The flavour of Kolkata

The flavour of Kolkata
The city is known for its old alleys. One such is shot by Atanu Pal.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Spreading smiles in Holi

A Facebook group took the happiness from the festival of colours several notches up by sharing it.

Spreading Smiles is a Facebook group with an aim to bring smiles to the less privileged people of our society. Created in July 2014, it has grown to more than 4400 members till date. They do one event a month at a chosen orphanage, shelter home or old age home, and the event comprises of spending a day with the inhabitants; playing, chatting and eating with them to make them feel special. I came to know about this group from founder member Vishal Goyal last year, who have been in consistent touch with me and have sometimes, most politely, drawn my attention to their monthly events.

It’s a personal belief with Vishal that the true meaning of celebrating any festival is spreading and sharing happiness with others. Sharing this belief, Spreading Smiles celebrated an early Holi on 20th March, Sunday, with the children in Jana Siksha Prachar Kendra, a shelter home for girls in Salt Lake. There were twenty three girls between four and fourteen years of age who participated in the celebration. The place was decorated with balloons, games were organized and prizes were given to winners, and staff members from McDonalds put it all up without any charges. When one shares a meal with such a group it makes them feel even more special and brings a greater joy to the occasion. So they ate lunch and drank thandai with the children. They also received gifts from the group members.

Thereafter the members started playing Holi with the children. It was a big surprise for them and the happiness on their faces when they saw the colours was beyond words. Their excitement was such boundless that they almost snatched the gulal (powdered colour for dry use) from the Spreading Smiles members and smeared their faces with it. As Vishal shares “Those moments can never be explained, one can only feel them! We became kids with them. This was the best Holi celebration of my life and my group members present there feel the same.” The experience has encouraged the members to celebrate every possible festival with such children.

Vishal with the kids

Here’s wishing Spreading Smiles all the very best. May they continue living up to their name.

By the way, if you wish to share your joy of special occasions with those less fortunate, be it children or senior citizens, Spreading Smiles can help you select the place and do all the arrangement. The only service charge will be the opportunity to spread smiles more. And the only condition (if you call it any) is to become a member. Find them here.

Photograph courtesy: Vishal Goyal

#HoliCelebration #ShelterHome #SocialWorkKolkata

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