An 8 year old has the power of giving:
John Benedict, a former student of mine, runs two start-ups in Bangalore. He often states that most of his learning comes from kids. He would frequent an orphanage in Coimbatore.
There he befriended an eight year old by name David. This child had lost both his parents to Tsunami.
John asked David during one of his visits, what gift he would desire for. David said, ‘Anna, get me two sets of bangles.’ John wondered, what on earth would a boy need bangles for. David replied, ‘Anna, next week its my sister’s birthday (she was in the neighboring orphanage meant for girls). She asked me for a 2 sets of bangles.
An 8 year old, who had lost everything wanted to give. He did not ask for himself.
Dr. Zameer Pasha, District Governor Rotary District 3000, recounts a story about my daughter, Sagarikka.
Rotary was conducting a blood camp. Savvy was to donate blood. At the last moment my wife panicked. My 7 year old daughter was standing by.
Much to the amusement of Dr.Zameer, my daughter said, ‘Mummy either you give blood or I give mine.’
Reminds me of another story where the kid donates blood to his sister and says, ‘Now that my sister is going to live, when am I going to die.’ The kid thought that giving blood meant certain death.
As kids, we wanted to give. We lived in a world where we could not withstand the pain of others. What converted us from givers to accumulators?
During the 41 days challenge, Ayyappa devotees throng together, pool in funds and provide free meals after the enchanting bhajans. This may not be the prime most activity among the 18 challenges but at least it is a step in the right direction.
The challenge of giving states that the more you give, the more you get. Give with the expectation that you will receive from some unexpected source.
My grandparents and parents always believed in Ratha daanam (give blood), anna daanam (give food) and gyana daanam (give knowledge).
As this essence had percolated into my DNA to some extent, I have followed some of these practices in spirit.
The hotel server who donated 30 crores:
I need to thank providence for carrying us through this entire journey. We have been running TRICHY PLUS for 22 years (over 135 months). We never had a challenge in paying salaries. There was more left at the end of the day, even in COVID times.
Is some universal principle working through us? Savvy & I have been simpletons. We never had brilliant marketing strategies up our sleeve. We are shy, un-charismatic introverts. The only thing we have done properly is serve. We have been mindless of the endless hours we spent with students, staff and parents. We have been conned many times, are not up to the standards in financial acumen but an invisible hand keeps guiding us through.
I am reminded of Palam Kalyanasundaram who worked 35 years at an Arts College in Srivaikuntam. Every month he would diligently donate his salary towards charity. He also worked as a server at a hotel to get two meals a day. To keep this work in progress, he never married: In the course of his service, he received 30 crores of rupees as awards which he put into charity. Cambridge has awarded him as the ‘noblest in the world’.
It is easy for me to tell this story but I have never desired to give away money as charity. Savvy meanwhile has been involved in many, many social projects involving money.
Last month while walking on the terrace, I asked, ‘what is stopping us from giving more?’ Prompt came her reply, ‘I want to give, but what is stopping me from giving is YOU. I am always concerned that you will make a face & hold a grudge if I give more.’
I may have impressed you as a writer with my anecdotes in this blog, but you would notice something incomplete in this blog.
I am not authentic.
I have kept the Ayyappa challenge in letter and spirit till the very end but I have arrears in Challenge 17.
Any piece of advice or suggestion please?