Category Archives: Charity

Chennai Floods – Impact of Social Media and the real heroes

Actor Siddharth (Left) and RJ Balaji (Right) started the relief work in Chennai with their #ChennaiMicro movement

Actor Siddharth (Left) and RJ Balaji (Right) started the relief work in Chennai with their #ChennaiMicro movement

When I first heard about the incessant rains in Chennai I had no clue about the devastation it had caused to the city I grew up in. When I later looked at the videos and photos it was really heart breaking. It really pained me that I was not there and was not able to help the people in need. This was the time I read an article and found few of the twitter posts by actor Siddharth and RJ Balaji. I do have twitter account but I hardly use it. Let me be honest, I am not a big social media fan. Even though I have Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp etc… I hardly use it.

Now when I logged on to twitter and looked at the posts and the number of people involved in making a difference I was completely inspired. I decided instead of feeling bad for not being present in Chennai during this time, I can do something worthwhile. So there began my involvement in doing something useful to help the people in need. The twitter proved that if used well social media is the most powerful tool in the current generation. I was able to help out people providing useful information or guiding them to the right contact being here in the US which would have not been possible like 15 years ago.

The other thing which was amazing was the number of young volunteers who were involved in the relief work. It was really inspiring to see how much they were working hard to help the people in need. I met lot of very good people and was able to help a few of them with their needs. It was truly amazing experience to be part of the work which was going on in full swing with their relief work in Tamil Nadu. The kind of pictures we saw of the floods meant that these volunteers braved their way in conditions which were extremely dangerous to help the people who needed food and supplies. There are not enough words to thank these countless volunteers who made the difference during these testing times for the state.

We need to thank actor Siddharth and RJ Balaji who started this movement and used the social media via their #ChennaiMicro movement to reach out to people. They have been brilliant and their team has done some amazing work in the Chennai and Cuddalore which were the most affected. The Tamil film industry in unison was completely involved in the relief work and it was brilliant to see how they were ready to help anyone who needed any supplies. I would also like to mention Khusbhu, Vishal, Vishnu, Karthi, Varalaxmi Sarathkumar, Karthik Kumar, Singer Suchitra, Shanthanu and countless others who joined the movement and were not only in social media but also were in the field helping people in need.

These are the real heroes. No amount of thanks can repay the efforts they put in during the time of adversity to help the people of the state. The people of Tamil Nadu have once again proven that humanity is bigger than any religion, caste or language.

I am so happy that I took to twitter a week ago as otherwise I wouldn’t have been so close to whatever relief work was happening in TN. I really want to salute all the heroes who decided to leave their homes and go on the streets and help people in need. I would also like to mention the countless brothers and sisters from all over the world (not only from India) who donated generously to help the relief work. The spirit of the people of TN has been heartwarming. Even though we were not getting much attention in the national media, the people brushed it off and helped themselves to recover from one of the largest natural calamity the state has faced since the tsunami of 2004.

I am really proud of my state and my city. I am really proud of the Tamil film industry. This has been really a rewarding experience and I would like to keep myself involved in every way possible in the state’s rehabilitation work.

Venkatesh – An Extraordinary human being

Helping tendency is not a common thing among human beings. It is even hard to find someone who would help people selflessly without any benefit to take out of that deed. That’s the reason I was awestruck when I read about this young boy just 19 years of age risking his life to help people just because it makes him happy. Venkatesh has been doing this since he was 13 years old and is extremely happy to put his life at risk to save people from drowning in the famous Marina Beach in Chennai.

People like Venkatesh are extremely rare in this world and need to be cherished and celebrated. Venkatesh has saved 100’s of people from drowning and does not want anything in return for the same. He even says that the people whom he rescues do not even acknowledge him sometimes but still it does not deter him from jumping into water the next time someone’s in trouble.

