Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Of Tsunamis et al

I am one of those people who believe strongly that an individual can never be bigger than an organisation. The power of collective effort always supercedes individual brilliance. I also believe that not all people truly appreciate the value of synergy. No, I am not trying to throw together a few catchwords in order to sound impressive. This is something I have really experienced.
The reason all this is coming back to me is be cause of the recent disaster that has struck South-East Asia. The quake and the tsunami have wrecked havoc that has hitherto been unseen by anyone. I still remember the Bhuj quake and the impact it had in our lives. However these 2 tragedies had very different effects on my life.
In 2001, I was preparing for my 12th standard exams, as well as for IITJEE, in Calcutta, which was the other end of the country. Despite my other commitments and otherwise busy schedule, I still found that talking, thinking and doing something about the quake victims did occupy a significant position in my life.
Now nearly four years later, I am in Chennai, close to the scene of action. I am on vacation with seriously nothing to do. Yet despite countless phone calls to NGOs I still haven’t found anything I could contribute except for cash! Not that I wouldn’t give that, just that I would like to give more.
When I was in school, I was part of this much-abused organisation called Interact- the student wing of Rotary International. In the 4 years I was associated with it, I participated in various projects- from visiting cancer victims, orphanages, old-age homes, raising funds through innovative schemes, organizing health camps… it was all very enriching. True most people used Interact to socialize, make money and conduct fests, but then there was a wonderful avenue for students to contribute to society and understand their duties towards those less privileged. I understand that this social responsibility is being overlooked nowadays – but I don’t want to get into that.
Let me quit digressing and get to the point. Last night I was thinking of all the projects that could have been undertaken in order to help the tsunami victims if only my Interact club was here in Chennai. For starters we could go on a mammoth collection drive for clothes, medicines etc. (we once collected nearly 500 kgs of newspaper in 2 hrs). That is the most rudimentary thing though. The forte of Interact lies in raising money through fun. Since its New Year, we could book a pub/nightclub, sell passes, and donate the proceeds. Movie shows with tickets at a premium are another easy way of raising money. We could also sell merchandise with messages – form t-shirts to coffee mugs for the purpose.
The most important aspect is that the people who are giving should not feel that they are giving too much and that people who are involved in collecting should never feel like they are begging for alms.
But any sort of relief effort must be hands on. So it’s important that there are enough people around to help rebuild the houses that have been destroyed and help the displaced to re-establish roots.
Any support that is purely material is, I believe completely immaterial. I know this from experiences of this little orphanage that our Interact club had a tie-up with. We didn’t offer them much in terms of financial support, but we did go to spend time with them on weekends. To sing and dance with them, play games… and that I know meant far more than clothes and food- that could come from anywhere.
Even today I know that what I really want to be able to do is to go spend time with those who have lost their loved ones and share their grief. I want to help them to recover from this tragedy that has hurt them by experiencing it first hand. And that should not be a one-off effort. It needs to be a sustained process, where there will be someone who can see them each week and monitor their condition- for believe me, these wounds will not heal soon.
It is impossible for someone like me – and I have no qualms in admitting this – to dedicate themselves 24/7 to this task. The only way to maintain some sort of continuity in our efforts is by making it an organizational effort. That way people shall have the reassurance that X group of people can be counted upon.
I know there is nothing new in what I am writing. But the reason I am writing it is because I feel lonely and incapable of doing something to gain the trust of those stricken by this disaster. Because I cannot as an individual assure them that my undying dedication to their cause shall take priority over everything else in my life.
I know my limitations, but I know my abilities as well. So all I am hoping for is an opportunity to do my best.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

long time no blog....

i know i havent posted anything in like a century.. but thats coz o technical problems more than anything else..

this is just to confirm that this blog is still alive.. shall surely add blogging everyday to my now evergrowing list of new year resolutions!!!

for a teaser - here are the top 5:

1. no sugar in my tea/coffee - a very learned prof told me that this is the best way to ensure i have no problems with my blodd sugar level when i approach 50. that and the fact that my family has a long drawn history of diabetes...

2. i shall learn to enjoy draught beer - simply coz i am in blre for the next 6 months and will surely end up pubbing a lot.. its the cheapest thng on the menu u see!!

3. gonna learn to drive - will need that at gurgaon

4. master the art of microwave cooking.. my mom's got me a new one - and i plan to seriously use it for purposes other than heating food and making pop corn..

5. walk around blre- i seriously believe thats the best way to enjoy the city but haven't found anyone to give me company yet.

