How often do we see a wedding where the groom, in wedding attire, donates blood first and then got married? It was an unusual Pune wedding scene, where both groom and the bride decided to arrange a blood donation camp on the day of their wedding where around 60 invitees and relatives who had come to attend the wedding donated their blood.
The marriage of Anuraj and Aarti was arranged on May 21 and the blood donation camp was arranged from 5pm to 7pm. No one, apart from the family members, had any idea about the blood donation camp. Attendants, at the wedding, too were surprised to see blood donation camp in the wedding hall. The blood donation, which started with the bride’s father donating his blood, inspired as many as 60 others who had come for the wedding to donate their blood.
Anuraj Sonawane, a groom who works in an animation company, said, “It is the 25th time that I am donating my blood. I have always known the importance of blood donation and also about the lives which could not be saved due of lack of availability of blood.”
He further added, “Apart from arranging the traditional wedding, I wanted to set some new trend by arranging blood donation camp in my wedding. At every Indian wedding, on an average, the attendance of around 500 people is registered. Indian wedding is the best opportunity to exploit if one wants to arrange blood donation camp. Loitering people in the wedding can get easily motivated and in two hours’ time and at least 50 bottles of blood can be collected.”
There was no resistance from both the sides when Anuraj came up with this idea. While Anuraj has regularly been donating blood, Aarti, on the other side, do not have any experience of blood donation. Aarti Shete, the bride who is studying last year LLB in a Pune college, said, “I have not donated blood in my life. But during our premarital interactions, I had seen how concerned Anuraj is when it comes to blood donation. When he shared this idea with me, I accepted it that instant. I feel proud about what we did today and I expect that I would see many more such weddings in future.”
Blood donation occurs when a person voluntarily has a blood drawn and used for transfusion. In India, where established supplies are limited, donors usually give blood when family or friends are in need of a transfusion.
Kalyan Shete, Aarti’s father who is small-scale industrialist said, “My daughter said you will be doing ‘Kanyadan’ (giving girl in marriage), why don’t you also do ‘Raktdan’ (blood donation). Today, I did it for the first time and along with me, my brother, my son, my in-laws and many other distant relatives have voluntarily come ahead for this noble cause. Baring one or two, everyone from my side was doing it for the first time. No other gift and blessings can be compared with what people have blessed my daughter today by donating their blood.”
Dr Utkarsh Maheshwari, who teaches Chemical Engineering in DY Patil College of Engineering, Aakurdi and who also donated his blood, said, “People should arrange such blood donation camps in their wedding. It’s a chain reaction, one gets inspired by the other and many who have not done it in their life come forward to donate blood. One has to remember that blood cannot be manufactured, only if somebody donates it that it becomes available.”
Ketan Lokhande, Aarti’s neighbor, who has never donated blood, shared, “This is the first time that I am donating the blood and I had never realized that it could be so easy. I am planning to donate blood regularly from now on.”
Anuraj is associated with ‘Raktache Nate’ Charitable trust in Pune. He took help of the trust in arranging the camp at his wedding. Ram Bangad, one of the trustees of the trust which organizes blood donation camps in the city, said, “During summer, there is scarcity of blood in blood banks. While many people plan their operations during summer, not many blood donation camps are arranged during this season. This is a very positive initiative and it should become trend now.”