Monday, July 23, 2007

A fistful...

The wonderful thing about my job is you get to see the hope. And hope comes in all shapes and sizes. The most recent sighting of hope came in fistfuls.

There are these three bunches of women, three groups of around twenty women, who decided to contribute a fistful of rice every week*. Thus, their giving began. A fistful a week. Fistfuls every month for a few months. In the end, they had 120 kilograms of rice. This rice, they decided to give it to a hostel run for girls with visual impairment. Girls who have been rejected by families. Girls who were considered a burden. Girls who are educated and wanting to contribute to the functioning of society.

It was a wonderful sight to see. A bunch of women gathered together in an asbestos shed put up on the terrace of one small neighbourhood. The givers and the receivers. It was difficult to identify who the givers and who the receivers were. Those who gave received and those who received gave.

This incident continued to resonate the truth that I am learning. One's ability to give does not depend on one's wealth. It all depends on one's willingness. Willingness to look beyond oneself. Willingness to look at others. Willingness to give. It all depends on one's heart size and not on one's wallet size.

Above all, giving empowers the giver. There is dignity in giving. It makes you rise above your situation of needs and wants. It makes you realise that even you can give.

*They called it புடி அரிசி திட்டம் ("Pudi Arisi Thittam" meaning "fistful of rice plan").

Note on pictures: One is a picture of one of the girls reading from a Braille Bible. The other is a picture of a couple of our clients holding fists full of rice.

Eleven things #3

… I am thankful for.

  1. Not turning on the fan and light as soon as I came home (like I usually do). There was a gas leak from the stove. (Made a mental note to check it before I leave home everyday.)
  2. Good chocolate.
  3. The food on the table everyday... God's provision despite the fact that I am living on an empty wallet at the moment.
  4. Sparks of inspiration which help me in my work.
  5. Friends. I don't know what I would do without them.
  6. They way friends express their love. It may not be verbal as I would like it. But they do express it in their own ways and it doesn't fail to touch me.
  7. My work. It is a real blessing to be able to love what you do.
  8. The mug full of Milo everyday. If not for that, I would go hungry in the morning everyday.
  9. Our new office! It looks great and it is awesome to finally have a decent workspace of my own.
  10. For my house. I will have to vacate it in about two months. Need to start house-hunting again.
  11. For my family.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Just a fistful...

...can make a difference.

My next post is going to be on a fistful of difference. I thought i will post this prelude lest i forget that i should write about this.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

The Illusion of the tangible

In life and work we constantly seek the tangible and seek to make that which is intangible tangible. There is a constant rush to fill our lives with the material, that which we can see and hold, that which we can touch and own and claim as ours. All the while, the intangible gets relegated to the background.

The intangible seems like the loser. It loses out in debates and arguments. It cannot be quantified and measured and hence it is made to seem like it doesn't exist. Also there is a constant pressure to quantify the intangible. There is a recognition that it exists, but we want proof of its existence. What better way than to make it measurable and touchable and seeable?

At times, the intangible does succumb to the pressure. But when it does, it ceases to be what it was. It is compromised. It is not entire. It is not that elusive and not quite graspable but still wholesome thing it was. It has been captured, albeit incompletely, and put in a box and neatly packaged and presented.

The intangible may suffer rejection or experience mutilation. It may just be an afterthought. But it does its work silently and quietly, nudging and edging. We don't realise it or recognize it always. The unseeable, the nonquantifyable, the immeasurable, the thing of beauty and the thing of our hearts… It does its work quietly… For it is this that really matters. It is this that makes our lives worth living.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Couple of stuff...

I don’t know what to write on now. I seem to have exhausted all my ideas for now. There are no new ideas. I do not want to think I have writer's block. Well, I don't consider myself a serious writer really. I only ramble a bit and try to get the thought out of my head and communicate it as best as I can.

My brain seems to want some rest from thinking. I have been employing mind to understand and process a lot of things work-wise and personal stuff-wise… Those are things I don't think I want to write about.

Guess I will highlight a couple of things two of my blog friends did for me which was really touching. Thank you, Choconet and Julie.

And I have been thinking of a couple of other things as well.

1. How do you know that you have been surfing the net for too long?

When you are subconsciously searching for the mouse to click on text that looks like hyper-link in the book you are reading…

2. How do you know that you have been doing a lot of riding on your bike?

When you are walking somewhere and you are subconsciously searching for the indicator before making a turn or for the horn when you want to overtake the person walking in front of you…

I have done both…

It seems like it is going to be a fully-packed weekend for me. At least, Saturday doesn't seem to the quiet and peaceful sort that I usually look forward to. *sigh*

Happy weekend, folks!I hope to be back with better stuff next week.

Good night for now...

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Lessons from Bono - Part 1

One of the books I am currently reading is Bono on Bono. I like Bono. I like his music because it is honest and he doesn't mince words. And I also like him cause I he, like me, believes that poverty can be made history and is working towards that. And he challenges convention.

