Amidst a mundane, hectic lifestyle, not many of us are able to lead by example and help those who are not as fortunate as us. Paloma Dutta, a travel writer and an editor at Penguin Random House and her partner Ved Baruah, a historian working with the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow have been helping people in their immediate circles whenever possible. But as salaried individuals, their financial aids were always limited. This story is about how Paloma Dutta and Ved Baruah took up a social cause on their wedding day.

 When they were getting married recently, the couple saw the wedding as an opportunity to help people on a larger scale. In their wedding invitations, Paloma and Ved let the guests know that they had associated themselves with the NGO Shishu Sarothi and wanted to gift children with special needs. So, they requested that the wedding gifts should be either ‘specialized learning tools’ or even regular stationary items like crayons, pencils, erasers, notebooks etc. They put in a note saying that any money they received during the wedding reception will be donated towards the cause as well.
Paloma Dutta
Paloma & Ved’s Wedding Invite

“The invitees are the real stars of this initiative. We only put in the note, but the guests made it a success by contributing very very generously.”

Paloma says, “Although there are enough people around us who can use some financial assistance we could not have asked the public money for our acquaintances.  That is why we looked for a social cause and since both of us are very fond of children it was an easy decision.The invitees are the real stars of this initiative. We only put in the note, but the guests made it a success by contributing very very generously. Many people came up to us at the reception and told us that they hope that more people take up such social initiatives and have meaningful celebrations.”

Many people came up to us at the reception and told us that they hope that more people take up such social initiatives and have meaningful celebrations – Social cause on wedding day

The invitees are the real stars of this initiative. We only put in the note, but the guests made it a success by contributing very very generously.
Since both of them are not based in Guwahati, after some initial research online, their families helped them find the right NGO. They primarily chose Shishu Sarothi because their website stated that they also accepted donations in kind. Paloma informs that the organisation was very helpful in sharing a list of requirements which the couple then passed on to the guests through our invite. And the initiative in itself was a wedding gift to each other for the couple who had known each other for 12 years.

“What we especially liked about Shishu Sarothi is how they are empowering these special children not only with everyday skills and vocational training but also looking out for them by pushing the government to strengthen laws protecting people with physical disabilities”

“We wanted to give the celebrations around the occasion of our marriage some real meaning. We spent some quality time with the children and administrators at Shishu Sarothi a few days after our wedding and handed over the gifts to the latter. A couple of hours at Shishu Sarothi is enough to make you see how little our contributions are to run an organisation like that successfully. It is really a drop in the ocean. What we especially liked about Shishu Sarothi is how they are empowering these special children not only with everyday skills and vocational training but also looking out for them by pushing the government to strengthen laws protecting people with physical disabilities,” she adds.

We wanted to give the celebrations around the occasion of our marriage some real meaning

Paloma and Ved will continue trying to be socially conscious and compassionate individuals and not lead insular lives but be aware of the sufferings of those around us. They feel that you don’t need to approach an organisation to be of help to others. If you are sensitive you will find enough people in your immediate circles who can do with your help which need not always be financial. According to them, “A little compassion goes a long way.”

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