A Hole in the Linen

In one of the episodes of FRIENDS, Phoebe and Joey debate over the existence of a selfless good deed. Their conclusion doesn’t give you a black or a white. No point in getting the sitcom details, but really, Have you given it a thought?

One of my partners in crime for improving living conditions and thinking process of children back in YCAS – an organization which works for the underprivileged kids, looking after their education and the basic necessities – messaged me the following after returning from a day at the school. It’s been a month that we are actively involved in CSR activity and you cannot possibly forget, for our own SELF.

“Me aplya annual day sathi shirt wikat ghyava mhanun Fab India madhe gelo baghayla…Ek linen cha shirt bhayankar awadla hota…try pan kela, eravi mi lagech ghetla hi asta pan chayala aaj himmatach nahi zali. Tya mulanche kapade, tyancha ekunach avatar athavlyawar shirt tasach theun nighalo. Itke vichar ekach veles mazya dokyat pahilyandach aale astil…”

Not everyone can be the legendary Baba Amte. Charity cannot be done if you are not satisfied with yourself. But good things happen when like-minded people come together, We start thinking and the thinking becomes a process more and more intricate like this guy did up there, and finally you land up with a good deed in your pocket, not caring whether it’s selfless or not!

Usually my weekends passes meeting friends, playing badminton and everything one may want to do, after he realizes he has no life for 5 out of 7 days of the week. To sum it up, I make money, I spend it, I keep time for friends and family, I pursue my hobbies, and I do everything that one needs to do for a happy living. You can’t ask for more, Can you? Now comes the interesting part. The other side of the same situation.

There are things that seldom grab your attention when you are in a hectic schedule, but definitely are conspicuous when you just want them to be! Like swollen fingers of a maid still working in cold water, naked children on the streets and also women who carry 2-3 children along with them to beg.

Even people, who name Wada Pav or Misal as their staple food, might just make you feel sick sometimes.
Imagine finding a few of these individual things together at a single place. You might get mental doldrums.
We all know about Corporate Social Responsibility. But not always does it make you participate or very often it is all managed for selfish reasons of tax benefit and publicity. Here to this new place I moved to, I have found people who share my interest.

This school named Yashwantrao Chavan Ashram Shala is a beautiful place with two ground floor buildings standing at L shape. The most attractive and adorable thing there because of which u fall in love with it, is the children. Each individual there has immense reservoir of love which they want to exploit for you.
So they are not clean, they don’t have footwear, and the worst of all, their clothes are torn and mostly unwashed. Nonetheless, they are priceless. I remember when I was small like school going age, I didn’t very well understand how our teachers managed to dress up so smartly. I was all fascinated with them, used to wonder if I’d ever be able to carry myself like that?

All this just stood vividly in front of me just when a bunch of small girls came to me and my friend and held our hands. Age 6 or 7 years. Everyone fighting to get hold of us. Unfortunately we go there during their breakfast time, but hardly anything changes for them. They just leave their plates to greet us. Struggling to wish us in English, they mostly succeed.

YCAS is a registered organization getting Rs. 11 per head per day from the government. That’s the maximum the government does for them! Anyway they get a few donations, which help them run their kitchen and dole out minimal salaries to the staff and fulfill children’s basic necessities. Every girl there takes turns in making chapattis for the entire lot of kids living there.

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When I first entered the school, the look of the campus made me feel like 50 years back of time – of need, attraction and greed, you just stop at the first word! Going there, I just lose the track of time completely, because the kids there make you realize that there exists a third world, where humanity stands before any other word. So much of innocence; we don’t find it in kids from our well to do families. The helpless face of a girl when she talks about her alcoholic father, or of a boy who has lost his mother – of course we wouldn’t have experienced their existence had their parents been educated enough to understand family planning.

You get addicted to these children the very first time you meet them. So spending significant time with them satisfies your soul and most importantly theirs too. They ask you for your phone numbers and a few of them will make sure they’ll call you. My happiness knows no bounds when that happens.

If you feel your life sucks, try and visit a place like this, especially kids. “Kisi aur ke najaron se dekho, humare paas bahot kuch hai…” When you fall back or feel laid back make sure to think about the third world problems, which apparently is the first world for many others.

One thought on “A Hole in the Linen

  1. In my opinion, we have become ‘insensitive’ to human mankind. We are so busy in our lives that we fail to look around. We are so selfish that we want to earn more money for ourselves even though we might be having enough to fulfil our needs. We are engrossed in thoughts like me, my looks, my family, our wealth etc. and there is no place for any other thoughts. We think that betterment of underpriviledged people is the governments’ responsibility and we have nothing to do with it. We must start somewhere. Be it on a small scale. Giving out money is not the only solution. We need to give our time, care and love!


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