The world is her oyster, and it can be changed, one heart at a time, she believes. On a breezy Thursday evening, revellers at the seaside promenade of Shivaji Park, Dadar, were in for a surprise.
Some were shocked, some elated and others observed with a curious eye, as 20-year-old Revati Kulkarni went strutting around the garden with a bunch of colourful balloons.
A third-year student of Arts at Ruia College in Matunga, Revati challenged herself to reach out to 100 strangers a single day. She handed out a balloon each to everyone and egged them on to write that one thing in life which they wanted to let go but were finding it difficult to or some unfulfilled wish that they wanted the universe to grant them.
"After they had etched their mind on the balloon, I asked them to release it in the open sky," Revati chirped.
From a distance, Saili Dandekar(21) and Sujit Lokara (22) seemed like another pair of lovebirds staring at the sea. Saili and Sujit were among the first people she approached for penning down a message to the universe.
"On inching closer to them, I realised that while Saili could not speak, Sujit could not hear. They were dumb and deaf by birth. I requested them crudely by the movement of my hands to write down a message," explained Revati.
"I miss rains," jointly scribbled Saili and Sujit on the smooth rubber surface of the soon to be air borne red balloon. "We really miss rains. The soaring temperatures are leaving us parched and wanting for monsoon," they explained in sign language through deft movements of their fingers.
Not very far from the loving couple, 19-year-old Mandar Kukankar was staring away into the horizon in solitude when Revati approached him. He took a yellow balloon in his hands and carefully wrote, Bad Past, on it. With a slight smile, he let go of the string and let the balloon go away.
"Though I have stayed in Mumbai all my life, I am visiting the Shivaji Park promenade for the first time, as also I witnessed such an activity of random kindness. I won't forget this day for my entire life. It's, in a way, a turning point for me when I realise that I am not the only one to let go of the bitterness and that it is okay to let it go," Mandar shared.
On another corner of the park in the amphitheater, a group of 11 boys in baggy pants and slanted caps were thumping away to hip hop music. Twenty-year-old Anand Chaudhary comes all the way from Virar to practise B-boying breakdance every day with his peers at Shivaji Park.
"I aim to be a part of a US-based B-Boying crew Renegades at one point in my life. I etched my goal on the balloon and let it go. One written word is equal to a 100 spoken ones. I will be inspired to work harder," said Anand after partaking in the activity.
Revati's random acts of kindness are inspired by an American writer Hannah Brencher who started a website www.moreloveletters.com to spread love through the written word amidst strangers.
Leaving anonymous letters addressed to strangers at public places like gardens and cafes is an activity that Hannah's work inspired Revati into doing, "Many people are sceptical about my activities and ask me as to why am I doing this? I do it for no special reason but that it simply makes me happy," Revati told dna.
Her challenge though is not limited to a day. She found it difficult to procure and handle so many balloons at a time. "Today, I met close to 50 people who were completely strange to me. I will continue doing such small random acts throughout my life. I do this because I want to let people know that humanity exists in the world and that I am a little part of it," she added with a smile.
Brencher's initiative asks people to write letters to strangers and leave them at a park bench, a library or any other place for that matter. You can even nominate someone, whom, you think, deserves to receive letters of kindness and love and the website will appeal to people to write letters to that person's address. The cracked parts of your own story and how you can use them to give life to someone else. It's about how each one of us can morph our lives into love letters…lamps…lanterns…to light the paths of others who needs kindness and love today, says Brencher in a note to people.
She created more loveletters after a year writing 400 love letters to strangers. The movement now has over 10,000 members across the globe.