was a regular feature in my 3rd grade western music class, every wednesday in APS Delhi. Many many years later, I used this poem in a 5 minute lesson demo at the TFI assessment centre. I’ve known this beautiful poem for many years, but this Joy of Giving Week 2010, I actually felt the words come alive each day with increased passion. When I started working towards this initiative, I thought of the various sources that could be tapped for collection. Even after chalking out a potential list of donors, I was sceptical about the response. Still hoping for the best, mass mails were shot out with the plea to take some time out and donate. I personally went to my dad’s army unit here, met the commanding officer and after quite a lot of discussion, the gentleman very generously agreed to host a collection centre at the officer’s residential colony as well as the office. They were kind enough to transport all the stuff to my place as well, which actually is in line with the Goonj ideology of contribution. They believe that contributing means not just a person’s effort to sort the clothes out but also to take the time out to physically come down and drop the stuff at the collection centre. The collection from this source exceeded all my expectations….it was a fantastic truck full of 24 carton boxes.
Then the next major chunk of collection came from my own school. I was very sure that I wanted to involve my school; both English medium in which I teach and the Marathi medium that runs in the afternoon shift. I decided not to involve my children in this, but the teachers of both schools could surely be actively engaged in the process. I just spread the word and the teachers including my Principal were super enthusiastic about the whole affair. Day after day, bags of clothes, sacks of old soft toys, used games etc started pouring in. The teachers came together and had all this stuff transported to my place in a small tempo. From here came a whopping collection of 53 bags, small bags and huge sacks included.
An email to my previous company and a few good friends there helped put together around 15 bags and they got it to my place on a bike. Another email to my college gang, and they went all out and donated to a collection centre near their houses. A few one-on-one chit chats with neighbours and some bags came in from there. All these were sources that I’d targeted with a sufficiently assured response and received a more than extraordinary response. But what took me by surprise was the various strangers who approached me through this blog, the JGW2010 website and references. These people came in from Aundh, Kalyani Nagar, Koregaon Park and places as far as Bhosari. They took time out on a Sunday to sort out the stuff in their closets and then to drive down to the collection centre. That was really mind-blowing! And all these awesome people helped to make this super awesome mountain of clothes for Goonj-JGW2010 <pic above>……… And all this just from one collection centre, and there were 15 other collection centres across Pune. Benevolence and goodwill pouring from so many people across the city. It was sheer awesomeness in action…. In today’s world we’ve come to believe that we live in a society that is driven by need, that we live amongst people who channelize all their energies into only themselves, a fast paced break neck competitive arena where no one has the time to think about anyone or anything else. But if you just extend an arm, you’ll also see so many people who’re looking for ways and means to help, people who want to contribute in so many amazing ways, but are just struggling to find the right channel. I’m glad to have met so many such wonderful people through this initiative….just by their presence they’ve moved the needle in my head from scepticism to idealism! I want to thank each and every person who contributed to the Joy of Giving week in any way. All of you came come together with this wonderfully positive spirit that has surely made a difference to a lot of people in some less fortunate parts of this country. Thank you for making that change happen….. Mahatma Gandhi had once said; “Be the change you wish to see in this world.” And all of you have made a splendid beginning towards that change. :)