By Nidhi Nagpal:
I stepped out of McDonald’s with the widest smile on my face because I bought myself a McFlurry. Just when I was about to enjoy the first bite, a melodious tune from a flute swayed me. I was compelled to cross the road so that I could listen to more of what this man was playing and appreciate his extraordinary talent.
To my surprise, he was a cheerful man who took pride in refreshing the crowd with his soothing melodies. A minute into listening to his composition, I wanted to gift my McFlurry to him, as a token of thanks for making my evening better. The twinkle on his face reflected that my gesture touched him. Such is the magic of giving!
For someone who grew up in a middle class household, ‘giving’ for me will never be synonymous to donating huge amounts of money to a charity. It is, in fact, small moments, shared with strangers or otherwise, that add value to my life. The happiness that comes from making others smile not only stays with you but gives you precious memories.
The times when I rolled down the window of my car to buy pens, I don’t need from the little girl selling them to indifferent car owners, just to have a word with her. The times I have been excused from having to give change to generous auto-wallahs, with them telling me, “Koi nahi madam” (not a problem, madam), with a smile. This one time when I stopped a girl walking in front of me at the metro station, to tell her that she had beautiful hair, only to find her eyes shine as she smiled. These are nothing but overwhelming moments of joy that remain etched in our memory for a long time.
While there need not be just one day to spread happiness, a beautiful tradition is being observed all across the nation as people come together to celebrate Daan Utsav, also known as the ‘Joy of Giving Week.’
The upsurge of this trend in a country like India is fascinating as it is probably the only festival that doesn’t have a religious or mythological history. All the main festivals we have are mostly just days when we catch up with one’s family and friends. But Daan Utsav is a week where you do not just enjoy yourself; you also give back to the society.
Despite being talked about on a larger scale, it is still catching up to be a part of the mainstream. To be honest, I was unaware about Daan Utsav until I began working in the social sector. I always had a philanthropic streak in me since childhood, which prompted me to take up a job where I could make a difference to someone’s life. Now that I have chosen to work in the development sector, I see how non-profits work, and their efforts to make this world a better place inspire me every day.
In sync with the ideology of LetzChange (where I work) that stresses on the invaluable importance of little contributions for making a big difference in someone’s life, Daan Utsav is all about doing your bit for the society, irrespective of the scale.
I urge you all to spread joy and make contributions, starting October 2. It can be something as simple as gifting a box of chocolates to the little boy you come across every day at the metro station or taking your housekeeper’s family for lunch.
This Daan Utsav, give and inspire others to give too!