In this Valentine’s Day Special, we speak to self-employed equity trader, Mudumbai Vasanthrangan Shruthi, and her husband, Cunnathoor Krishna Shriram, a Senior Director, Human Resources, both aged 46, who have been volunteering at the Red Cross Home for the Disabled since November 2022.
1. How did you meet each other?
We were neighbours as teenagers, so you can say that we are childhood sweethearts.
2. How long have you been together?
We’ve been married for 22 years and have known each other for more than three decades.
3. Describe your partner in three words.
Shruthi: Intelligent, Protective and selfless.
Shriram: Smart, humourous, easy going
4. What motivated you to volunteer with the Red Cross Home for the Disabled?
Shruthi: It is fulfilling to go look beyond your daily routine and give back in small ways
Shriram: We are at a phase in life when we realise how fortunate we have been, and we would like to give back to society by volunteering to uplift the lives of the less privileged.
5. What are your roles and responsibilities as volunteers?
We shower the residents of the Red Cross Home for the Disabled with love and care by taking time to feed the residents while playing games with them.
6. What were the most rewarding experiences while volunteering together? What made it memorable?
Shruthi: Even though some of the residents of the Red Cross Home for the Disabled cannot communicate clearly, it is gratifying to see their cheerful and friendly smiles when we engage and establish rapport with them.
Shriram: It is great for us to share a common cause, and spend time together in a meaningful way, by caring for the residents.
7. Were there any challenges you faced while volunteering together? How did you overcome the challenges?
Shruthi: I was apprehensive initially, as it was my first time interacting with persons with disabilities. With time and experience, I have become more comfortable interacting with them.
Shriram: I didn't face any challenge. We were touched when we learnt about the Red Cross Home for the Disabled when we went for the Red Cross Orientation, and we wanted to contribute our time to this worthy cause.
8. What were the most rewarding experiences while volunteering together? What made it rewarding?
Shriram: We both look forward to meeting our friends at the Red Cross Home for the Disabled. I would be interacting with the residents at the male ward while Shruthi would be at the female ward. After the volunteering session, we would share our experiences. Sharing our volunteering experiences is insightful and interesting for both of us, and that motivates us to keep volunteering.
Shruthi: Besides sharing our experiences, we enjoy shopping for toys for the residents as we decide on the toy that works for each resident.
9. How do you feel about volunteering together? Do you hope to continue volunteering?
Shruthi: It is a good change from our everyday routines and gives us a new perspective on life. We want to be consistent and make this a sustainable journey for us in the long run.
Shriram: It feels natural and rewarding. We definitely look forward to doing more volunteering as a couple.
10. What would you like to say to inspire people to volunteer with the Singapore Red Cross?
Shruthi: Volunteering gives you a different perspective. Volunteering at the Red Cross Home for the Disabled can be flexible in terms of time and resources. Put your reservations aside as you kickstart a meaningful and fulfilling volunteering journey.
Shriram: The Singapore Red Cross is one of the most noble institutions dedicated to uplifting the lives of the vulnerable, be it in times of peace or war. The Singapore Red Cross has many volunteer groups, and it is not hard to find a cause that resonates with you.
Screencaps from NVPC – Toward's a City of Good's Valentine's Day video.