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Event 1 - Diwali Celebrations

October 17, 2009

The story behind Making A Difference

It was the year 2009. Life was eventful and confusing at the same time. A casual family discussion sprouted the thought of 'sharing love with those who need it the most'. The festive season had set in and there were smiles and lights everywhere we looked. Diwali has been the most special festival for me since childhood. Yet my heart was at unrest. There were multiple questions that had begun to clutter my mind. One of the most profound ones was 'we spend so much to illuminate our homes, buy new clothes, make festive dishes, bring sweets home, gift our friends, spend so much on crackers which are burnt in less than 24 hours. Yet, there seemed to be darkness still around us. There are homes, where they don't have even a diya to light, let alone festive dishes and new clothes. And then there are those orphaned and abandoned who miss the warmth of a family during every such occasion. What would it feel like to bring them some warmth, spread some smiles this Diwali?'


And without much planning, much thought, on 4th of November, 2010 (a day before Diwali that year), my son (who was just 9 years old then) and I decided to reduce the amount we spent in buying fire crackers and use the money we saved to buy some sweets for an orphanage and old age home. I have never liked fire crackers ever, but that day was special as my little son understood and accepted the offer of reducing his share of fire crackers. Over the next few years, this share kept reducing and it has been nearly 8 years that we do not buy crackers for our home.


Despite that all we had was just a couple of thousands. So to save money, we planned to make the food packets at home. With some domestic support, we made lemon rice, packed nearly 100 food packets and added few sweets from the market to each of them. Now we had diyas, oil and food packets for the event. We booked a cab and visited a friend's home for Diwali post which we had planned to go to the orphanage. There we met a couple and generally discussed our plans, not knowing we will have them join us for the Diwali event at the orphanage. Soon all 4 of us were on our way. Suddenly the couple suggested we buy few crackers as well and offered to sponsor it too. So we did, and reached the orphanage.


We were greeted with the greatest cheer we had ever seen. The food packets were distributed and we participated in their regular prayers. As we worked with the kids and the elderly to light the diyas, the tinkle in their eyes seemed brighter than the 100s of diyas we lit. We couldn't be more grateful. We gave them the few fire crackers we had bought, and they joyfully enjoyed the momentary happiness it brought.


Soon the celebrations came to an end around 10 pm. We still had nearly 30 food packets left with us. So we all decided to go around the lanes and find those cleaning the streets off the litter we create during our celebrations. They were delighted to receive the surprise visitors with food packets and thanked us as we drove away.


This experience, this story, this night has remained most special for me on MAD's journey. As I lay on my bed that night, slowly falling asleep, I distinctly remember promising myself 'This is just the beginning. There is much more for me to do, and I will'.

P.S. - Unfortunately, those days I did not have a great camera phone. 

Authored by  - Anamika Khanna (Founder of Making A Difference)

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