Spread some cheer this Christmas


Above picture source: Living Routes

The holidays are upon us and all of us are busy splurging money on ourselves, buying gifts for our loved and not so loved ones. As the temperature dips outside, we huddle together in our warm and cosy homes with friends and family. Meanwhile, millions go hungry daily and suffer the chills of the winter. Many will never survive this winter. Its easy to look the other way and to believe that it doesnt concern us. But it does.

We donate hundreds and thousands of rupees to religious organisations. But honestly, does God need our money? Does building a new spanking church, mosque, temple do anything positive to the needy? Or does it bestow us with eternal life or are we reserving some place for ourselves in heaven by building some state of the art, mega religious places? The money we put in the religious coffers are only used to line the fat pockets of a corrupt religious head. Who, after eating our own money wants to show us the way to heaven, when his own place is not assured even in hell.

The maid’s kids cant go to school cos she cant afford to send them. The kid who works in the neighbourhood mechanic shop/restaurant cant afford a shoe/shirt cos he has an alcoholic father who feeds off his hard earned money. Yes, we can buy one shirt for him/her. We can buy some books for a child who would love to study, but cant. Some kids would even have the resources to go to school, but the school refuses to take them in cos of bureaucratic red tapism. Its where we can step in, by being the guardian and helping the kid join school. Give free tuitions to the needy just twice a week. Volunteer at some old age home or juvenile school near your place.

There are millions of ways in which we can do something. Yes, there are no rewards for these. But the happiness on the face of a kid/old person whom you have helped can really bring warmth to your heart too. Life has indeed been kind to us. We’ve got lovely families, friends, we had the opportunity to study, we have some good paying jobs, lovely partners in life. Then there are others who have never seen any form of happiness in their lives.

We owe it to the society and the country that has done so much for us. We spend the whole time criticizing the government and the society in general for the apathy all around us. But lets ask ourselves today, what we have done to wipe the tear off one face? Nothing? Its time to do something. Not tomorrow. Today is the day.

I sponsor the education of two kids through a Delhi based organisation called Deepalaya, that works with the children of migrant labour. A few months ago, a small donation to another Hyderabad based organisation, Sahara, helped to pay 6 months fees of a girl in school. I do all these through an a website called Give India. The governing body of the organisation comprises N Vaghul (Chairman – ICICI Bank), Anu Aga (Director, Thermax), Tarun Das (Chief Mentor – CII) among others. Every money that you donate is tracked, made sure that it reaches the intended recipient and you get a feedback on how your money was spent. The accounts of each NGO is verified and audited by independent auditors.

Look around, there are ways and means of doing something. Something that is closer to your home. Something that is closer to your heart. Choose your own calling. Trust me, there is nothing more satisfying in life.