In the age we live in today, simple values like sharing and caring are becoming nearly obsolete. If we were to think of the last time we bought something new or indulged in an extravagant meal, it could probably have been in the past one week. While these things don’t seem like a big deal,there are millions in our country for whom such opportunities would mean a world of happiness.
And sometimes happiness is making another person happy. In a society where materialism has taken centre stage and human values are given little importance, here’s Krishna Vikas, who’s trying to bring humanity back into this world.
Krishna, a 22-year-old from Hyderabad, could be just another guy. What makes him unique is his belief in the joy of sharing and finding happiness in others’ happiness.
Krishna came up with an initiative called ‘Stop Taking Start Giving’ that carries out activities aimed at spreading joy and happiness in the lives of the not-so-privileged on a regular basis. The motive behind ‘Stop Taking Start Giving’ is to make people realise the importance of social and human values and along the way, impact the lives of the less privileged in as many ways as possible.
With the mission to spread and find joy in the simplest of things, Krishna carries out various activities to make the underprivileged and the marginalised feel as much a part of society as the rest of us. Krishna has so far conducted around 20 activities like giving out food to the homeless, giving out gifts to the under-privileged during festivals, and giving out stationery to students from government schools, impacting around 500 people just in his neighbourhood.
He not only tries to touch the lives of the underprivileged but alsoattempts to interact with them.One such instance is when he decided to take two young girls, whose mothers work as maids, to have a day of fun. He took these two girls out shopping and treated them to a nice meal at a restaurant. To put it in his own words, Krishna says,
“Many of us don’t really think twice before spending any money on clothes or things that we don’t really need. We often take many things in life for granted but there are millions of people out there who have to think 10 times before spending a penny,and when someone buys them the things that they long for, it makes a world of difference to them. This is the motive behind my initiative — the joy of giving is found in the simplest of things. This is the message that I want to spread.”
After experiencing an injury, he was overwhelmed by the love and care he received from his family. At this point, he was struck by therealisation that people who are homeless and underprivileged often do not experience this kind of affection and acceptance from the society.
At the same time, when he was pondering on these issues, Krishna joined the gym and started interacting with the cleaner and was appalled by his tragic story of how he had ended up where he was. Moved by his story and left with a feeling of wanting to do something for him, Krishna decided to make his day by taking him out.
This experience led to the creation of Stop Taking Start Giving in the December of 2013. He began to understand that true happiness lies in spreading and sharing your fortune with others.
Soon after came the month of love and Krishna started activities with a theme. With the rest of the society of celebrating romantic love, Krishna decided to give the month of February a new meaning and started a mission to spread love to the underprivileged. On one of his activities, he says,
“A watchman asked me, ‘I’m only a worker, why would you want to do anything for me?’ To which I said, ‘You are a human being first and then you are a watchman.’ This is exactly the kind of stereotype that I want to break. There are humble people everywhere and we also need to show to the less privileged that they are an equal part of the society. I want them to feel that they are equally important.”
From what started as a motive to spread joy to everyone, Krishna has now embarked on a journey to spread and talk about different values and issues that we, as a society, often do not. He began to conduct experiments to address issues like racism, women’s rights, and human rights. One such issue that Krishna chose to address is the racism that Africans face in India.
As part of this experiment, Krishna tried to enact a scene in public with the help of two men of African descent, who are pursuing their higher education in India. The two men and Krishna staged an incident of racism in a public space with Krishna hurling racist slurs against the two African men in an attempt to gauge the response of the people around them. Krishna was shocked to learn that not one person came to defend the African men.
The takeaway message from the experiment was that people often let prejudices and blind misconceptions get in the way of their social interactions. Krishna wanted to share his shock and people’s apathy towards these men and this message, he hopes, will be an inspiration to people to look at things from a different perspective.
Currently, Krishna is working as a personal fitness trainer and has decided to dedicate his time and effort to the cause.
Krishna, over the past years, has realised that the initiative is his true calling and wants to take this to a level where his activities start impacting lives of all thepeople within his reach. He hopes to address different issues like public urination, violence against women, and eve teasing.
On his next activity, Krishna says that he’s planning to interact with a 55-year-old man who sells coconuts and bananas near his place. He plans on buying the man’s entire day’s produce and give it back to him. By giving him back his produce, Krishna hopes to do something that no one has ever done for this man. He says,
“This is a small effort to make the man’s day. The joy of giving is much greater as opposed to buying something for oneself. You know that at the end of the day, this man will remember the gesture and it would make him happy every time he thinks about it. I believe that if you have the chance to do something to help the needy, you might as well do it. And that’s what I try to do.”