The new year is here and it’s that time when we plan out our goals for the future, looking forward to all things good and hoping and praying to keep away any unfortunate incident from our lives. the first month of the year also brings with it the festival of ‘Makar sankranti’ ,meaning the transmigration of the sun into the ‘makar rashi’. Also called ‘uttarayan’ marking the northward migration of the sun. This day is celebrated by different names in different parts of our country and is considered auspicious for any charity that you might want to offer to the needy.
And for this purpose the ladies wing of our community decided to donate blankets to a girls’ hostel run by a trust set up by Mahatma Gandhi himself in 1934. It houses about 200 girls from poor families studying in classes from 8th to 12th std. and provides for their boarding, lodging, food and tutions. They get a meager grant,and like all such institutions can always do with help in cash or kind.
So today armed with about 200 blankets we( about 15 ladies) descended upon the hostel. There was a spring in our steps and pride in our eyes with the thought of doing a ‘good deed’ and crediting it into the accounts of our lives.
Reaching there we found the girls seated systematically on the floor on their mats, looking at as with curiosity. Their’s were happy faces, smiling at us shyly at first and then more openly as we smiled back at them. They began the program with prayers and the girls, with their eyes closed, sang in one voice prayers taken from all religions. It was then when I began to get goosebumps on my arms. Suddenly i wasn’t too sure as to who was the giver and who the receiver.
We started to hand out the blankets to the girls,one at a time and they took it from us with so much joy and gratitude that humility descended upon me in full force. Our act of giving felt too small in the face of their simple appreciation.
And I wasn’t giving anymore but receiving from them; receiving a lesson in humility. The true joy of giving; the giving of appreciation more than deserved and making others feel happy about themselves.
As i came away, I had a spring in my steps that came not because I had given something away but because I had received something priceless.