The Gift of Giving

February 3, 2017

by Ravi Chandler

Anne Frank once rightly said that, “No one has ever become poor by giving.” In our fast-paced life, we often forget our purpose in society and need to be reminded of our role. The act of giving is something wonderful and amazing, and there is no limitation to how much generosity and kindness one can give. Generosity is a choice that feels right and joyful, and comes from believing you have enough to share. Through our FH4Inclusion initiative, we have been fortunate to have a chance to give to others.

It was a busy, gloomy day as we left for our visit to Vidyarana, an NGO working for the underprivileged children and women in Bangalore since 1991.  The name piqued our curiosity since according to ancient history, Vidyaranya was a high priest to Harihara, one of the founders of Vijayanagara. He is still  considered to be one of the finest jewels India has produced, and he brought together people from various backgrounds to form one big family.

As we reached the center 25km away from the city, we were surprised to be greeted by an old man whose wrinkled face and fragile body didn’t stop him from welcoming us with his beaming smile and bright eyes.

We were introduced to the children, women and elderly residing in the building. One man’s eyes gleamed as we entered the room where the old people resided. He wasn’t able to stand, yet still supported himself on the bed and welcomed us. He was a retired teacher and asked us where we worked. As we answered his question, his joy knew no bounds from the fact that people had come to see the elderly people. That’s how deprived they were of love. Loneliness can kill a person, especially at an age where you look forward to be taken care of by your loved ones.

Next we met the women and the children. As soon as we entered the room, the children screamed with excitement with their teachers trying to hold them back. It was bittersweet to see them so happy but at the same time thinking about how they would need constant care for their entire lifetime. One of the children held my arms and wouldn’t let go, and we were taken aback by how they needed love even from an unknown stranger who they just met. The meeting was enlightening for us not just because we learned something, but highlighted where we could give more.

Once we started distributing the refreshments, the smiles on those faces made us know every moment spent with them was worth it. We are grateful for the experience and take with us heartwarming memories from the day.