A little magic: Free Hugs

Religions dissolved, apprehensions inhibited, hearts bridged and love overflowed when a group of volunteers in Baroda spent a Saturday morning spreading love and smiles. Why? Just to reach out to strangers and make everyone feel loved!

Right from the health conscious doctor on his morning jog, a beautiful 60+ cancer survivor to the laborers; everyone was given a BIG dose of love which left them smiling and over whelmed! The initial apprehension was natural and expected. We were questioned about our intentions and affiliation with any organisations if any and why we were doing this. And slowly the magic began. When people got to know that it was a group of volunteers who wanted to spread some love and smiles – support and appreciation poured in. Two youngsters on their regular jog joined in to spread some love.

Selfless love is the purest form of expression and when it’s in way of a heartfelt hug – it is sure to touch something inside! I remember a woman absolutely overwhelmed by the hug (turns out it was her birthday that morning) and then being treated to a group hug, could it get any more amazing?

Oh yes it can! What followed was an abundant overflowing of love – nani- nanas’, a group of doctors, a cancer survivor, few laborers, the sweepers, kids, teenagers , an expectant mother, watchman – everyone got lots and lots of love! Imagine someone walking towards you with open arms and a huge smile on his/ her face – wouldn’t it be a great start to your day?

We didn’t do anything new. Free Hugs campaign started in 2004 when Juan Mann started giving out free hugs in his local shopping mall. Mann had reached a point of personal crisis in his own life: his parents had divorced and his fiancée had broken off their engagement. He realized that people were living increasingly disconnected lives. The need for human contact had been neglected. Where previously small-scale local communities had been integral to individual well-being, now people were pursuing far-flung separate lives in different corners of the globe.
Mann hand-wrote a sign advertising Free Hugs and went to the Pitt Street Mall in central Sydney, where he stood for 15 long, lonely minutes before an elderly woman took pity on him. Her dog had just died, she confessed, and the hug had made her feel better. Soon Juan Mann was handing out hugs every few seconds. As the days passed, more volunteers with their own handwritten signs came and stood along side him. And the rest is history. 🙂

Everyone is fighting a battle. Everyone has a different story of struggle and overcoming and it is in times like these when a heartfelt hug wields its magic! A hug which says “you matter and you are loved”. Hugs are universal medicine and the best part about a hug is you can’t give one without getting one!

Hug a stranger today- You never know you might have just touched a life! Gift yourself that happiness of giving from your heart – a smile, a hug and feel the ripples.

free hugs, vadodara, aparna iyer, spreading love, reach out to strangers, moved by loveAnd to you who is reading this –

A big virtual hug to you! You are loved! 🙂


This reflection was first shared on Moved by Love. Check out more pictures of the event at http://www.flickr.com/photos/17347460@N00/sets/72157634267852816/

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