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Pay Back, Fast Forward


It’s an accepted notion that one good turn deserves another. But what if the good turn is done to another purely out of goodwill, and not out of gratitude? That slight alteration of attitude holds the power to change the world.

We saw a glimpse of such a possibility in the film Pay it Forward (year 2000) starring Kevin Spacey, Helen Hunt and Haley Joel Osment – who plays 12-year-old Trevor McKinney, a precious boy who believed in the goodness of human nature and was determined to change the world for the better.

As a sociology project, he hits upon the plan to “pay it forward” by doing a good deed for three people – who must in turn each do good deeds for three other people, creating a charitable pyramid scheme.

In terms of contract law, it would mean that the third party beneficiary is a stranger to the creditor. In other words, the creditor offers the debtor the option of “paying” the debt forward by lending it to a third person instead of paying it back to the original creditor.

Such debts and payments could be monetary or purely good deeds. If each of us were to engage in such “generalised reciprocity”, as it is referred to by sociologists, our country would be well on its way to progress.

Fortunately, a few talented and successful Indian architects and interior designers are already giving back to society by assisting people and organisations who are in dire need of their services but cannot afford the going rate.

Taking off from a reference made by architect Conrad Gonsalves to such pro bono work at one of Architect & Interiors India’s recent events, we unearthed some of them.

Maybe the work of initiatives such as Design & People and Design without Borders will spark off interest in this non-profitable yet completely rewarding exercise.

Let’s all, in our own small ways, pay back – so that we can fast forward to a brighter future.

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June 2020
10 Jun 2020