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Band, Baaja, Donation: 2 Mumbai Couples Used Their Weddings as a Platform to Raise Funds for NGOs

While most weddings may be all about the decorations and the food, these two couples begged to differ.

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Bhavin Bhatt is a 28-year old senior consultant at an MNC who graced the pages of newspapers early this year, when he helped a paralyzed stray dog drenched in the Mumbai rains on Manchubhai Road and helped it walk again. As a testament to his dedication to the cause, his wedding card had a friendly disclaimer:

“We seek only your blessings for us. Else gift us only in cash payable at the NGO desk (set up at venue)”

Bhavin married his fiancé Jahnavi last month.

While most weddings maybe all about the food and flower decorations, Bhavin asked Mumbai Animal Association (MAA) to set up a desk, where people could share the couple’s joy donating to the cause of stray dogs.

Bhavin Bhatt
Bhavin with Manchu, named after the place he was discovered / Facebook

In the same city of dreams you can find Bilal Babji, who not only shares Bhavin’s year of birth, but also the desire to make his wedding into a meaningful experience for the attendees. However, unlike Bhavin’s wedding cards, Bilal had invite forms which had information about the NGO Datri that deals with blood stem cell donation.

Bilal’s NGO desk at his wedding asked people not to donate money, but blood stem cells to help patients diagnosed with blood cancer, Thalassemia, Aplastic Anemia and other life-threatening diseases. He encouraged the attendees to register themselves as blood stem cell donors. Bilal himself has been a blood donor since 2010.

Speaking to DNA, Bilal said: “I follow certain Twitter handles to see who needs blood in Mumbai and the Navi Mumbai region. From other volunteers I learnt about blood stem cell donation and decided to make it a part of my wedding.”

He added that his fiancé too appreciated the idea and agreed to make it a part of their wedding. It is not yet clear whether Datri’s donor base was increased by Bilal’s thoughtful gesture.

At Bhavin’s wedding, guests seemed to be more than eager to part with their money for the welfare of stray dogs. An elated Bhavin said, “My entire family appreciated the gesture and decided that even they would contribute. Some guests even told me that since it was a special gift they did not mind putting in more money as it was for a good cause.”

Hopefully, we will get to see more of such conscientious gestures at weddings, as young India seems to increasingly respond to the problems the nation faces. And that’s a step in the right direction for now!

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Written by Amulya B

Always caught between multiple worlds of her own creation, Amulya believes in the transformative power of literary & performative arts. If not caught worrying over what her next read is going to be, she can be found amid Bengaluru Traffic shouting at fellow commuters.