Some memories of your childhood never go away.
I was ten. I was on a city bus( yes, children that young were on their own not very long ago) and the heat made me doze off in my seat. When I woke up, I had long crossed the stop where I had to get off. I panicked(actually, burst out crying) and the bus driver stopped and dropped me off right where we were. I didn’t know my way back to my familiar bus stop, so I just kept walking, crying all the while.
I spotted a man on a scooter and walked up to him to ask him the way back to my bus stop. He took one look at my sobbing face and offered to drop me where I wanted to go. Of course, I was blissfully ignorant of child-trafficking then and simply hopped on to his scooter, grateful for the help. He did drop me off at a safe place, making sure I knew my way back to my home and then off he was. I only vaguely his black spectacles and his Vespa scooter. But, I clearly remember the tone of this voice, the concern on his face, the shiny beads of sweat on his forehead, his waving to his friend to wait up for him while he drops me off. He probably remembers by teary face and unabashed sobbing!
Even today, I shudder to think what might have happened if he was not so kind, after all! Every time I get a chance to interact and influence another child, I think of this kind man who got me home safely and silently say a million thanks!
Often, random kind acts like these carry so much more than just one incident. They can change our lives, our attitudes and even our beliefs. It is this phenomenon that Rushabh Turakhia has helped bring alive with his stunningly simple, yet brilliant concept.
A diamond merchant by profession, Rushabh devised an astoundingly clever way to keep the chain of kindness alive. Every time someone gets a little kindness from you, you pass them a ‘Your Turn Now’ blue card encouraging them to pay you back by paying it forward. The little blue card acts a little reminder for the kindness you received as well as a reminder that your kindness is due, keeping the chain alive.
Rushabh started with a modest aim of about 5000 cards, but the results blew him away. Within the first year, 25000 cards were making the rounds. Today, more than half a million little blue cards are in circulation in 43 countries.
After this little social experiment became a success, Rushabh decided to sow the seeds of kindness in our most important social group – our children. The book, “Your Turn Now,” published by FunOkPlease, is a fascinating collection of real stories of impact created with small acts of kindness.
The book was such a huge success, that there is now a book 2 with 50 more stories. The words, the language and the illustrations are so relatable that it makes for great bedtime reading for children.
I had a little chat with the Rushabh, and he had some more fascinating stories to tell. Here are the excerpts of our interview.
As a writer, I observe many things and events. I happened to notice that people have become so busy, that they won’t even spare a minute to pick up a fellow human who has fallen down. Ironically, Human beings are called ‘MANKIND,’ but somehow the word MAN and KIND has separated. So I started this little concept in December 2009, as a reminder for people to be thoughtful and compassionate.
Our Little Blue Card called Your Turn Now was born.
There are plenty, but I remember a particular incident on my birthday. As my wife and I were driving down for breakfast, we witnessed an accident where an old woman and her grandson of 5, were injured severely. My wife and I took it upon ourselves to help the family get their treatments on time – even shuttling between hospitals to get the right treatment. I had the satisfaction of bringing a little boy back from the brink of death on my birthday! When the father came to thank me, all I did was pass on the little blue card to him to remind him to embrace his turn to help someone else.
My recommendations to parents/teachers: We all want that our children grow up with good values, but we may be too busy and let opportunities to help fly past us. Children learn from us. The ‘Your Turn Now‘ book is an amazing read to instil those right values, by not just telling them the stories but actually performing it in real life. All the stories in the book are real ones which I have received from across the world. I suggest involving children to make them socially responsible. We, parents and teachers, have CSR in our companies – my suggestion is to start CSR at home and school – CSR standing for Child’s Social Responsibility.
There are so many, that I have received in mail and messages. Very recently, students of a school in Mumbai took a ‘Your Turn Now – Kindness workshop‘ and all of them were involved in almost a month-long kindness activity touching several lives.
The ideal target is to reach 7 billion people. There’s so much to do. As of today, more than half a million Your Turn Now cards are spreading kindness across 43 countries in 10 international languages. We put together a video of 40 different random acts of kindness to inspire viewers across the world.
We also plan to have a series of books on the little blue card in different languages, to cater to a wider audience. We are also working on bringing the Your Turn Now Kindness Workshop to schools, colleges, corporates, societies, clubs, etc.
It’s a long way to go.
For everyone who has read this knows it’s YOUR TURN NOW!!
Devishobha is the founder of Kidskintha- a global parenting and education collective, and the host of the global virtual conferences hosted on the platform. You can also find her voice on the Huffington Post, Mother.ly, Entrepreneur, Lifehack, TinyBuddha, Thought Catalog and many other publications.