What makes them tick?

GOOD SAMARITANS

What makes them tick?

These are people who stop to think about the less fortunate around them. In a world, where, increasingly, people are asking ‘What is in it for me?’ these men and women say, ‘What can I do for others?’ They are ordinary people made extraordinary by their altruism. Some of them have been inspired by parents, others by teachers or a life-changing incident. And some by their own struggle. Like classical musician Vidwan Deva Reddy N Chinchali.

He had few advantages at birth. Born visually challenged to a lower middle-class farmer in a small village, Reddy pursued classical music with determination, moved to Bangalore and became a performer and teacher. And now that he has acquired financial independence, Reddy has set up an extraordinary music school where visually challenged girls get a music education free of cost. Their housing, food and clothing needs are also taken care of. “I am neither rich nor powerful. But I am trying to make a difference to others,” he says. Having rewritten his own destiny, he is changing that of others.
 Undertaker Trivikrama Mahadeva performs funerals for unclaimed corpses. Over the past 41 years, he has done this for thousands of bodies. Of course, he charges a small sum for his work, since he has to support his family. But his work gives dignity in death to the truly helpless. And it is a job that few others are willing to do.

 After 25 years in Erode where he participated in various charitable programmes, when textile businessman Bimal Kumar Saraogi moved to Bangalore, he resolved to continue his voluntary work. Currently, he heads the Karnataka Marwari Samaj and gives anything between one or two hours, on an average day, to eight hours on peak days for charitable projects. A recent eye-camp and an artificial-limb camp, where patients received treatment and limbs/spectacles free of cost are among his contributions aided by likeminded people.

B V Sesha has been volunteering as Honorary Secretary at Abalashrama for the last 21 years. The charitable organisation gives shelter to orphan girls between 16 and 25 years, and provides them higher education, vocational training and job-placement, and often performs their marriages too — all free of cost. So, how does Sesha support himself and his work?

“I was formerly a businessman and now I depend on my children for my wellbeing. For over two decades I have been doing voluntary work with my wife’s support. There is great happiness in what I do,” he says.

At CV Raman Nagar, P V Sathyanarayana, founder-president of Dr G V Chalapathi Memorial Homeopathic Self-Reliance Forum, oversees a team of homeopathic physicians who provide medical consultation, including lifestyle advice and medicines, to the needy— all free of cost. This clinic is open four days a week and the chief homeopathic physician is Dr P Padmashree.

The forum also conducts awareness camps and seminars, runs a weekly dispensary at a general hospital and trains young homeopaths at no cost. This is altogether a lot of energy and time for a charitable cause, so what is the compensation, I ask Sathyanarayana.

“My work may be a drop in the ocean but it’s my contribution nevertheless. The satisfaction of seeing someone healed is my great reward,” he replies.
Homemaker Sudha Raju pays two unemployed youngsters to collect organic waste every alternate day from nearly 100 households in her neighbourhood and gives it to the gardeners at the local park to turn into organic manure.
Sudha also regularly gifts plants along with planters filled with organic manure to individual households.

These altruists are generally respected for their work, but not always. It’s not easy to be generous in a cynical world.

Management consultant L Sujata  who volunteers at a spastics’ centre, and paediatricians Dr Sunil and Radha Nagappa, who participate frequently in rural medical camps, admit that they often encounter scepticism and even sneers.
 They are told that folks like them are so busy setting right other people’s lives that they surely don’t have time to attend properly to their own.

“Some cynics even predict that our children will be neglected in their critical years. We are also told we are foolishly failing to build up our savings during the peak of our careers,” says Sujata.

And, Sudha was stunned when a local politician asked her if she was preparing the ground for a political career by garnering popularity in her neighbourhood!
 But these champions carry on nevertheless. If they were to stop to pay heed to criticism, it would take away from their focus, say the Nagappas.
Saraogi, who is sometimes criticised for losing out on earnings and family time because of social service, attributes every success in his professional and personal life to the blessings from the people he serves.  Now, that is what we call great attitude.

Just do it!
If you are keen on volunteering, you can always look around and find something that you want to do. Search for schools and homes for orphans, the handicapped and the destitute by either looking them up on the internet or by asking around. Or, get in touch with a social worker. Many residential areas have resident welfare associations which undertake charitable work.
Most places offer the option of either volunteering part-time or full-time, so you can choose what is convenient to you. You can even help out in your individual capacity and offer that help to individuals if you don’t find a suitable organisation to be part of. Team up with friends and likeminded people and do the needful. Where there is a will, there is always a way. And many people are grateful to receive help.
AC

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