Archive for March 9th, 2011

A very good friend from work is a bit peeved with me. She thinks I shouldn’t do something that I’m doing currently. A matter of self-respect and all.

I don’t mind her 🙂 .  Maybe what she feels could be true to a certain extent. Lets see your opinion at the end of this post.

The situation is this – The company I work for (and NOT the client-side) is holding a clothes collection drive in celebration of the Women’s day/week. I had spread the word among my friends at the client side about the collection drive. I asked them if they had any old clothes to donate and if yes, they could hand it over to me so that I could hand it over to the NGO my company is supporting (Goonj ). Now, I’m not new to Goonj. I was donating clothes on behalf of the organization when it was being run with a support staff of only two people – Anshu Gupta and his wife. The cause is a noble one and it gives me immense sense of satisfaction doing this small act of charity.

The friends have been diligently handing over bags full of clothes which I’m taking home everyday. At the end of this week, I’ll go to my office and dump the clothes in the container there.

Now this particular friend does not like my ‘asking’ others for clothes behaviour. She’s feeling bad for me. Apparently, she feels my self-respect is taking a beating when I request people to give their old clothes to me. For a person who doesn’t know what I’m collecting for, the request may seem like begging for clothes for myself 😀 . And somehow, even this possible assumption doesn’t bother me at all!! But it does her. Because she cares for me. Because she’s a very good friend and feels that I should stop going over the ‘limit’ in my initiative.

My maternal grandmother was the principal of a primary school. She started earning a living when there were very few women who stepped out of their houses to earn. Her qualification and post did not stop her from going door-to-door, asking people for clothes they don’t need, collecting them and then distributing it all to the poor slum dwellers. She knew most of those people by name and knew which family was deserving and which could manage without her help. My mother carries forward the tradition by doing her bit. Only difference being, my mom includes grains and money in her charity. She doesn’t go from door to door asking for clothes, but she does collect all our old clothes and hands them over to the needy. She may not spend so much on us as she spends on providing grains and fruits to people who can’t afford it. If she comes to know of a family in need, she makes sure that she is able to do as much for them as is feasible.

I’ve grown up seeing my mother and her simple acts of giving. Though my efforts are a mere drop in the ocean of philanthropy, I like it when I’m able to devote some time to it. I may not be a regular, but the opportunities like the one given by my company, are hard to resist. That is why, I go about asking, requesting or at times, pleading. Before you start assuming that I’m blowing my own trumpet, let me clarify that I’m not the giver here (sometimes, but not always). I’m neither the receiver. I’m just the connection between the giver and receiver. I gain nothing, expect maybe goodwill and I definitely don’t lose anything (expect my pride, according to my friend). But then, what use is pride if you cannot hold your head high and claim that you did something for people whom you don’t know. People who were needy or people who were very needy, but too proud to ask.

I don’t feel small doing what I do. If I have to go to everyone’s desk and ask for help, I’ll do it. If I have to make the rounds of the slums myself and distribute the clothes, I’ll do it ( I have done it). If I have to send reminders for help, I’ll be thick-skinned and do it. I’m not sure how other’s see me, am not even sure if I should be bothered about what other’s say (and I’m specifically talking about the one’s who don’t believe in giving). I’m not doing anything great, but as I see it, I’m NOT doing anything wrong either. And that is what matters the most to me!

But tell me folks, what do you think the world would be like, if ALL of us took out some time to do little acts of charities, made it a mandatory event in our weekly calendars, booked our time for it?

And think of the world where ALL of us stepped back, refused to look towards the needy, turned a blind eye to the increasing mound of old clothes and unused house-hold stuff in our backyards and continued with our regular lives.

Which world do you think, would be a better place to live in??

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