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Meaning in service

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Empathy is the word Flood victims at a relief camp
Empathy is the word Flood victims at a relief camp

A bunch of guys try to help the needy

In the drizzle the other morning, a bunch of degree students trooped out, getting wet with kindness and the ink on their placards draining down. “Help the flood victims,” the placards said.

They saw the images on TV and read about it in newspapers: houses marooned; people perched on rickety constructions; hanging onto branches of trees; ; weeping and wailing; the detritus of life sloshing around in fetid waters; towns and villages becoming junkyards of things and hopes.

The group of students goes about knocking on the doors of people, calling people out to help. “We are doing our bit,” says Ganesh, a third year degree student and the group leader, “we are collecting things, whatever people donate for the flood victims.”

Element of togetherness

If floods wrecked lives in some parts of the State, they also brought forth the youth’s desire to serve.

“It’s heart-rending suffering,” empathizes Suresh Kumar, a first year degree student, “we felt the need to help people.” Moreover, “it doesn’t feel so distant, they’re our people. We are all in this together.”

Youth are no longer standoffish. They pitch in, riding the wave of kindness. “Elders may feel we are too much of ourselves,” says Nararayana Murthy, a second year degree student, ”but we can relate to the tragedy.” “It’s sad to see towns and villages gone, crops gone, people without food and home, it breaks the heart,” says Sowjanya, one of the group members. She wants to help out people in distress. “Our lecturers encourage us in our efforts,” she continues, “our parents laud our efforts.”

A new experience

Floods summoned them to act. It’s meaningful for them that they are able to serve and contribute. Siva Subramnayam is all for service. “For serving the flood-affected,” he says, “we are asking people to donate whatever they can dispense with.” Collecting things and alleviating the suffering of people a little bit, he says, is his contribution. The “asking” business also teaches a lesson or two.

“You knock on a door, call people inside and explain why you are there,” says Suresh, “Some respond very well giving whatever they can, encouraging us for our good work but some others heap scorn on us for they are suspicious of our motives .”

The jig of helping people by whatever means has elicited some welcome changes. “I spoiled many valuable things at home,” says Karthik. “But now we are collecting these things for people who badly need them,” he wonders sifting through the collection. Perhaps, “I mustn’t be so rude with things.” Yegesh is the happy-go-lucky bloke. “Till now it’s all movies, cricket and friends,” he says, “but this is an all new experience for me. Sure, there is life beyond.” Doing whatever he can to help out the flood victims, he says, “I feel good about myself.”

It’s still drizzling. The bunch goes to another door.

G.B.S.N.P. VARMA

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