Philanthropist, author and life coach Rushabh Turakhia talks to us about Your Turn Now, his life-changing idea of creating a web of good deeds – one blue card at a time.
In school we all were taught to be good to our fellow human beings -assist a senior citizen cross the road, feed an animal, nurse the wounded, help the needy and so on. This week I met somebody who has spent the past five years living these lessons and teaching us ways to be kind, again.
Rushabh Turakhia, a diamond merchant by profession, is engrossed in a regular workplace discussion about the price of diamonds. Observing him, one wouldn’t think he has an alter ego that is constantly awake and prodding him towards making the world a better place to live in – one good deed at a time.
As a conversation ensues, I am introduced to a life coach, an inspirational writer and now an author whose joie de vivre is clearly his pet project – Your Turn Now.
Grandson of renowned philanthropist Shri Balachand Turakhia, Rushabh had grown up seeing the respect that the mention of his grandfather evoked in people in his hometown. This conditioned his mind with a bent towards social good, and the world of spirituality in his college days.
However, it was the movie Pay It Forward starring Kevin Spacey, Helen Hunt and Haley Joel Osment released in 2000, that finally sowed the seeds of Your Turn Now in Rushabh’s mind.
“An average human brain receives 60,000 new thoughts in a day. And how may of those do we actually process? Thankfully, Your Turn Now was one of the freak ideas that I did act upon. And the turnaround for the idea into implementation was super-quick. Within three weeks, the idea had taken a physical shape as a card and I sent out my first lot in December 2009,” reminisces Rushabh about the beginnings of his journey.
What Is Your Turn Now?
Your Turn Now is a reform to kindle the kindness that lies within all of us. It not only makes people more thoughtful, compassionate, kind and generous but also makes us more aware of the world around. When any individual gets that little taste of kindness from you, you give them a Your Turn Now card that says now it’s their turn to touch someone’s heart or make them smile. And these random acts trigger a chain of kind acts.
When Rushabh started out, his modest aim was to reach an annual number of 5,000 cards. Which is why the 25,000 cards distributed within the first year had him astounded and re-affirmed his faith in his concept as also belief in the inherent goodness of human beings. “And today,” he proudly acknowledges, “about 1,90,000 cards are doing the rounds of the planet in over 38 countries.”
“Most people who have associated with me on this project have done so out of their belief in the concept. So the guy who designed the card and my website didn’t charge me a penny for it. The printer prints the cards at cost, relinquishing any profit. This has been their good deed – and the good has always come back to them in the form of success in what they do. The good karma from all the good deeds just follows all those who are associated with it.”
Your Turn Now: The Book
And, along the journey of the card, came the book Your Turn Now that has been doing phenomenally well across. Testimony to this is the acclaim it has bagged already – selected by CROSSWORD as “Best of 2013: Children’s Writing” and shortlisted by the alternative.in as one of the 50 Indian books every parent must read to their child.
“My target is to reach 7 billion people – the population of the world. And hence, the cards are printed in eight languages including English, Hindi, French, Spanish, German, Arabic, Mandarin and Russian. However, this is a personal initiative and I do not have any funding for this project yet. And couriering cards to various corners of the world is not a cheap proposition. This is how the idea of ‘Your Turn Now’ the book came about. All proceeds from the book are channeled towards the cause.”
Where To Now?
“Lots of new ideas are taking shape. One is a Your Turn Now piggy-bank which will prompt people to save money and use it to improve somebody else’s life – not within the family, but a random person.”
Like any journey of a social entrepreneur, Rushabh’s journey hasn’t been as smooth as his cheerful voice would have us believe. Keeping a full-time job while managing to squeeze in 4-5 hours every day towards YTN can’t be an easy task. “Especially, if I have to go out for sessions with schools or clubs, I try and do that early in the morning or then late in the evening. Thankfully, my wife and son have been extremely supportive in the journey of Your Turn Now.”
“My dream is a day when I no longer need to print Your Turn Now cards anymore, because that would mean doing good deeds has sunk back into the DNA of mankind,” he signs off.