Saturday, September 20, 2014

Charity exudes dependency

             Being philanthropic is not very uncommon these days. People have made large amounts of money and then turned to charity. While the word exudes positive vibes prima facie, it is all about maintaining the dependency on the mood of the people who actually donate money. There is nothing wrong in charity and it is done with good intentions but the real question is whether it is the ultimate solution to all problems. Will filling up the money deficit be a solution to poverty and other issues?
          Money cannot buy everything; it applies here too. Giving out charity is like doling out schemes which gives out free benefits to the needy.I dont think it sums up correctly. A little more introspection on what they require is needed. From a philosophical point of view, we are bestowed the fruits of our actions. So, if we need to earn, we need to learn and work. Being dependant on somebody's whims and wishes all the time is not a very great idea.
       Let me take up an example. Let us suppose the existence of a family of three; Father,Mother and Son. Let us also assume that they are super rich so much so that the next 3 generations can easily survive on the wealth accumulated. They have two methodologies to bring their son up
Method 1:      
Tell their son that they have amassed ample wealth and that he need not work and lead a cosy life. Though its not tagged as charity, parallels can be drawn. Their son is given everything at no cost and he will never realise the effort to make a fortune such as that.The son will lead an indolent life, making use of all the perks without realising how others are competing and sweating blood to get it. If the father suddenly changes his mind somewhere in between what will the son do? Isn't the son at the mercy of his fathers wishes? That seems to be a terrible dependency. Can he survive in the blaring competition outside if chucked out of his father's shade?NO.
Method 2:
Educate their son with the wealth amassed in some top class university. Encourage him to study and earn a living. Making their son realise what life is and that earning to make a living is not all that easy as it seems.Never let their son splurge wealth and make him realise the value of money. So basically instead of free charity, work towards creating an independent environment for the son. So that when he faces the world outside, he has an identity and can survive without roping in his fathers resources.
Which is a good option people? The second one has a strong base and can tackle most adversities in life. Providing the necessary skillset is required and not freebies. Becoming a Managing Director of company requires the person to have worked for so many years and it takes a strong base to reach to that level and make decisions. A person who has come up with nepotism will never be able to do justice to the chair he occupies and will eventually have to give up.So, in everything, skills count more than anything else.
    Charity provides you the end result directly(money) and developing a base provides you avenues to earn money. Let us take one more step ahead and monitor how these resources are used. As also our contributions must be used judiciously for developing these individuals into self-dependant people. As, donor's we need to be accountable as to where our money goes and actively participate rather than passive participation restricted to just money donation.If one has decided to take a step ahead, let it not be half-hearted.
Lets collectively take efforts to make THE ROOTS OF THE TREE strong rather than focusing on how GREEN THE LEAVES CAN BE MADE. Without a strong root even the best quality and shining leaves have no place to house themselves.

FOR #indispire31:-
Charity or Empowerment? Are charitable donations to feed and house the poor really the way out of the mire of poverty or do NGOs need to focus more on skill development? Should we as donors be more proactive rather than merely donating money?

