Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The indignity of giving

Christmas season is almost a month behind now. there were certain things which I couldn't but notice during that time. Christmas season being the season of love, joy, sharing, caring and giving and all that… (Personally, I think every day should be a season of all that. At least we take out time to be 'nice' and to celebrate 'niceness' once a year.) What I observed during the season of 'giving' and before that in my work really made me think about of giving…

Why do we give? What motivates our giving? When a beggar comes knocking on your car window why do you feel uneasy? Do you give or don't you? If you do, why? And if you don't, why? When you drive past a slum, you just want to drive past it quickly. When you do slow down and stop to see, the sight makes you uncomfortable… Forces you to do something about it. To do something about it quickly. A loose change, a quick handout. Your heart is at peace. Or is it?

More often than not, the giving is done more for the sake of easing our conscience. To make us feel good about ourselves.

There are some who give in order to feel good about themselves. AND there are those who give to let others know how good they are. Sometimes, giving becomes a marketing strategy. Marketing strategy for fund-raising. More money is spent on organizing the gift-giving event than on the gifts itself.

One-size-fits-all giving is another way to give. There is no thought put into giving. There is no understanding of what the receiver needs. This is sort of easy to do. Just go to some place, buy stuff in bulk (you save on the cost of giving this way!), and give. Better still, handout money. That is easier. There is no need to worry about what the money is being used for.

And then there is the expert-giver. "I know what you need. I have done my research I have observed your condition. I'm here to better your standard of living (to that of mine). So I will give you something that I would use, even if it is irrelevant in your situation."

Honestly, what motivates you to give?

Note: 'I', 'you' and 'we' are used interchangeably here. I am talking to myself as much as to the readers. This is a post just to provoke thought.

And oh, there is a part 2 to this...

Sunday, January 20, 2008

My very first blog award!

Sandy, a great encourager and a good blog-friend awarded me the Shameless Lions Writer Circle Award. Sandy has these wonderful blogs and her posts are pretty thought-provoking and challenges the 'regular.'

The way the award goes is like this. “Distribute this award to those people who have blogs we love and can’t live without, blogs where the writing is good and powerful. I thought interested members could kick things off by publishing the award on their own blog, naming five people they would like to give it to, and accompany the image with three things they believe are necessary to make writing good and powerful. The recipients then do the same, passing it on to five other people, and so on.”

The five people that I want to give the award to are:

'Lost in wonder' - One of the early blogs that I got addicted to. Although Anju makes things sound funny she delivers a lot of intense content like only she can do.

Jean at 'It's all good' writes these honest posts which makes you sit up and listen and think.

Liz Strauss at 'Letting me be…' has this way of using words which do not fail to amaze me and she has these very interesting thoughts and interesting ways of communicating those beautiful thoughts.

Madison Richards at 'Write on the edge' has such fresh outlook at faith and following. I like the way she finds the sacred in the ordinary.

Julie Layne - I quite can't put my finger on why I am addicted to her blog. It was by chance I came across her blog and now I am hooked. She's funny. She's real. And she has this way of engaging you in her story - even in the real ones.

These are the three things that I believe makes for powerful and good writing:

1. Truth - Nothing appeals like truth. And nothing repels like truth. There are new facets to truth that different writers bring. And it is amazing how we think the same thoughts and how different they are.

2. Being precise - I think powerful writing needs to deliver the truth without having to use too many unnecessary words. No, I don't mean using less words or being blunt. It is good to read something beautifully written, but using words just because one wants to use a lot of words doesn't make sense.

3. Humour - This is something that I have not been able to incorporate much into my writing. But those who have the ability to deliver truth with humour are awesome.

Friday, January 11, 2008

பொங்கல் வாழ்த்துக்கள்!

தமிழ் அன்பர்களுக்கு என் மனம் கனிந்த பொங்கல் நல் வாழ்த்துக்கள்!!

Happy Pongal, everybody!

Pongal being the harvest festival, it is a good time to think back on the past and be greatful for who we are and what we have.

