Inspired by Kavita aunty we thought of doing clothes distribution on Diwali this time .
We spread a message and a small video through all possible means. We forwarded this message by putting just darpan's contact number. Soon in 2 days the list of contact numbers had reached to almost 12-15 of them volunteering to collect and distribute clothes themselves in different areas through out Mumbai. We just asked people to share whatever they had in abundance with some people who don't have the same so that everyone could spend a Happy Diwali . Also many people could not personally go and give out clothes so we accepted clothes from others who wanted to share.
As the process of collection was going on and the rooms were overflowing with bags full of clothes, we collecting and carrying big bags in local trains to our place and enjoying doing this all, a big question collectively started popping up in our minds — that in such a big arrangement of so many clothes how do we share clothes and not just give them away? As we never expected our rooms to overflow so much .
And this is when Neerad kaka helps us. So when we called him to ask about this doubt he said give one to one and try bonding with people. Give clothes to less people but spend time with them . And then we started thinking on how can this be done.
We segregated clothes pair-wise, size-wise so that people can use them properly . And at night with just 2 bags me, Darpan, Kunal (one of our volunteer friend) and Mishti (my 8 year old sister) went out to experiment that one to one bonding at 10 pm. It was quite late so we didn't meet any kids or aunties. But we met many uncles. We sat with them, asked them if they would love to accept clothes that someone has sent for them? And as soon as the first person said yes we were overjoyed. Two of us saw his size, what type of clothes will suit him and while we were finding the perfect set of clothes for him, another two talked to him. We met one dada who has been in Mumbai since last 2 months for his treatment. And every night he slept at a cobbler’s small hut. And he shared his whole family background, how he met with an accident and many more things. He was a Mumbaikar and a vegetable vendor in Mumbai but soon they shifted to Aurangdabad. We spent around 20 to 25 minutes with him and then we realised he was eating his food and as we came he had kept it aside so we left. We gave him a nice shervani. We learned the power of bonding at that time. That person was from a very well background with his kids earning good and at good position. And he was going to spend Diwali back home with them. He said “thanks for spending time with me and he accepts what we had to offer him.” So happy we all were. No one spoke a single word and everyone came back home smiling smiling . And when my uncle asked us how was it? Mishti said ekdum mast with a broad smile and that was self explanatory.
And then next day at 5:30am me, Darpan, Shraddha, Kunal, Aarya, Mishti and Pranita( joining in later) loaded Shraddha’s car with bags full of clothes and toys for kids. We had no space left to sit. :) In the end we all sat on top of the bags and set out with no particular place in mind. No route decided and everyone looking at each other thinking that someone might have planned the rough route :p . But no one had did that.
We just kept on moving right or left randomly as any one of us would say now universe says right or now universe say left and landed up anywhere. And we had an eye on road where we would go and connect to people on road randomly. So what we did is we parked our car randomly somewhere away from where they were so that they could not see us. And then went and first talked to them in person. And after sometime asked them whether they would like to accept what people had to offer them. We also tried going and approaching with clothes in our hand but then we were just going giving and coming back . So then we didn't find ourselves connecting to them. So we decided to stick to our old idea at max possible times.
At one place on the foot path we found a family who carries that Sai Baba’s cart. I don't know what is it called. But a cart like thing on which there is Sai Baba’s photo with all the things for worshipping and Sai Baba’s bhajans going on continuously. We parked our car quite far away and went to them. They were sitting in tent which they make at random places they go. They move everyday. And at night hault at some place. So aunty was cooking there and a big girl was helping her. And three small kids were playing outside. The tent was so small that it just started and got over. We talked to them and asked them wether they accepted clothes? They said yes and then three of us went and brought clothes that would fit them and look good on them while other three were talking to them. After accepting clothes aunty says may you all be happy always and may you live with peace. So we said may all being live with peace. And so then we sat with them in their house and prayed for world peace and happiness . As soon as we were leaving Shraddha saw that there was a pair of broken chappal and she asked whose it was? That big girl replied it was her’s. So she removes her sandals and put it in that girls feet. And later she share I don't know why but I felt connected with her.
We went to several construction sites so that we could connect to whole family together. We met so many families who were overwhelmed. And we were so happy to connect with them. As we had lots of clothes for very small babies and all almost brand new but we couldn't find any. And in these family we could find members of so many ages. At one place we met a small girl and we gave her a pretty frock and she could not speak she was so small but she smiled so much and such a cute smile as we gave her frock she made everyone so happy. And probably she didn't knew also what was happening.
We met an old dadi outside a temple. We were just talking to her, sitting besides her and suddenly we realised we are here to ask her for clothes mainly and then we asked her and shared clothes for her family members as we didn't had any navari sari for her. It was great talking to her. She shared stories of her time how she would work so hard for her kids and how life in Mumbai for a poor family is difficult.
We met so many such people and had a great time. I can go on and on with this. But will cut it short now. (See this is the problem with sharing :p we don’t understand how much to share :p and we can go on and on :p ) We connected to so many sweepers , narial pani wala bhaiya , small kids walking on road , watchman uncles and so many random people on road. And finally after 8 hours we had to go home as we wanted to do this next day too and our parents wouldn't have allowed us if we wouldn't be home at 2 pm :p
Next time after 2 days we segregated clothes again and went around at night with my mom, Kunal ,Darpan, Aarya and Mishti on bikes and gave clothes to vendors on road.
Most of the people accepted but there were also some who said no as they wanted to live with self-respect. But no one of us was disappointed because we were at-least getting connected those people. Which normally wouldn't have happened.