Saturday, November 18, 2006

Discovering the value of..

After a hectic long day, I was relaxing on my couch relishing a cup of hot elaichi tea. The strong smell of the tea brought fond memories of Tiruvannamalai Girivalam (circumambulation of the holy arunachala hill on a full moon day). The 9 mile pathway was replete with tea stalls selling different flavors of herbal masala tea that was a treat to one's olfactories. My reminiscence of Tiruvannamalai was however short lived as I soon chose to switch on my TV only to incessantly flip through the channels without purpose. It was then a colorful dish in food network that immediately grabbed my attention and brought my involuntary act of flipping to a halt. Well, it did not last long though.. as the program just finished followed by a fitness ad…. Just as I was about to switch over to the next channel, a short ad that followed …SHOOK ME UP.

After watching it, a series of incidents which arose feelings that I have been usually ignoring quickly flashed upon me...

Incident 1: A while ago, I cursed my dishwasher for not getting rid off the greasy stains and spicy smell from those pans. While Complaining abt this, I was washing the pan with the tap fully open (tap fully open!!!which I can never afford to do if I had been living in Chennai) and ignored a strong feeling that was shouting loud in me - “Do you need so much water to rinse a tiny pan? close that tap now…”

Incident 2: Yesterday, few minutes past 8 in the morning. I had to attend an early morning discussion scheduled at 8:30 and so wanted to leave home soon. I was so impatient that I wasted almost half of my bowl of cereal in the sink ignoring the voice in me that said “You are so lame to waste that food, can’t you spend a couple of minutes on your breakfast?”

Incident 3: Few days back, after ordering a seemingly attractive dish at the Thai restaurant, I was disappointed to find it bland in spite of my request to make it spicy. I wasted it and was least motivated to get a box and take the food home. I was strongly ignoring the feeling that said “You are wasting food idiot! Don’t you realize that?”

All the above not so important incidents, which seemed trivial to me till then gained importance after watching this ad. It was an ad by a Mass. Gen hospital doctor who was requesting for more food grains, potable water and medicines for the refugee camps in Darfur. She was one of the International Medical corps who were fighting the darfur crisis. She was explaining the extreme scarcity of water, food grains and medicines at the camp. With world nations failing to contribute at least half the aid requested by the United Nations, the doctors were having difficult time fighting starvation. The scene turned more terrible when she showed us an African mother sitting in a tent, a feet away with her almost-dying 2 year old kid. Having lost hope on the small one, she was fighting to keep her other two children alive by feeding them with water and stale food. Worse part is that these elderly ones can’t go out of the camp for water or food as there were merciless rebels waiting for a chance to spray bullets on these poor stick figures. Though safe in the camp, they are indeed trapped to death due to lack of food, water and medicines.

After watching this ad, my immediate action was to spend few hours learning more about the sudan support program in the unicef website, investigating about it and then finally donated a humble sum that I can afford for the UN emergency program. However, this act of donation was not enough to quench my grief. I realised that I failed to appreciate the value of abundant resources that I have access to. This ad made me appreciate their value than ever before, be it my food, environment,water, time or any other resource. In fact, it is this feeling in me that would benefit my community more than a single act of donation.

Now that i have written this post, I would no longer agree with someone who says “I just can't survive without my cell phone”….Oops, I better remember this post, whenever I wash my dishes…