This young boy is special and I hope that the Govt. of Tamil Nadu does something to recognize this selfless act. The boy just wants to spend his life on the beach saving people and would like to setup a small shop there in the beach itself to earn his livelihood. It will be great to help him if there were proper channels for the same. I hope that people like Venkatesh are honored and respected for bravery and courage. He has been putting his life in danger to save strangers and he has been doing this for 7 years now.

Please share this with as many people as you can. I hope that this reaches the right people through social medium and the boy gets the help he needs to continue this selfless act. People like Venkatesh actually makes you believe in humanity which otherwise seems to be dead all over the world.

Longing for love

While browsing through the World Wide Web I came across couple of wonderful yet moving article about a charity organization in my home town. Reading the same clearly brought some tears to my eyes and yet I was proud that I was involved in making a difference in these children’s lives. I have been involved with this organization for 5 years now and have been sponsoring 3 kids. I am really happy that I have been able to bring some happiness to these kids. I just hope that god gives me more wealth so that I can take care of more kids in the future and see these kids happy as they should be.

http://blogs.rediff.com/notanobserver/2006/08/
http://blogs.rediff.com/notanobserver/2006/06/10/udavum-karangal/

Udavum Karangal – Gods own garden

I have been involved with “Udavum Karangal” for the past 5 years. This post was really touching and I am proud to be involved with this organization.

Books, Science and Stories

My husband’s brother died of Cancer 6 years back. Ever since then, my mother-in-law visits an institute called Udavum Karangal on his death anniversary and sponsors food for the children of the orphanage run by this NGO.  This year she was unable to make it during the anniversary. She was very upset and we promised to take her next time she comes to the city. We visited Udavum Karangal yesterday.

This was my first visit to the institute and I was stuck by its serenity and beauty. Udavum Karangal meaning helping hands in Tamil was founded by Mr.Vidyaakar. He himself was an abandoned child. He was bought up by a philanthropist, Mr. Ramakrishnan who provided him with shelter and education.  His mentor told him “you should also help another person like I helped you”. That served as the inspiration for Udavum Karangal. Today Udavum Karangal is home for…

View original post 424 more words

Satyameva Jayate has its heart in the right place

Aamir Khan’s Satyameva Jayate previewed last Sunday


Aamir Khan’s “Satyameva Jayate” has for sure been the talk of the town since the first episode aired last week. The show obviously has the heart in the right place. Aamir Khan’s show is just trying to create awareness and nothing more than that. There have been various shows in the past on the same lines but this is the first one with a premier star hosting it. Vijay TV (Star TV’s Tamil network) had a similar program with actress Lakshmi at the helm. It had the same concept but obviously not as high profile as Satyameva Jayate.

First things first we need to appreciate Aamir for taking such a show to venture into television. At least he has the intention to take the already known problems to the living rooms of the people. At least this will get the people thinking. There have been lots of articles online about the show and there have been criticisms. The criticisms are unwarranted as this is a TV show with a social message. Take what you can from the show and if possible change the way you look at the issue or else just consider it as an awareness show. Don’t expect Aamir Khan to be the messiah to save people from their troubles. No TV show or movie can accomplish that. It always lies in the hands of the individuals.

This is the problem with the Indian society, we are extremely defensive. If someone points out an issue in the society we will not believe and if someone points that out with the statistic we expect them to do more than that. It is always someone who has to change things. Life is not a movie where a hero will come in and abolish all the social evils that exist. The TV show is supposed to make people aware and since it is hosted by a celebrity it will grab the attention of the big leaders too which might actually help the people affected. The message will also reach the masses as at least they will watch this to see their star Aamir Khan hosting it.

It is a known fact that India only listens to celebrities. The two journalists who took so much risk in exposing the doctors running these centers did not receive any help from the government. This is absolute appalling and the fact that they are made to run around to different courts in Rajasthan is even more ridiculous. As soon as “Satyameva Jayate” aired on TV Rajasthan chief minister took action on the sonography clinics, shows how even the politicians listen only to movie stars. But we can be happy that something came out of the show.

