40th Birthday = 40 Acts of Kindness… ‘Your Turn Now’ to Celebrate

No it’s not my birthday… It’s the birthday of Rushabh Turakhia, whose work is deeply inspirational…

Rushabh, founder of the movement Your Turn Now, decided to carry out 40 acts of kindness from 1st January up to his birthday on 8th March. So, he approached 40 of his friends and family, and asked them if they would help him in his mission.

I was among the lucky few who also got a Whatsapp message. Initially I was hesitant because he mentioned he wanted to record the act. I was of the view that acts of kindness should not be spoken about.

But Rushabh explained his rationale to me. He said, ‘Only if we record these acts, will others get inspired to do the same.’ So I quickly agreed, and we brainstormed what we could do.

I had travelled by the local train a few times, and I used to always feel commuters were very stressed and lonely. Thus the first people who came to my mind were commuters…I wanted to cheer them up, put a smile on their faces.

Together both of us stood at Churchgate station, on a busy Friday morning, and handed out chocolates to those waiting in queues for share-a-cabs or buses.

As we handed out the chocolates, we realised how people are so unprepared for random acts of kindness…looking at those who do them with suspicion.

Some office goers flatly refused the chocolate… One guy made the excuse he was on diet… Another woman said, ‘Give it to someone more needy.’ To which we replied: You can pass it on to someone else, but at least take it.’

Women were generally more accepting… One told her friend on the phone: ‘Someone here is giving chocolates for his birthday.’ While another said in Hindi, ‘We wish your birthday was every day.’

The men were more rushed; some even distractedly accepted it and moved on. Many, though, graciously shook Rushabh’s hand, and wished him before they boarded their bus or taxi.

While performing this random act of kindness, I realised giving is awkward for both sides — the giver and the receiver.

Initially both have inhibitions… In the beginning, those performing acts of kindness feel odd, as they don’t know how they will be received, and that hesitation probably gets conveyed. It’s only after giving several times over, do you ease into it, get used to the act, and understand the satisfaction you get from it.

When people receive something unexpected, their eyes light up, they smile warmly at you… and for a moment you form a bond with the person. Being connected to those around you is probably one of the most heartwarming experiences of life.

And that’s why it’s so important to be kind and giving on a regular basis. You may get rebuffed occasionally, but only when you keep doing it, will you make the world a kinder place… One that is more trusting, accepting and giving.

Rushabh inspired me that day, and I decided to inspire you.

While the rest of the people his age would throw lavish parties or take exotic holidays, Rushabh chose instead to be true to his cause. He made it his aim to complete 40 acts of kindness. And he has.

What started out as a movement a few years ago, has today become a way of life for him. When Rushabh founded Your Turn Now, he was inspired by the movie Pay it Forward. It became his life mission to make this world a kinder and richer place.

His movement was a simple one… He designed small blue cards, with the words ‘Your Turn Now’ printed on them. All he did was encouraged people to carry a few of those cards in their pocket, and think of opportunities to use them by performing random acts of kindness.

And, when they get thanked for it, they should simply handover the card, and ask the other person to do a kind deed in return, but this time for another person. This way the chain continues, and everyone is touched in some way or the other.

Rushabh hopes these cards will travel the whole world, and touch seven billion plus people… As of date, Your Turn Now cards have reached 42 countries.

In the last few years, Rushabh has authored three books chronicling the experiences of people who have performed random acts of kindness. His books by the same name, Your Turn Now, have been on the top of several bestseller lists in the children’s books’ category.

Rushabh also actively talks at forums, schools, companies and other institutions, spreading the word on kindness, every chance he gets.

At the age of 40, he has already touched the lives of many, directly or indirectly… Indeed a life well-lived. I take this opportunity to wish him a fabulous 40th birthday, and many more years of spreading kindness and warmth around the world.

If you want to help him celebrate too, just perform one act of kindness today…it’s a great way to start!
  • All pictures are the property of Rushabh Turakhia. Reproduction of the same is strictly prohibited.
Kindness is a form of expression, it’s your heart and mind telling you to reach out and do more…
What creative acts have you conducted to connect more compassionately with humanity? And if not, what’s holding you back?
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