A prayer to live meaningfully

Living meaningfully is an individual choice and a personal responsibility.
Yesterday I saw a post in the Chennai Bloggers Club where a young lady Janani announced that she has launched a “Make it Meaningful” campaign around her wedding. Her fiancé and she have invited their family and friends to avoid lavishing them with gifts and instead donate to the cause of funding the education of 200 children.
I think the idea is not just innovative and compassionate, it is super cool. I wish more people take inspiration from this young couple and make their celebrations meaningful.
Whether it is a wedding, birthday, anniversary or just about any celebration, gifting is an integral part of both traditional and contemporary culture. But if you dispassionately observe the whole process of gifting, it has somehow stopped being aesthetical. Gifts are, unfortunately, brandished more as status symbols. Who gave what seems to have overtaken the art of giving. Besides, the big, fat, Indian wedding has gone beyond being just big and fat – it has become a pompous show of wealth. So much money – and food – gets wasted at our events in the name of ceremony and tradition. In a world where so many people die of hunger, where so many don’t have a roof over their heads and where so many more don’t have the means to education, all this spend can be better utilized than wasted.
Young Janani and her fiancé promise us light though. I know of a gentleman who plants trees on the birthdays of his friends. For several years now, Vaani and I have been donating to www.rasaindia.org and to Narayanan Krishnan’s www.akshayatrust.orgon the birthdays, anniversaries or weddings of people that are very close to us. I am sure several people out there are doing something very similar. The Bhoomika Trust has a program called www.truegiftsindia.orgwhere people can choose gifts from Rs.200 to Rs.10000 and above – all funds gifted will go to the specific needs of participating NGOs. Yet, so much more public participation and groundswell is required.

Gifting is not a bad idea. Spending on celebrations is also not a bad idea. But splurging and wasting precious resources – time, energy and money – definitely is! Each of us has a responsibility to leave this world a better place than we found it. And we can do that only by living meaningfully – starting, well…Oh! Yes! Abhi! 
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