Free Hugs in Baroda's Kamati Baug!

Posted by Aparna Iyer on Jun 22, 2013

There's been a lot of discussion on the science of touch, and how it is preventive medicine. And there's also been some great experimentsHugs are universal medicine and the best part about a hug is is you cant give one without getting one! 

Religions dissolved, apprehensions inhibited, hearts were bridged , an abundance of love overflowed when a group of volunteers in Baroda decided to dedicate a Saturday morning to spreading love and smiles to reach out to people and make them feel loved.

Right from the health conscious doctor on his morning jog, a beautiful 60 something cancer survivor to the the labourers were treated to a dose of love which left them smiling and over whelmed! The initial apprehension was natural and expected and we were questioned for our intentions and affiliation with any organisations if any and as to why we were doing this! And that is when the magic began. When people got to know that it was a group of volunteers who wanted to spread some love and smiles – support and appreciation poured in. Two 22 something on their regular jog joined in to spread some love.

Selfless love is the purest form of expression when it is in the medium of a heartfelt hug – it is sure to touch your heart! I remember a lady absolutely overwhelmed by the hug (turns out it was her birthday that morning) and then being treated to a group hug, could it get any more amazing..oh yes it can! What followed was an abundant overflowing of love – nani- nanas', a group of doctors, a cancer survivor, few labourers, the sweepers, kids, teenagers , an expectant mother, watchman – everyone got a big dose of love! Imaging a volunteer with open arms walking towards you with smile on his/face to make you feel loved – How can that not make your day!

And if you're wondering if this is first of its kind – here's some history on the Free Hugs campaign!

The entire world is waking up to the power of hugs and it all started when in June 2004 when an Australian who went by the pseudonym Juan Mann started giving out free hugs in his local shopping mall. Mann had reached a point of personal crisis in his own life: his parents had divorced and his fiancée had broken off their engagement. He realised that people were living increasingly disconnected lives. The need for human contact had been neglected. In Mann's eyes, we were living in a computer-mediated culture where friends were made through My Space and families were breaking down. Where previously small-scale local communities had been integral to individual well-being, now people were pursuing far-flung separate lives in different corners of the globe.
Mann hand-wrote a sign advertising Free Hugs and went to the Pitt Street Mall in central Sydney, where he stood for 15 long, lonely minutes before an elderly lady took pity on him. Her dog had just died, she confessed, and the hug had made her feel better. Soon Juan Mann was handing out hugs every few seconds. As the days passed, more volunteers with their own handwritten signs came and stood alongside him.

In 2006 he was interviewed by Oprah Winfrey and Free Hugs went international: branches sprang up in Taiwan, Israel, Italy, America, Switzerland, Norway, India, Portugal and the UK. It seemed to touch a nerve.

Everyone is fighting a battle. Everyone has a different story of struggle and overcoming and it is in times like this when the power of a heartfelt hug wields its magic! 

How does it feel when you walk up to a complete stranger give him/her a hug , post which you realise that he has been feeling miserable about himself or about life and the hug just became a ray of hope – a feeling that said Yes you matter and you are loved! 

Hug a stranger today- You never know you might have just touched a life!

Gift yourself that happiness that one gets when you give from your heart – could be hug or even a smile

And to you who is reading this – A big virtual hug to you! You are loved! :)


Posted by Aparna Iyer on Jun 22, 2013 | permalink

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Previous Comments
  • sheetal wrote ...

    What a treat to see all you the Vadodara rockstars in action.. Thanks for doing this and more importantly for sharing this..

  • Ankit wrote ...

    Kind of sweet! Would have loved to be there and see how you guys did it. Heart-warming, could it be!

    How was the response? Pictures?

  • Aparna wrote ...

    Find the pictures here :)
    (see link)

  • umang wrote ...

    A person feels validated and loved during a hug. It acts as a remedy for People having problem in their primary relationships, if practiced within certain boundaries. But it is hard to find people with such
    maturity and understanding.