Listless patients in the children's ward of a city cancer hospital were in for an early Christmas surprise on Saturday, when they were showered with a total of 500 gifts, including toys, books and video games.
The gifts came from netizens who had signed for #MumbaiSecretSanta, an online version of the Christmas game where colleagues, classmates or friends pick names blindly from a pool and anonymously buy a gift for the person thus assigned to them.
The Twitter hashtag was started by businessman Dardhan Parekh, a Juhu resident, to encourage 'Net friends' to exchange gifts.
Six days ago, make-up artist Piyu Palkar from Vile Parle added a social-cause element, urging Parekh to set up five special drop boxes in the Juhu-Bandra area and use his Secret Santa programme to encourage Mumbaiites to drop anonymous gifts in them.
"The children were thrilled," said Dr S Banavalli, head of pediatric oncology at Tata Memorial Hospital.
"They are all under 10 and were very excited to get so many gifts from 'Santa Claus'."