Thursday, 17 April 2014

Stories- Generosity is practical, feasible and inspiring !!

Hi friends,

Let this blog find you experiencing unconditional generosity around you.

I had written a blog in Feb 2014 on Gift-iv-ism, a video talk by Pavi Mehta. We later attended a very inspiring lecture by Nipun Mehta, founder of Service Space. This organization has more than 5,00,000 volunteers, across the globe. They have various initiatives that allow our inherent generosity to blossom into small acts of service around us, leading to inner transformation. Their projects range from a daily positive news service, to an acts-of-kindness portal, to a gift-economy restaurant.

Their initiatives are quite different from charity. It is about serving people with honour & respect, for the sheer joy of serving. That it is a privilege for the person serving that someone agreed to accept his/her generosity.

I have heard apprehensions from people that such generosity may be considered a sign of weakness, softness, naiveté: ‘Be careful, soon people will start taking undue advantage of your generosity’.

My experience so far has been quite opposite. I have consistently seen acts of generosity leading to joy for the giver, increased trust, enriched quality of connection, with the receiver inspired to pass it on.

Here are few real life inspiring stories about two auto rickshaw drivers. We found them on the Service Space website.

1.     Udaybhai: Ahmedavad no rickshawalo (Ahmedabad’s rickshaw driver)

Key features:
  • Started on a gift economy concept on 1st July 2010 in Ahmedabad. The passengers are told that their fare has been paid by previous passenger. So their bill is zero. They can choose to pay any amount of their choice, for the next passenger 
  • This ‘aesthetically-designed’ rickshaw has snacks, chocolates, water bottles, waste-paper bin, electric fan, newspapers, and a Gujarat information guide with no extra charge for waitin
  • Many touching experiences for Udaibhai & also for the passengers. The link above has stories of how people were surprised, initially did not believe him, many were delighted. 
  • One lady requested him to wait while she shops for vegetables & fruits. He offered to carry her shopping bag as she selected various items. At the end of shopping, she gave her Rs 300 and insisted he buy fruits/vegetables for his family from same place.  
  • He has had so many amazing experiences that he is more than ready to serve people further

Anna Durai
Latest magazines, newpapers, mobile charger
TV & FM Radio

Remote, Wi-Fi router etc.

Key features:
-       Free mobile battery charger, watch TV, Free Wi-Fi (including a 10 inch Tab if you need)
-       Free magazines & newspapers to read (he spends 4000/- per month in buying them)
-       Bumper prize contest for customers,
-       Recharge coupons for prepaid Mobile phones & DTH (Satellite TV subscription)
And interesting discount schemes:
-      Free for teachers On Women Day free for women aged 50+
-      Free for teachers On Mother’s Day free for mothers with accompanying children
-      Free for teachers On Children Day free for children (14 November)
-      Free for teachers On Valentine’s Day free for couples
-      Free for teachers On Father’s Day free for men aged 45+
-      Free for teachers 50% discount on Abdul Kalam Azad’s birthday (ex-president of India)
-      Free for teachers  50% off on Anna Durai’s birthday (15 September)
-      Free for teachers On Independence Day (15 August) free for people born before 1947

  • He spends more than Rs 5000 to give his customers an auto ride like no other in the city, yet makes a good living, taking home a profit of around Rs 1,000 a day. 
  • He says, "What gives me pleasure is that people remember me and are grateful for the service I offer”.

Stories of Auto experiences: Here is another touching account by a passenger:
My friend had made it a practice to give every rickshaw driver TWICE the amount he asks for. Once when he did this the driver was very confused and asked him why he was giving him twice the fare. My friend replied: “I would like you to keep the money, and if ever you see an old or sick person needing a ride on a hot day, if you wish you could give them a free ride with this extra money". The driver was moved beyond words. He actually waited at the same place and when my friend finished his work he again offered him a ride. When they reached the destination he refused to accept any money and said that people had always treated him like a cheat, but today his heart had been deeply touched and the feeling he was experiencing within was priceless.

We found these stories very inspiring. They reinforce the concept that generosity is ‘commercially’ feasible J, in fact it multiplies. When we see someone being unconditionally generous, it sparks generosity in us as well.

May these stories inspire you to begin new ways of generosity in your life.