MY STORY: On My 25th Birthday, I Gave Society a Return Gift to Remember!


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Sushrut Ahale wanted to do something special on his birthday, and to make the day a happy one for many people around him. This is what he did.

I am a student pursuing a master’s degree in Ophthalmology from the Institute of Ophthalmology – Joseph Eye Hospital, located in Tiruchirapalli, Tamil Nadu. And this year, on my 25th birthday, I decided to do something that would help me thank all my friends and relatives for their heart-warming wishes and blessings in a much better manner than just saying thank you. I wanted to make my birthday a happy day for one and all around me, and a simple ‘thank you’ did not seem sufficient.

So this is how I went about it.

My college falls under the administration of the Tamil Evangelical Lutheran Church. Now, the church is located inside a large campus which consists of staff quarters, a primary and secondary school, the college and a park called the Luther Park.

It’s a small park in the vicinity of our college – disdained and neglected, it once wore a very shabby, saddening, and haunted look. One could only spot wildly grown weeds and creepers, dead and dried bushes, and thorny shrubs there. The park was also used as a dumping ground for plastic waste, broken glass and garbage in general.

I used to notice that park every day. And this October, it struck me that it would be a great idea to rejuvenate the place and make it brighter, cleaner, and more accessible for people inside the campus. This, I wanted to do just as a gesture of returning back to the society. So I went ahead and requested the church officials to allow me to take up this project. And fortunately, I got their approval.

The authorities were more than happy to let me proceed. One staff member, Mr. Stephan, even arranged for a spade, sickle, plough and some brooms that were required for cleaning up the place.

Finally, on a hot Saturday evening, I started my work – that of cleaning up and planting saplings in the park. While I began all alone, some very encouraging incidents took place within a matter of few hours, and they motivated me to continue. About half an hour after I started, a 10-year-old boy came up to me and asked if he could help. I was pleased and gave him some simple things to do. He was then followed by a gardener who came about an hour later and joined us. In two hours’ time, we were a small group of 10-12 people working together – all strangers, but all motivated towards the same cause.

And lastly, with the help of that gardener, some energetic school boys, a few friends and a couple of locals who had joined me, we successfully removed more than a trolley-full of garbage from the park. This was accompanied by the plantation of 16 saplings. The task got competed on Oct. 19 – my birthday.

At the end of it, my small team sang the birthday song for me. It was a really amazing feeling. This small deed made me realise that money isn’t always the best award we can get in return for doing something good. It’s goodwill and kindness that give one the satisfaction after a hard day’s work.

Here is a look at our work:

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– Sushrut Ahale

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