Sunday, September 7, 2014

The sound of silence

               She was petite and vivacious. She never spoke much but her eyes conveyed it all. Meet Priya, a 22 year old teenage girl stuck in the whirlpool of perplexities. At this age, it is pretty common to get confused and to find things enticing. She had just graduated and found herself a decent job.She preferred the company of books rather than people. WHen she was with a book, it was an outpour of all that had happened in her life. Such was the love for books that she was ready to make reading as her profession rather than anything else. Bitten by fear of finding herself nowhere, she chose to keep this wish in the box and took up a job with a reknowned IT firm.
   Raj too was in the same company. He was an assertive, expressive guy who wouldn't hesitate to go ahead and voice his opinions. Infact, he would be ready on one leg for stage performances and taking up initiatives.He was a garrulous person and sometimes, he would be over-expressive and modest by asking others to excuse him for being so. He had certain people in his life who were 'prone' to his habit of being this way. They knew one thing that he would not hesitate a moment to help them and hence let go all of his habits of being over-expressive and too true.
     It was day 1, Raj was excited for getting a job of his interest while Priya was excited for the uncertainties which this job had to offer.  Raj was a focussed guy, his main ambition was spawning something innovative for the society to use. He wanted to use his knowledge for the betterment of the society and this being his first professional endeavour, he was in a paradise. There was something about Priya which often enticed him, he found her to emit an aura which struck him. Raj was an exception to his own personality when going ahead and talking to a girl. He was conceived to be a shy person with a  foreboding instinct. He would be defiant to his own feelings and never initiate a conversation with her.
     Priya was an ambiguous personality, Raj never found her being garrulous to people outside her set of friends. Like Priya, Raj too read a lot of books; infact he loved being in the company of books rather than his friends but just unlike Priya there were other things he loved apart from books.
  One fine day, as he finally garnered the guts to talk to her, he started walking where she stood. Just when he was about to reach her there came this voice, "Hey whats up Priya, hope things are going good."He immediately changed his track and went on to some other work. This happened umpteen times.
   It was almost a month and nothing had happened. It was a day when rain God had dominated the earth when he was walking home. Drenched in  his own directionless and confused thoughts, he noticed her to be walking on the other side of the road alone. He mustered courage and said, "Hi I am Raj, your good name?"there were sirens and drums beating inside him. "I am Priya",she said. Raj said, "could we go to the station together if you dont mind?"she did agree but with an silent appeal to be left alone. All along the journey she never looked at him but choose to stare her flickering mobile screen. Once when their glances met(for quite an amount of time), Raj could see something more to it than what it was. Raj sensed that she knew that Raj had liked her but wished to play careful by not leaving any hints outwardly. That one glance and he could see an ocean of emotions in her just like a book which is so silent but has volumes to speak to the reader on being read; emotions which are of a grandiose magnitude to be expressed requires something more than speech and confessions. Raj could understand it all but his shyness and premonitions never allowed him to understand what is to be understood. He, inspite of being so open to the outer world, was just finding avenues to prove that what he was seeing is not what he should perceive.
 Though they had so many common things to talk about, he could not just not talk, but that one glance spoke so much about her own inhibitions. He had his own interpretation of that look..
"Look, there is something but I am not the one who approach people. Dont mistake me for being egoistical. I am really struck by your persona but require time.This is something I could hide from you by speech but my eyes fail to do so.. I hope you understand.."
 Hadn't her silence spoken volumes?
Isn't there a sound to silence?What do you think?

Monday, September 1, 2014

Book review: TO SIR,WITH LOVE


TITLE: To sir, with Love.
AUTHOR: E.R. Braithwaite
GENRE: Autobiography


Well, after a few thrillers, I wanted to read something which could touch me and move me emotionally. I searched and searched and after reaching a saturation point, I was about to give up. Then I came across this classic and thought of giving it a shot. To Sir, With love as you may all have guessed is a very intuitive,deep-rooted and touching story. It is about  how a person overcomes impediments faced by  being a black and a teacher in a school filled with brats.Not that it is a new novel but I am reviewing it so that people of today come to know about it and do read it.

The plot:

E.R. Braithwaite is black by complexion. Living in briton and facing the heat for being black, he is rejected for job offers at various engineering endeavours. What is in the colour? Just because a person is black, should he be subjected to a different kind of treatment?
    E.R Braithwaite is an apt engineer and qualifies for many challenging jobs. Wherever he goes, he is rejected because of the color of his skin. Employers, often convinced by his knowledge would often put him down and spin a yarn to reject him. After some episodes, he finally enrolls himself in a dreaded school as  teacher,the school being apparently notorious for the brazen defiance of its students.
   Now he doesn't only have to overcome his apparent inferiority obstacles but also the rebellious attitude of his students. His students obviously throw barbs at him. Many Teachers had failed to pacify them for their rebellious behaviour. E.R was determined, he wasn't going to give up; No sooner did he strike an emotional cord with all the students than did the students gradually start getting along with him.It also reaches a point where he gets personally involved with issues which his students face. He gradually feels accountable for his students action and consider them as a part of his. Thats the level of attachment he develops inspite of all the barriers. It also vaguely depicts emotions of a girl who hints at liking him for all his traits that she would blindly accept and listen to his advises.
       He also falls in love with a white woman who is a co-worker in the same school. Wonder of wonders, not only did he overcome the complexion issues but also convinced her parents for their marriage. Her parents come up with a pragmatic view regarding the obstacles they might face. The story culminates with all his students giving him a present with....TO SIR, WITH LOVE...written on it.

My verdict:

Marvellous, is the first word coming to my mind when i read this book. It managed to touch me with its deep message. Life comes with struggles from the womb for many, just because of their colour in some areas while some other paratmeters in other parts. When human tries to discriminate a person not on the basis of his knowledge but his colour, creed; when his judgement becomes prejudiced and he tries to call himself a human, lies the greatest irony. The way he gels with the students which even certain white teachers fail to do so is worth it. This reasserts the central theme of the book. The book proves that emotions are oblivious to the color of the skin.
"Things are easier said than done."  The author reasserts this. Many raise a voice against discrimination but when it comes to implementation, they still have reservations.
From an emotional point of view, it was terrible reading about the kind of prejudiced judgements he was subjected to.

Final word:
Strongly recommend reading this novel. Maybe one can finish it off in one go.