6. save money - very very difficult proposition - but am gonna do it

thats a bak grounder - whole list to follow

Sunday, October 03, 2004

Here she goes ... Again...

better late than never...

this post was to be up 2 days back but as soon as i pressed the publish post button - the dreaded dns error popped up and there was no way i could go back to the previous page. 45 mins of deep thought vanished in a puff of carelessness...

hence this once bitten naivette at blogging is following the safe path and getting this on notepad first..

what was previously entitled "friends, cyberpals and dispaced indians" follows hereby (in a severely edited and revised form):

somehow the whole day (on friday) was spent either on the phone or the net talking to 3 people who would qualify as being my "best" friends- a concept i do not usually subscribe too, simply coz who ur best friend is, is a function of time and circumstance. yet these individuals have at various points of time held that position, though i must mention that there have been others too.

quit digressing, my mind tells me- so i'll get back to the point. as i was finally going off to sleep i wondered what life would have been like had the marvels of communication not helped us keep in toouch with loved ones who were geographically distanced. would we then have taken
the easy way out and found substitute company nearby (refer to last post??)- coz seriously i do not see myself being very good at sincere snail mailing!! and frankly replies after a week wouldnt have the same effect...

that too given the fact that 2 of the 3 aforementioned individuals live abroad for most part of the year and the third will hopefully (praying hard for him) soon join them. at this point my train of thought quickly ran across the people i know who no longer live in this country of ours and i suddenly found that they formed a pretty sizeable proportion of my acquaintances. infact a lot more of them are still trying for admits into some US university - a ticket to a better world of some sort, maybe...

i had given up plans of ever settling abroad long back coz i was really scared of coming back with an acquired accent or worst still an allergy towards the air in my country.however now that i am older i have realised that most people living abroad who are good friends of mine dont have funny accents and do not start drinking mineral water as soon as they set foot here (except in chennai, where everyone drinks bisleri!!!)- perhaps, thats why they are my friends - but let that be...

somehow recently i have started thinking about going abroad to study - if for nothing else then to be closer to friends and be a part of a world where i think i probably would fit in better. yet i am not convinced that joining the "westward ho!" herd is the best solution.

anyways there is time before that - because i have put in enough precautions in place to make sure i do not get carried away and book myself on the next flight overseas. for starters my good sense (or procrastination, if i were to be more honest) has prevented me from acquiring a passport - and since i am told it takes atleast 3-4 months at the least to get one, any endeavour
of moving abroad would give me atleast that much time (and possibly more) to reconsider. and hopefully in that intervening period i will make up my mind one way or the other through some twist of fate.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
as of now just back from yet another weekend "in our nation's capital" ( i love using that phrase - and say it in forrest gump style - "jenny, it was nice seeing you agian, in our nation's capital"- remember!!)...
have lotsa stuff to finish in the next week - so will get around to doing that now..
cheerios! gentlemen

Thursday, September 30, 2004

i conform therefore....

I guess I should thank lady luck for all the friends I have all over the world- who adore me for my idiosyncrasies and put up with my impossible demeanour. Also I must put forth my greatest condolences to all those who have told me over the years that if I do not conform to some sort of herd mentality then I will find myself all alone.
I have been genuinely blessed to have friends who are spread all over the world and who don't know each other, but still love me just the same. And with each of these people i share a far deeper bond than any sorority could ever offer.
The reason for bringing this up is simple. One of my dearest pals Aayush who is in the merchant navy is back on shore - and though he is in pune - far far away from this desert, and though I may not get to see him before he sets sail again... it is a homecoming nonetheless.
Our friendship is stuff that legends are made off. At last count i had met him on less than 30 days put together in a period of 8 years!!! And for various stretches of time in between we had totally lost touch with each other. Infact the last i spoke to him was May, when he left for his last sail and then I get a mail today saying - "Hi, I am in Pune - so call me!!!!"
Aayush also happens to be by far the most sensitive guy i know - simply coz he's been brought up by his Mom and Aunt with not too much male interference in his upbringing. So if you are looking for a guy to go shopping with - he's the one. He will not only encourage you to try out the next store as well but actually give you genuinely good remarks on whether a particular neck cut suits you more than the other.
That apart he sends out the most lovely cards and gifts and also makes pretty decent cake!!!!
Almost all his friends are women - though this teetotaller sailor(oxymoron that!) claims no romantic involvements...
Why have I dedicated this post to him? Because he is a sweetheart and deserves this and far more!!!

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Reloaded!

lost the password to my originalblogspot - not a heavy loss, coz i had just managed one post on it since its inception quite a few months back...

had to make this new one - loadsa reasons- peer pressure being the foremost - and the fact that i need to make some constructive use of the internet in my room!!!

more later..

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

thinking....

why do we think?

because we have intellect

why do we have intellect?

coz god gave us brains

why did god give us brains?

to differentiate us from other animals

does different mean better?

not necessarily...

is necessity an absolute?

not always...

does always mean forever?

not necessarily...

(and thus we enter what is otherwise known as an infinite loop ......)

pondering about the meaningless vagaries of existence is like i say - just another means of timepass...

like discussing cricket, football, physics, politics, literature... : thats from a play we just did

anyways...

here's something to think abt - for those of u who don't have anything better to do...

" a couple of nights back i took a walk in my wing and found that in 10 of the 12 rooms i crossed people were either chatting on the net or talking on their phones....

why has long distance communication become so indispensable to us?

is it because the friends we really want to talk to are not in immediate physical surroundings?
or is it because distance somehow makes people seem nicer - as in they say the right things, make seemingly valid excuses when the ditch you and can very easily put on a demeanour that will suit your mood at that time?