What does it stand for? Let us say; cake, music, gifts, surprises, and food. This, we believe covers everything.
Like many, we celebrated birthdays in a customary way. Until now, it was all about flaunting a surprise look, cake-cutting at midnight, getting a cake facial, gifts, food and oodles of fun. Eventually the charm wore off. Hence our Co-founder Harmeet sprinkled a pinch of an act of kindness in it,
and voila! Her birthday became more memorable and special not only for her, but for many others too.
Secretly she has always wished that her sister, Manmeet, could also be a part of the NGO. So to give her a firsthand experience; an awe-inspiring activity was planned; often called a Field visit in social sector.
Opportunely, her birthday was forthcoming. Harmeet knew this was the perfect time. After the usual cake cutting session Manmeet asked, “So what’s my birthday gift this year?”
“Let’s go for a regular stroll on the highway,” said Harmeet.
“Arey...but what about my gift?” Manmeet inquired with a sad face.
“It’s down in the car.” Harmeet replied.
“Yay! Is it so big that you couldn’t carry it? Let’s go then! Manmeet said with sparkles in her eyes”
The sisters then wrapped up themselves in thick jackets and gloves as it was really cold outside. They got in the car, and there was a big box in the back seat. After nearly half hour drive Manmeet started getting restless. It was a long wait for her to see her gift. She asked if she could open the gift. Oh boy, she was impatient?!
Finally they reached the place where Harmeet wanted to take her. As it was December, it was freezing. They saw people on the footpath, wrapped up in sacks. Some were sleeping. Some were trying to fight the chilled breeze. They stopped near them; Manmeet gave a confusing look thinking what surprise holds here.
“Ok you can open the gift now,” Harmeet said after her asking about it the hundredth time.
“Umm, quilts?” Manmeet exclaims.
“Yes, quilts! Wrap each one with your own hand so that they know you brought it and the blessing you get in return is your birthday gift. No one will come between you and the blessings tonight. And don’t wake up the ones who are asleep.” Harmeet said at once.
Listening this Manmeet had her gloomy eyes. Harmeet knew then she is her partner for the days to come. The act of gifting the blankets was done and they came back. The journey back home was silent but serenity ruled that night. The sister duo have always been connected intellectually and now, a new togetherness is seen which will be taking this NGO to the new heights.
Nonetheless, this is just one incident of a birthday celebration. After that the founders’ family celebrated all birthdays and even festivals this way and now it’s a ritual they follow.
Working with children does not let the child inside us die. It is always alive and active. We are surrounded by children who have never celebrated their birthdays and are not lucky enough to taste the sweetness any act of kindness brings along.
They often ask Harmeet, “Didi, how would one feel when cutting the cake while others sing Happy Birthday?” This question deeply impacted her. She then realized they had never cut cakes with their names on.
Now, when the kids celebrate their birthdays at the NGO, we try to make it memorable for them. They eagerly wait for their birthdays. Not to receive a gift but to cut the cake. Isn’t it adorable? Since then, it has become a custom to cut the cake on any one’s birthday.
The kids where we work belong to the age group of 6 to 16. They experienced this feeling for the first time. This was technically their first year.
(Bhavi, our trainer celebrating her birthday with kids)
That is why the team loves this work. They love the feeling of gratitude it sprouts in the child’s mind, making him a good human being. They also love the feeling of thanksgiving it generates in the mind of a child while celebrating his whole event. They love the flow of emotions it brings along when a ten-year-old child is cutting the cake with his/her parents for the first time. The team admires the positive energy, the warmth and the delight which accentuates an occasion.
(Two of our kids celebrating their birthdays)
Recently, Harmeet also celebrated her birthday with these happy, enthusiastic kids. She received more than 20 gifts such as Taj Mahal, Ganesha idols, some makeup and lots of pens. She was overwhelmed by the gesture. The kids seem more excited in celebrating her birthday than she was herself. Believe it or not, this feeling is a much better gift than anything in this world.
Birthdays are special. Next time if it is your birthday, come and celebrate it with our kids. Their expression when they see a decorative cake is priceless. Their smiles when they sing Happy Birthday for you will be worth anything trust me. They are not hungry for food; they are hungry for love and attention.
Each and every member of our team is eagerly waiting for their next birthday.