24 Jul Volunteer Den: Kruthika Sambasivan
Hey, guys! I’m Shruthi, a 22 year old doing her Master’s in Business. Let me tell you a kutty (small) story about me.
People who know me right now say Sruthi is a girl who is confident enough to do what she likes and go after opportunities when they pop up; she is a cheerful person with a lot of friends, someone who likes to smile a lot and is one of those who are always happy. This wasn’t the case a couple of years ago, however.
I used to be this stout kid at school—insecure from my head to the tip of my toes. I never had confidence in myself or any of my skills. I was a loner, and some might even say stupid because I didn’t know how to differentiate between friendly favours and being used.
For a lot of people school days contain those memories that they never want to let go of, those days are still treasured in people’s hearts. But as you might have already been able to tell, that wasn’t the case with me. Remembering those days makes a chill run down my spine to this day. I was so clueless that I went into depression and didn’t even know. I expressed all my feelings by writing them down—something I still do.
When school ended, I decided that I would not become a person who gets picked on. I wouldn’t be someone who’s bullied and can’t stand up for herself. I wouldn’t be a loner anymore. My first step towards these goals was putting on a cheerful façade, approach someone and talk to them. I was terrified. But it didn’t take long for that façade to turn into something real. How did I make such a 180 degree turn of my personality, you ask?
Well, when I was in my first year of college my best friend came to me and said she registered to become a volunteer in an NGO called Bhumi. And since I’ve always been interested in doing whatever’s possible for the society, I did my own research on Bhumi. Intrigued and excited to volunteer for a good cause, I signed myself up for the first orientation.
After I was oriented with the workings of the organization, my first volunteering experience came in the form of Nakshatra in 2016. Being with kids, interacting with them and seeing them perform were some of the highlights of my experience with Nakshatra. After Nakshatra was over, I got another volunteering opportunity at Eco-champs – Season 1. I got to learn more about waste management and our environment. I went to schools to teach kids about waste management, and how to fire up a friend when they are about to address a crowd. Their inquisitive nature and the many interactions we had made me confident in my ability to talk and joke with them.
One day, I got an opportunity to meet my grandfather’s cousin and his wife who live in an old age home. Their son lives abroad and they have no one who can come visit them. I crumbled a little inside when they admitted this themselves. I had lived with my grandparents for my whole life and never knew about the existence of old age homes till I met the prior mentioned elderly couple.
Them saying that they had no one just stuck on my mind more because even I was like that at one point of time. Even if I had my family with me, I was lonely. I really wanted to do something for them, to the point where I asked my parents if we could bring them home with us.
A couple of days later, my best friend rang me up and told me that she had a similar experience when she went to an old age home. It dawned on me then that there were quite a lot of grandparents sitting in old age homes, yearning for some love and care. It isn’t possible for me to bring all of them to my home but I really wanted to do something for them. That’s when I got an opportunity to discuss this with Ranjith who helped me to start my own project “Care for Souls” in the year August 2019.
Whenever I visited the old age home, the hearty welcome from the wrinkled faces made my heart swoon. What’s more that I was not the only one who felt this way, the volunteers were in the same condition as me. And before my eyes, a lonely girl became this social butterfly who made friends with the humblest people in the old age homes.
When the project “Care for Elders” was on its way, Ranjith came to me again and told me about this school Vidyasagar. The school had talented and lovely students for whom Ranjith wanted to start activites for. I replied yes instantly. That’s “Care For Elders” became “Care For Souls”.
I can’t even begin to describe what I got to learn and experience from all the elderly and special needs people. Holding remarkable strength inside them, they only asked for love in return for the love that they gave to everyone. The amazing volunteers I carried out the activities with were just as special and will forever be close to my heart.
It’s always fun for me to tease people when they confused on which name to call me by—Kruthika (my real name) or Shruthi. Nonetheless, I introduce myself as Sruthi, a name only close ones call me by.
And, this was my kutty story. Not really interesting, I know, but I just wanted to impart the message that everyone in this world deserves to be loved and cared for. No one is perfect, and you should learn to embrace yourself and accept all your flaws—because if you don’t love yourself, who will? Don’t let anyone put you down. You are stronger than you believe so always be happy, and be positive.