August comes and the curtain rises on the festive theatre that is Mumbai. It starts with Janmashtami and then, moves on to the bigger act — the ten days of Ganesh Utsav. In between that, Raksha Bandhan, Parsi New Year, Bakri Eid and Paryushan all make their appearances. But, Ganesh Utsav cuts across all barriers. Schools and Offices all gear up and figure out the early shutdown times. For some, it’s all about setting up their house in order to welcome the God and the guests who are invited to share in their devotion whereas for others, it is a time to let their hair down and indulge in the community spirit. They work during the day and look forward to hanging out at the pandal come evening. These aforementioned pandals are up a week before the actual advent of the Elephant God as they need all that time to set up that year’s theme.
People gather at the pandal and some of them take up charge of the decorations or co-ordinating with the decorators. Others decide on the cultural activities and get their t-shirts printed with their community name and logo. Isn’t this a wonderful display of volunteering within the community, fostering goodwill and making that connect with the people one normally would just quickly nod to or smile at in passing?
But while this happens at the corner of the lane you live in, you shut yourself off in your room, burdened by the never ending chores which have to be done at home. If you are a student, life is just rushing between classes and college and partying quick and partying fast because there is just no time to stand and stare. Or you are the one who brings work home. And the day just passes by.
Take two steps back and think of all the happiness you derived when you were doing something, not for yourself but for your community. Now think of more than your immediate neighbourhood. Simply look around — there are street children, old people, destitute people and there are so many good samaritans who have decided to devote their entire lives for the betterment of these people. How can you play a role in this? You don’t have to put your life on hold nor start an NGO. You can start small by volunteering at NGOs in Mumbai.
Think about what you bring to the table. A good kind heart and the willingness to share your precious time. There are opportunities where you can volunteer for a limited period and then, there are recurring opportunities. There are opportunities where you can finally utilize all the time you thought you were wasting on social media to good use — these NGOs require your skills in making their presence felt on the same networks you thrive on! Maybe your drawing skills can help bring a drab railway platform wall to life and your music can inspire a group of lonely children! So whatever skills you bring to the table, there is always someone in need of them. So many things to do. Why not start now?
Get Set and Go!! ConnectFor.org is here to help you take this first step towards connecting with your fellow human beings and making the world you live in, a better place!
Amisha is part of the ConnectFor’s Business Development Team and is practicing what she preaches through her work with us!
Take Amisha’s advice, and sign up to www.connectfor.org now :)