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Gift or donation?

While walking out of my college building yesterday, I noticed students sitting at a desk, with a banner saying “The Joy of Giving Week”. Returning to my hostel, I proceeded to satisfy my curiosity about this event using the faithful Google search engine and found that it was an philanthropic initiative to gift underprivileged people with anything and everything. Their information asked people to give items which were in good condition, because after all it was a gift. Why a gift? Why not a donation?

While donations are noble and show you support the cause, a gift signifies that your emotions and affections are tied up with it too, it’s not just a social duty, but a choice. This is what the Joy of Giving is all about. Wanting to share what you have, with someone who doesn’t.  A friend of mine said that she could only give ₹30 while another person gave ₹100; she lamented it made her feel like a miser. But the joy of giving is not about how much you give, it’s also about how much you want to give, the sentiment behind the action. We all feel bad for the young mothers, begging with little ones at their hips, but don’t necessarily do anything to remedy it; the sentiment has to translate into an action.

Our gifts need not be material, sharing your time with someone; to sit and listen to them, make them feel valued is giving too. I recollect the day, when my school organised an interaction session with ladies and gentlemen from a nearby old age home. My peers and I being critical eleven year olds, were worried that we wouldn’t be able to communicate with our elderly guests, but finally we realised that it was never an issue, as they were lonely people who felt happy from the what little conversation we could make with them. This is the spirit of the joy of giving, teaching your household help’s children maths, offering your gardener water or going the extra mile and giving your books or clothes to people who need them more than you.

To certain cynics this initiative might sound idealistic and frivolous, they may argue that are we sure our gifts reach the needy? Do we really think giving a pair of jeans could really eradicate poverty? To these scholars I would say that if one feels strongly enough, they will go to the extent to make sure that these gifts are utilised as they were intended to. A pair of jeans might not bring a portion of our country over the poverty line, but it will definitely give a man something durable to wear while he works to make a living for his family, after all isn’t it said that every drop makes an ocean?

Try a small a small experiment, gift your maid pair of clothes, and greet her with a smile. Then analyse the warm feeling in your heart…yes that indeed is the joy of giving.

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