Last Wednesday, the ConnectFor friends and family gathered at the Sandhurst Road Railway Station as part of an initiative known as Hamara Station Hamari Shaan, led by Mumbai First and Making a Difference. To celebrate the Daan Utsav week, we were going to give back to our city and fellow Mumbaikars by painting the railway station.
On my way to the station that night, I had some second thoughts about the project; specifically, about my involvement in the project.
“Would I be able to paint satisfactorily, considering my significant lack of artistic skills?”
“How much value could I possibly add?”
“Should I be doing something more meaningful to contribte to Daan Utsav, something a little more ‘up my alley’?”
“Besides, isn’t it the Government’s job to paint these stations… how would I explain my involvement?”
All these worries retreated the second I reached the station, grabbed some brushes and paint, and set to work. I, along with the CFCommunity volunteers, started to transform the place into a happy, vibrant and colorful space. I could see for myself how the painting that we were doing was adding something magical to the otherwise mundane station. Travelers were stopping to look at us, some even curious enough to ask what we were doing. One woman stood out to me. She came up to me and asked if I could give her son a job and some money, in return for which he would help me paint. She probably lived in or around the station. I explained to her that we were volunteers and were doing this pro bono. She looked at me then, really looked at me, and her face split into a smile. She then proceeded to say something which I can never forget.
“It is so nice to see our daughters working like this, taking these initiatives. It shows how far our country has come. I am so proud of you! God Bless!”
In an instant, all the residual doubts I had vanished. Unwittingly, I had become an inspiration for someone. I had touched someone’s life. In that instant, I understood what it means to volunteer, and #WinWinForACause.
Maniti Modi works to ConnectFor; the last time she painted, she was 9 years old.