The only thing I would say that female feticide is a serious issue in India and Satyameva Jayate has just brought it to light and obviously the seriousness of the issue. There are many other social issues which need to be tackled in our country and these sorts of shows are the need of the hour. Instead of criticizing the show I would be happy if the people try embracing such shows by trying to bring some change in the society. We don’t need to question the intention of the show but just look at the good things the show might do. It is like this when some celebrity or a millionaire does some charity we don’t appreciate them because we think that it is done to save on taxes, but we need to think that at least they did charity and the money went to some good cause. How many of us will even do that?

We think that life around us is rosy and nothing is wrong with the society around us. There is no need to get defensive about our country. Unless we embrace the issues we cannot eradicate them. The country grows and improves only if the issues are tackled. India as a country for ages has always ignored the serious issues and we always want to live in a fantasy land. If we see a video of child labor in India we cry and then complain why that video is even put online instead of thinking of ways to help those children in some way. We only think why someone posted that video to disrupt our great, smooth life. We don’t want to even think about issues faced by others nor do we want to help anyone. The only thing we can do is write some articles to criticize someone who is at least doing something. He might not eradicate female feticide, Child labor or various other issues in India but at least he is trying to educate people.

Satyameva Jayate is a show which is the need of the hour. Take the show for what it is. Try to think that the show is to educate people rather than a one which is started to make sweeping changes. There cannot be a Robin Hood who will come in and eradicate all the problems and especially a TV show which will never accomplish that. I like the show and I think it deserves all the accolades it is getting and definitely does not deserve the criticism. I would like to ask all the writers who have questioned the intention or the effect of the show as to what they have done to tackle the social issues in India, have they even written about it before the show was aired? Think about it and you will get the answer. As of now Aamir has done as great job with the first episode and I hope that he continues to tackle more such issues and people living in defensive mindset realize life isn’t as rosy as they think. This is not a movie, this shows real life and real people and we need to realize that these people are around us.

The joy of giving

I came to the US in 2003 for my studies and it was not until 2007 did I visit India for my vacation. Four years might not sound too long but it felt like it was an eternity when I landed in Chennai. It was a complete change and the development was alarming. In spite of everything good that was going around one thing I noticed during my visit is that poverty was still the same. There were still kids without proper clothing or food. There were still kids running behind cars and coming out to watch a train pass by.

I thought to myself things haven’t changed much as I had imagined. While some of my friends thought that it was the mistake of the parents of those kids but my argument was what did the kid do to deserve this? With that thought I came back to US after a month’s visit and I saw a mail which my roommate had gotten and it had a charity organization (Don’t want to mention the name as I am not writing this to promote any organization) name on the top. I went online and checked it out and found that they help underprivileged kids for their studies and food.

That gave me an inspiration and started a research on my own, found a credible organization and started to contribute for the studies, food, and clothing for one child for an entire year. It has been 4 years since I started the contribution and I feel great. I also contribute whenever I can for other social causes, like some natural disasters etc. in any part of the world. I just feel that such things can actually make a difference. I am not writing this to boast about myself or to prove I am great but this is something I wanted to serve as inspiration to at least couple of people like my roommate did for me 4 years back.

I never wanted to share this with people and wanted these things to be discrete but I thought sometimes such thing coming to open is a good thing. We are always ready to jump on rich people and say they don’t contribute enough. We lambast the politicians for not doing enough to the society but when it comes to ourselves we get defensive. Contributions need not be high, small ones work too. My Indian colleagues come here to US and involve themselves in various charity works. Some people even adopted US soldiers; yes it is very good cause but again none for the country we grew up in. I am not saying that no one contributes, like I said there are lots of them who do but we surely can be better. Again I hope this hits the right chord with the people and does not come out as a preachy article.

A lot of people do excellent work in India and I really salute them for their efforts. In comparison to them I feel that I don’t do enough but I am happy with the start. Whenever I get the child report sent to me by the organization it just brings a smile on my face.