Last few years, we have been playing a fun game called “Secret Santa” just before Christmas. It is a lot of fun and basically involves exchanging gifts in secrecy. We always used to fix an amount of money that people should not exceed. However almost every time, there will be one or the other person who would exceed the budget to show off the kind of gifts he/she can buy.
In the year 2017, I played a different kind of “Secret Santa”. There was an organization which was collecting Christmas wishes from kids living in the orphanages. They hardly have the luxury to exchange gifts. This organization then placed a huge ball of wishes in the middle of our campus. Each one of us was supposed to take up a wish and fulfill it for the child. We would never get to meet the child nor would we be able to see the expression on their faces when they receive the gift. But still many of us picked up more than one wish. Some of them really cute and few were emotional.
Those kids were asked to write down their wishes to Santa. Some of them wrote that they wanted a doll or a book or a car. Some of them even wrote that they wanted a family. Most of us tried our level best to fulfill their wishes to the best of our ability. And we so wanted to see how kids react to our gifts.
For me – that was the best “Secret Santa” that I ever played. It was really secret and brought joy to somebody who really needed it.
I ended up wondering why can’t we celebrate every festival in a similar way? Why do we need the decorations, sweets, gifts etc to celebrate a festival?
I realized that it is all about passion. If one is passionate about caring for the poor, they will find ways to work on it. Just like this organization did and they did it beautifully. If one is passionate only for his/her own pleasure, they will work on themselves only. They will show-off, buy big stuff for home, expensive clothes for the family, beautiful gifts for friends etc. There is nothing wrong with enjoyment but in my view, it should have a purpose other than satisfying one’s own desires.
Simple things can help take a big step towards this
- Why not share home-made Diwali sweets with underprivileged kids?
- Why not decorate an old age home just like you would do to your own on Diwali or Christmas?
- Least that can be done is to invite the family of your house help on festivals to celebrate together. Maybe visit their homes as well.
- Every republic day and independence, take up a project of planting trees or filling potholes or spot-fixing a garbage area.
- Make decorations using recycled material
- Make sure the all our idols that are immersed in water are environment-friendly.
I only listed down a few examples. There can be a million ways to give back to society during our own festival celebrations. Only if we make it our mission to do so, it is possible otherwise like most of us, we will always end up prioritizing our own desires over anything and everything else.
One of the biggest problem in our “Big Fat Indian Weddings” is the wastage of food. Of course, a lot of other things are wasted too and to top the list is the clothing and jewelry. But food wastage saddens me the most because usually close by the wedding halls are the slums who has kids and adults sleeping with an empty stomach. It could be so easy if we could just give away tons of food that turned out to be extra to these beggars and slums sleeping hungry. The only problem here is to arrange for logistics. There is some organization who have started this work, but in my view, the families of the bride and groom and the wedding point owners should take it up as their duty to ensure that every bite of the food cooked goes to a hungry person.
Do not waste. Every time you know that something is getting wasted, raise your voice and find out ways to get it to the person who can use it. It is so simple, only if this becomes a way of living life.
I am struggling to get there and I believe many more are. A lot of us want to do good but just don’t know how. Here is a simple solution – make it a mission of your life and you will find a way.
Celebrate because you love the festival and spirit behind not because it is supposed to be done in a certain way.