Ritu Kapoor on giving: “Do it for the cause, not the applause”

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Ritu Kapoor on giving: “Do it for the cause, not the applause”
Ritu Kapoor comes from a background rife with challenges yet she is rooted in humility and a passion to practice gratitude in everything she does. This was her motivation for creating the ground-up organisation, GoodKarma, which is designed to serve the community.
Ritu Kapoor on giving: “Do it for the cause, not the applause”
Credits: Photo courtesy of: GoodKarma
Talking with Ritu, it is clear that giving is an instinctive and integral part of her life. I saw this first hand when we were talking in Toast Box (she’s a big fan, by the way). It was rather crowded and something happened that disturbed all the patrons, as they suddenly became visibly irritated by a loud beeping sound coming from a Silver who was trying to leave and had to manoeuvre her PMD through the tables and stools.
Everyone stopped talking and just stared — everyone except Ritu. She immediately got up, calmly walked over to where the Silver was and, without saying a word, began clearing stools to make a path for the woman to exit. Two things about this were very interesting: First, the woman in the PMD did not react or even acknowledge Ritu’s help, much less thank her. And, second, upon returning to our table, Ritu nonchalantly continued talking where she had left off, mentioning nothing about what had just happened or how she felt about the lack of gratitude shown by the Silver.
I found this very revealing. We often hear people “talk the talk” about doing good, but it is usually done through conscious and well-considered activities and, typically, because of the desire to be “seen” to be doing so. It is rare to see someone who so spontaneously and instinctively actually “walk the talk” without looking for recognition or accolades. In this case, Ritu had obviously not expected anything in return, including acknowledgement of her “goodness” from me. What I saw was true, unadulterated giving, and I felt good witnessing it.
This was driven home to me later when I saw a comment from someone on Facebook complaining that he loves helping people but finds it infuriating when people don’t acknowledge his good deeds or express their appreciation. This is a person whom I like and respect, but, unlike in the case of Ritu’s giving, his comment did not make me feel good.
We never know what effect our giving will have on people. Some are too shy or lack the confidence to acknowledge the help they receive. Yet it may be very appreciated and sometimes even change the recipient’s life. Whether help is acknowledged or not is irrelevant, as far as Ritu is concerned. It’s clear that Ritu’s passion is intrinsic. Not only does she want to help others, she also wants to help others help others, creating a ripple effect in the larger community.
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Here are some interesting comments I gathered from Ritu:
Ritu Kapoor on giving: “Do it for the cause, not the applause”
Credits: Photo courtesy of: GoodKarma
Volunteering: Many people want to help others, but are unsure what form of help is right for them. She advises people not to overthink. Try it. If it doesn’t work, try something else. When asked about volunteering and how organisations can retain volunteers, Ritu says communication and relationship-building are key to empowering and enabling others. That’s why she personally “onboards” every newcomer and implements a buddy system, pairing them with experienced members to build a diverse pool of volunteers. Be sincere.
Non-verbal communication: Ritu observes that there are often language barriers with many beneficiaries in her projects. Still, meaningful two-way communication of care and gratitude is possible through sincere actions and respectful body language. In fact, such non-verbal communication can sometimes be more genuine and heartfelt than verbal communication. Be authentic.
Virtual volunteering: Ritu says that although “virtual” has its place, especially when safety is at risk, there is no substitute for personal interaction especially for Silvers, both for Silvers who volunteer and for those in need. Be Present.
The environment: Ritu is big on the environment, not because it’s fashionable, but simply because it’s the right thing to do. She believes that reusing and recycling are good second options, but her first mantra is “REFUSE”. She says, “practice intentionality in making choices” and that only small changes are needed in our daily lives, but get started as our future depends on it. Stop being part of the problem.
Her passion for the environment was clear throughout our conversation. She incorporates green practices in her projects and finds creative ways to reduce wastage. For example, she collaborates with a Silver egg-seller in a wet market to reform cardboard egg trays into simple egg carriers to distribute the eggs in her food distribution programme for the disadvantaged.
Ritu Kapoor on giving: “Do it for the cause, not the applause”
Credits: Photo courtesy of: GoodKarma
Christmas: When asked about Christmas giving, surprisingly, or perhaps unsurprisingly, Ritu commented that giving need not wait for Christmas; it should be practiced all year around.
PR for volunteer organisations: Until now, Ritu has put very little effort into creating publicity for GoodKarma. Clearly, that is not in her DNA. But she recognises that in order to help more people, there is a need to build greater awareness for GoodKarma, for which an increased online presence may be required in the future. She would like to reach out to more Silvers interested in volunteering.
And finally, notwithstanding all of the above, Ritu shared some interesting additional information: According to the inspirational speaker, Simon Sinek, whether we realise it or not, there is actually some payback for giving. When we perform acts of genuine kindness and generosity, without any expectation of something in return, we get a surge of a hormone called oxytocin (what Ritu calls her “vitamin O” or “the happy hormone”). Oxytocin makes us feel good and connected to other people. There are many ways to get oxytocin – not only do we get a surge of it when we perform acts of kindness, we also get it when we receive and even observe acts of kindness. Now I know why watching Ritu in action at Toast Box felt so good!
For those of you who are interested to volunteer, check out www.facebook.com/goodkarmawise / or email your information to goodkarmawise@gmail.com.
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