Awhile ago we were walking in our neighbourhood when we saw a great pothole left by someone having dug across the road. As we were standing there a man drove up in a car. And dumped a sack of granite into the hole. He stamped it down. And as he did so, Celia and I were reminded that we can complain about life, write letters to the newspaper. Or lift a spade.
But naturally we are all tired by the sheer effort of living, that few of us want to stir out of the house. And why should we do it? Isn’t it someone else’s responsibility?
Here’s one humorous story about Tarun’s dad that will help us get going. ‘This relates to a time when Tarun’s dad had just retired in Trivandrum, and I had come down to meet Amma & Appicha taking a week off from work. One day on that visit, Appicha told me “Edda, monay, let’s go, I’ve got an engineering project to do.” Now as anyone who knew Appicha well, going on one of his projects was not completely wise. For he had incredible stamina, a mind that would study a plethora of solutions, and a cost-saving imperative that would ensure the popular solution would be rejected for a robust, brilliant, and economic answer. All of which meant a hundred and one stops, to a thousand stores, all of course in the hot sun. Well, I tagged along. After the 12th stop at a factory, I mustered up some interest in the pipe that Appicha carried around, and asked, “Are you repairing the plumbing in the house Appi?” “No, no”, he said, “I am building a playground for the children in the common area in front of our home. Nothing much, a slide, a merry-go-round, a see-saw, a jungle gym…” “Oh”, I digested the information and then asked, “Are you doing it for the association? Are they paying for it?” “No, no”, he replied appalled that he should ask the association for funds from their meager resources. He saw a need, and well he had to do something about it.
“This has stayed with me, so whenever in life I have a choice between that which will benefit me and mine, or between that which will embrace the world, I am nudged by Appicha’s example to choose the second.” - To quote from Well Done Mr Cherian…
Now this direct approach to changing the world is one that pays great dividends.
From Kerala we hear of a Village that revived a dying river.
From Bangalore we hear of an IT pro who has planted 12,000 trees.
From up north we hear of a man who singlehandedly built a road, cutting through a mountain because his wife died because they couldn’t access a hospital in their village.
Now we can read about it and go to sleep. Or we can do something about it.
And that is precisely what so many of you are doing. Divya who found an abandoned dog and found it a home. Manisha who has become indispensable at an orphanage. Alex & Usha Abraham who have run Sahayata for a decade now. Bela who discovering there was no good enough school for an autistic children started one. At the first school celebration there were 2 students and 6 teachers. But by God the enthusiasm filled a stadium. The eyes of the audience filled with good tears.