There are some thoughts from the book which really hit home. Well, there are many of those really. I emailed Gina these thoughts and she thought these were blog material and that they should be shared with the wider audience. So, I will be putting up a select few of these thoughts in my blog along with my thoughts about his thoughts. Hopefully, this will be a series of posts.

“There are stories to tell that are not songs.”

This is one of the reasons he gave for working on this book project with the author. I just thought it was a cool quote.

“If you wake up in the morning with a melody in your head, as I do, it’s all about how much you compromise that melody to take it out of your head and put it into music.”

I feel this way about writing. I have sometimes compromised my ideas simply because I could not find the right words to express them. And when I wrote them, I would either end up something very different from what I started out with or I would not have expressed the idea in its entirety. I am glad I found his words to help me capture this compromise.

“It’s a very hierarchical business. What table you get in the restaurant tells how your career is doing. It’s happened to me many times, where you turn up at a restaurant or a club and they haven’t got the booking right and you have to queue or get turned away…

…But I don’t want to stray too far from the street. I’m not saying I’m not good at the penthouse life – but I’m also good at the pavement. That’s a source of pride for me, that I’m good at both. I’m good at high life, I’m good at the low life. It’s the middle where I lose it.”

I wish I could say that of myself… The bit about being good at both lives...

“…If you look to writers and painters and poets, then you’ll often find the search for the ecstatic, the trauma of religious experience.”

“All the Renaissance painters, torn between God, patronage, and the desires of the flesh.”

"Coolness might help in your negotiation with people through the world, maybe, but it is impossible to meet God with sunglasses on. It is impossible to meet God without abandon, without exposing yourself, being raw. That’s the connection with great music and great art, and that is why it’s uncomfortable, that is why cool is the enemy of it, because that’s the other reason you wanted to join a bad: you wanted to do the cool thing. Trying to capture religious experiences on tape wasn’t what you had in mind when you signed up for the job.”

I guess this is not something that only musicians and artists alone face. It is true of me and my work as well. Why do I want to do development work? Is it to please man, to earn a living or to do the Kingdom work? Like the artist I struggle with the three loyalties. The desire to be noticed, the desire to climb the rungs of career ladder, and the desire to serve – all three compete for attention.

Monday, July 09, 2007


I'm riding on my scooter. I'm dodging traffic. I'm taking the short-cuts -- the by lanes and the side lanes. Why do I feel like I'm invading somebody else's space? It is a thoroughfare after all. Why does it feel like I am riding through people's homes? Is it because some people have to bring part of their homes to the road as they cannot contain it within the walls of their actual home?

A small two-room house. One kitchen. One bed-room-cum-living-room-cum-miscellaneous-room. One family. Five members to the family. The toilet may be in the house or the family may need to share it with the rest of the community. Water collected from the tank near the house.

I ride throught the small roads and slums to arrive in a nice neighbourhood. I go in and shut the door... To the road... To the world...

One small, cozy little apartment. Four rooms. Two bathrooms with loo attached. Running water. Two people living in it. The bedroom the size of the house described above.

I love the comfort. I like the space. I work with people who live with their family of five in a house as big as my bedroom. The disparity bothers me. I'm feeling torn.

p.s. - I have gotten past the guilt stage (I hope). I am really ok. I simply wanted to highlight the disparity that i see - not just between the worlds out there, but even between my own and the one that I interact with.

p.p.s. - Pictures have been added as suggested by Ryan and Chronicwriter

Saturday, July 07, 2007


What better topic than chocolate to make an awesome comeback!!! Choconet, this one goes to you...

The things I like in chocolate

Just chocolate

Nuts - Almonds and Cashews especially

A little more cocoa (not so much that it is bitter chocolate)


Things I don't mind in chocolate

Peanuts (if it is Snicker bar)






Things that should not be in chocolate


Mint (makes it taste like chocolate-toothpaste combo)

Caramel crystals

One of those strawberry/orange pasty stuffing (*gak* That's worse than mint!)

Friday, July 06, 2007


Now that my friend has come and gone, and i am poorer but richer, i think it is time to get back to blogging.

Two weeks away from blogging and you have so much to catch up on! I am slowly getting there, people. I have started visiting the blogs that i usually do. All this is moving at tortoise-pace. But i will get there. I promise.

About posting stuff on my blog, erm... the whole of last week i have not been able to think about anything much other than work and my friend. Don't be afraid. New thoughts have started doing the pop-corn act in my head. I will soon be writing again.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Poorer but richer

Goodbyes are never easy. And I don't think they are meant to be easy. Although I feel as if I lack something, I feel I am rich as I have gained so much more - friendship and memories. Not that there were no friendship or memories before. It is just that the heart sizes have grown larger to contain more love.

Currently feeling: Sad