What would a dream wedding for you mean? Probably, the presence of all your family and friends, stunning designer clothes, a fairytale destination, sight-arresting decoration, long list of guests and all the grandeur. But for a couple who recently got married in Bangalore, a dream wedding meant something different.
Surabhi HR hailing from Bangalore and Hemant Gaule from Mumbai tied the knot on Sunday followed by a reception for special guests. With a view of seeding a sentiment of ‘seva’, the couple organised a charity reception calling it ‘Seva Se Shaadi’ in Bangalore. Their guests for the evening were about 300 children who are disadvantaged either socially, physically or economically.
The idea was to invite these children and treat them specially. Surabhi had posted a video on Facebook telling about the charity reception and urging people to come ahead and volunteer. The video gathered over 50,000 views, many praises and several hands to come forward.
The inspiration for this theme came from the Sikh tradition ‘langar’ where food is served in a Gurdwara to all the visitors, without distinction of faith, religion or background, for free. Anybody who is interested in volunteering can also do it easily.
Groom Hemant Gaule dancing with children at his special wedding reception
“Since me and Surabhi both are deeply connected with children, we wanted to celebrate our wedding with them. We thought of having this mini-carnival for them with activities like mehendi, dance, other fun activities and dinner. These children were from various institutions like orphanages, homes for disabled and others. We invited them through NGOs partnering with us,” said Gaule.
Guided by the bride Surabhi, a visually challenged person imprints his hands’ impressions on the canvas
Children were asked to dip their palms in paint and leave impressions on a big canvas at the venue. They danced to the tunes of music and played several games. “Number of volunteers exceeded our expectations; many of them had just walked in without any specific agenda but only a desire to help in some way. It was heartening to see Seva Café, an NGO that connected with us recently, pop up with a sweet surprise for the children. Their CEO disguised himself as a clown and entertained them. Every single child was smiling during the event and it was very touching for us to have a view of that sight. We will preserve the canvas with hand impressions of all children present there as a souvenir,” added Gaule.
Samarthanam and Youth For Seva are the NGOs associated with them. Rituals like mehendi, haldi and the traditional wedding were held with family and friends and a special reception for organised for children. The couple did not accept and any gifts for their wedding; instead, they were redirected to these NGOs present there during these functions. They also set up fundraisers on an online crowdfunding website for the associated NGOs. Guests and well-wishers could simply gift them online by raising funds for the organisations.
Volunteers were asked to offer their services like logistical and entertainment for children. Talking about the thought of inviting volunteers Surabhi said, “Seva bhav (Sentiment for service) is contagious. Once you do seva, it is so incredibly rewarding and it gives you such a state of mental peace and contentment that nothing else can. Unfortunately, most people (especially of our age) have never tried seva due to lack of opportunities and enough motivation. We wanted to give this opportunity and set the ball rolling hoping to get them addicted to seva.”
Having met during a professional discourse, the couple soon matched chords and decided to marry. Surabhi runs a start-up called ‘Political Quotient’ and Gaule runs a training school for Public Relations professionals.
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The CSR Journal Team