I thank God
- for my family who love me no matter what
- for my friend who knows me through and through and still dares to love me
- for my friends who support me, encourage me, listen to me (even when they have no idea what i am talking about), understand me (even the vague, abstract stuff i love to discuss), and most of all correct me
- for my blog which has been a wonderful tool as it has encouraged me and given me a platform to compose and express my thoughts. And it has introduced me to some wonderful people.
- for my work which not only gives me a sense of purpose, but also helps me fulfill who i am and continues to stretch me and grow me
- for the gift of hope. The best is yet to come, they say...
- for God Himself, who gave of Himself willingly and generously and loves me no end...

p.s. - This post comes early as i am going to my hometown to celebrate Pongal with my family. See you all after Pongal.

Monday, January 07, 2008

First meme of this year

Sandy tagged me with this. It is a pretty interesting meme. Makes thinking back on the past a bit easier.

1. What did I learn?

I learned that perfection or being whole is a moment by moment thing. You aren't really there if you think you have reached there. One step at a time.

Also, you can eat an elephant one bite at time.

2. What did I accomplish?

Workwise, I have accomplished a lot. I have become more confident. Brought closure to certain things which helped open up certain other things and be more effective in the new stuff. Personally, I have grown my hair real long, I have learnt to cook at least some basic stuff…

3. What would I have done differently?

Treated some people with true respect instead of look down on them like I did.

4. What did I complete or release?

Brought to closure some issues. Also, accepted the fact that there are certain things that I cannot change and I need to accept the person/situation as it was and learn to live with it. It was sort of releasing for me and for the person/situation.

5. What were the most significant events of the year past?

Met my best friend again almost after three years.

6.What did I do right?

Swallowed my pride and behaved less arrogant and in that I earned a friend.

7. What were the fun things I did?

Movies and dinners at Anju's, outings with friends. All these involved a lot of laughter. Blogging. Bloghopping. Working. Hanging out with my brother. And with his bunch of friends too. Took a trip to Delhi and from there to Kiki's wedding.

8. What were my biggest challenges/roadblocks/difficulties?

Insecurities - mine and that of people around me.

9. How am I different this year than last?

I'm more confident about who I am. Not entirely yet, but I have come to face the facts - there are certain things that I am not good at, but then there are other things I am good at. I am learning to be comfortable with both.

10. For what am I particularly grateful?

Friends, roof over my head, God's provision and His faithfulness even when I am not particularly faithful, Romans 8:32, my folks and my past.

I tag JollyRoger, Sandhya, Anju, Gitu, Kiki, Kriti, Kirthi, and anybody else who wants to play along.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Here's to another year of tough stuff and joy...

I know, I know. I have been very bad at updating my blog and it has gotten worse since I updated it last. I have a good reason. I had travelled out the city and was so busy with my friend's wedding and stuff. Anyways, here is the first post for this year.

I was trying not to do any 'New Year' sort of post or do any of the 'New Year' sort of thing like resolutions and thinking back on the past and all that. I like to think I am a person who lives in the present. While I have made a couple of resolution (which just happened to coincide with New Year), I did take some time off to think through the last year. Just a rewind and fast forward.

When I thought back on the year before and the years before that, what I remembered were the tough times, crises, foolishness, goof-ups, failures and the like alongside the good and nice things. In fact the not-so-nice things had a stronger presence in my memory. And I think I want to thank God for the not-so-nice things about life as well.

Those events are significant as they taught me lessons which I wouldn't easily forget; they were the momentous turning points which took me to the next level of maturity; they chased me into the arms of my Father; they have led me to greater intimacy with Him; made me a better person. Well, I could go on.

Anyways, I think I should mention the good things too that make me smile when I think about those. For the nice apartment, the good job, good friends, fun, laughter, discussions and debates, movies, coffee, coffee with friends, Gina's visit, Rob's visits, living with my brother, my blog friends (wink wink), Kiki's wedding, and (stopping to catch my breath) the list can go on and on…

Anyways, here's wishing you a wonderful year ahead!

p.s - And oh, i loved this New Year resolution post. I would say that my resolution is something similar.