Turning 14 didn’t seem very significant to me, so I was more than okay with it not being the center of attention at home. I overheard my mom mentioning a book-sorting opportunity that happened to be on my birthday, so I took her up on her offer to volunteer for this event with my friends. It combined my love for books with the idea of doing something that had a good impact. My friends were surprisingly very receptive of this idea, and even shifted their weekend classes so we could attend the event together. My birthday approached, and soon I was sitting on a puffy, mulberry sofa, keenly listening to the admirable history of the Ratna Nidhi Charitable Trust.
After our short briefing, we were ushered into the room filled with old but reusable books. Their contents spanned children’s comics like Tinkle to IIT-JEE prep guides. My friends, some other volunteers and I, began working, chatting amicably while sifting through the countless piles. We were lead by ConnectFor team members Nikita and Maniti. It was humid and extremely hot, but after a while we didn’t notice it at all. We arranged all of the books, stacking them into various genres and age groups, and developed a sort of unspoken system. We even played music! Some of us went upstairs to help pack clothes. Luckily the room upstairs was airy, and was a relief from the heat!
While sorting through clothes, we talked and got to know some of the other volunteers. It was a lot of fun! Some time later, a journalist from NDTV entered, followed by an eager cameraman. He introduced himself to us, and proceeded to begin a recorded interview with ‘the birthday girl’. I was a little nervous, but replied to the questions as coherently as I could, trying to get my point across, that I wanted to spend my birthday in a meaningful way while still having fun.
Volunteering on my birthday changed my outlook on service and society. I left the site with a sense of accomplishment. I knew that I had contributed to a child somewhere reading and learning, doing what I loved. I was humbled and more than a little dusty, but I had a smile on my face as I packed away the last of the books.
Written by Khushi Vora, who celebrated her birthday with ConnectFor and Ratna Nidhi Charitable Trust, volunteering at a book sorting event.
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