By: Shabana Ansari
Has it ever happen to you that a few words said to you by a stranger changed your life? I have experienced some unexpected and surprising help from strangers which has changed me as a person.
There have also been times where a bus conductor or a school teacher sitting next to me have given me some beautiful insights to life. It felt like a magical force showing me a way to walk ahead in life. Imagine how wonderful it would feel to get some inspiration from someone who doesn’t even know you but knows your story?
The Earthling Project is an idea initiated by two friends Sonia Parekh (Residing in Dubai) and Chandni Sawlani. When asked by The Times of India about this inspirational project, where she said, “We had a love letter-writing party, where people were invited to write letters of love and kindness to people going through a tough time. The response was phenomenal and it brought us all together for a larger purpose. We realised the power of handwritten letters and decided to keep it going; to remind people to smile and believe in the existence of love and kindness in the world.”
I first heard about this event through Facebook. The idea and concept of this event instantly received my attention. After reading everything about it, I decided that this is not an event I would like to miss. Unfortunately, due to some reason, I couldn’t make it to the event but was determined about covering this story as I felt that the world needs inspiration in every form.
Ever since its launch three years ago, The Earthling letter-writing project has reached 14 cities all over the world, including Mumbai, Delhi, Pune, Chennai, Goa, Kochi, Trivandrum, Jaipur and Rajkot in India.
This year, the project was held in Mumbai on July 22nd at Candies, Bandra. The Mumbai Project Volunteers Grafleen D’Souza and Shreya Shah had made a Facebook event. They also shared the event on other social media platforms and it soon received the exposure it deserved. People who want to help themselves or their family and friends have to fill an online form and request a letter where they have to mention the hardships of their life and other required details.
Few weeks before the event, the date and venue of the event were shared with the crowd of Mumbai on their Facebook page. An overwhelming number of volunteers turned up for the event. All the interested localities of the city gathered in the given venue and wrote uplifting words for the strangers. Volunteers provided them with the necessary stationery and guide them to write the letter. The letters were then wrapped up in a cute envelope and sent to the requested strangers anonymously to make their day, or maybe their life.
It sure would be an unforgettable memory for the receivers of the letters who were surprised by not one, but many letters from strangers around the world. But it was no less for the volunteers who volunteered to write letters to them. They somehow related to the problems of these strangers and in the process of giving hope to them, they filled the missing parts of the puzzles of their life. They spoke about things which affected them such as depression, heart breaks, and college life issues. To have their life stories shared and heard gave them strength too. Opening up to someone living far away whom they will never know or meet in life helped them live better too. Words do have power, and letters do inspire.
Written by: Shabana Ansari, 1st Year Student at MA in Media & Communication, Department of Extension Education, SNDT Women’s University.