Chennai Floods – Personal Experience

In my previous post, I did write about my experiences with Chennai floods and what we did as a team in the company. While this was a great learning experience with some tremendous team effort, I had a surprise in store at home.

Being a busy-bee and discussing about the Chennai floods at home got my kids interested. I told the impact of the devastation it had caused and shared some images with them.

My kids’ school started a drive to collect material, clothes and other essentials. The first surprise was the ease with which they gave their old unused clothes that were washed and preserved without batting an eyelid. We were pleasantly surprised and sent a silent prayer to the almighty.

The best was yet to come. When the circular about the essentials came, I wanted to test the resolve of my daughter. She is a very stingy lady who doesn’t part with the money that she has saved over years. I told her that she can buy stuff as long as she is ready to fund it.

Bam !! On my face, she gives me a princely sum of Rs. 500 out of her collection. We bought stuff for Rs. 645 (rest funded by dad) and split across the sis-bro combo and was delivered to school today.

My kids are one heck of rockstars and I am damn proud of them !!! Of course, I am also happy that they are able to relate to the condition of the needy and identify that we should be giving to help the needy.. Great start.. Hoping that the same trend will continue in future.. Fingers Crossed..

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Chennai Floods – Professional Experience

Chennai and coastal Tamil Nadu saw nature’s fury in it’s most raw, unhindered and pristine glory. The devastation caused to lives was beyond comprehension and the cities were damaged beyond comprehension. This dance of gore by mother nature caught everyone unawares.

Disturbing times call for immediate action and this was pretty evident in the way some of the eminent citizens of Chennai responded to this natural calamity. Though a lot of people were involved, the major drivers were RJ Balaji, Actor Siddarth, Singer Chinmayi and many more such Tollywood personalities.

All these incidents forced us to take some action and man, did we take or what?? AMD CSR team launched a collection drive to collect funds and deliver the necessary essentials to a NGO or better deliver it ourselves. From the onset, we were very clear that we didn’t want to take the easy way out of just paying the money to some NGO.

We were lucky that there were multiple people who had very important information that could aid us in our planning. Ganesh Gopalasubramaniam (GG) had taken a lead ahead of us and visited Chennai and affected areas already with his friends. His experience was very crucial in deciding our course of action.

We came up with Packs viz., Grocery Pack, Health & Hygiene Pack, Combo Pack and Ready to Eat pack, each conveniently designed to be Rs. 400 and solicited sponsorship for the same. I have to admit that I was very apprehensive initially and shared my concerns/initial targets with our good friend from HR.

Man, was I ready to be surprised?? AMD Family opened their hearts and wallets and showered us with a lot of donations. I would say that even though the number of donors was small, the total collection was a wonderful tidy sum.

Next stop, buying these materials and ensuring that the same reaches the needy. Six of us took on the onerous task of buying stuff from our packs in bulk and ensured that every single paisa was utilized most efficiently both from donors’ perspective as well as the recipients. Today, 14th Dec 2015 was a momentous day when we were able to buy a lot of stuff and deliver the same to the NGO. All our purchases were handed over to Goonj, who are doing some commendable job in ensuring that contributions are handed over to the needy.

Special mention to the entire team:- Nehal Shah, Rupa, Ganesh (GG), Shoeb and Uday, while Sree, Muthu and Deepak were with us in spirit.

This is truly our humble contribution and we certainly hope that it makes a small difference in the lives of those who unfortunately had to bear nature’s anger.

Some pics from our exhausting yet satisfying experience.

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CSR

In the previous post, I did mention about CSR i.e. Corporate Social Responsibility fast becoming an integral part of corporates. There are numerous laws being passed to ensure that all business setups are mandated to contribute to the society.

2015 marked the kick-off of CSR formally in AMD. It’s not that we didn’t have CSR activities earlier. Before I delve into the activities of this year, I would like to highlight one activity in 2014.

Being the benefactor of a few organizations, it had been my dream to fund school kids’ education. An opportunity presented itself in 2014, wherein our colleagues came up with a plan to sponsor school kits for a few under-privileged children. Taking a lead on this along with my good friend and our HR partner, Smitha, we set out on a collection drive for the sponsorship. With some push, we were able to gather sponsorship for 100 kits, which at that time, I felt was a great milestone. Until I found out that our colleagues from Hyderabad had beat us by a large margin. Competition apart, it was really heart-warming that we are able to make such a difference.

AMD India got it’s first CSR champion in 2015 in the form of a truly motivated individual, Nehal Shah. Knowing him for past 6 years, I knew that the drive and focus required for this activity was something that was natural to him. We had multiple activities in the last quarter and here is a snapshot of what we have been able to achieve in the last quarter of 2015.

AMD tied up with United Way of Bengaluru to channelize the CSR activities. Through this connection, there are a couple of activities that have been kicked off this year.

Vidyaranya Trust

Vidyaranya Education and Development Society (VEDS) has been working on areas of destitute children, differently abled children, destitute women and old age people. We attended a program kick-off where our colleagues entertained the inmates. After a formal kick-off, we participated in the activities which were sponsored through AMD’s CSR activities and an excellent lunch hosted by the trust.

  • Candle making
  • Paper Cover making
  • Broom making

Some pics from this very wonderful experience..

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Pic 1: Discipline was very evident in the facility and this picture proves it beyond words.

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Pic 2: AMD Colleagues engaging with the inmates

Tree Plantation – SayTrees

AMD celebrated a global volunteer day which was celebrated in Bangalore too. Together, we planted 150 new trees through SayTrees, that will provide shelter and restore some amount of greenery in the ever-increasing concrete jungle. Some pictures from this amazing and a little tiring experience

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Pic 3: AMD Volunteers ready for Tree plantation drive
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Pic 4: Everyone is listening with rapt attention to the instructions
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Pic 5: CSR Champion Nehal Shah leaving his imprint as a proof of participation

Women’s Empowerment Program – Triveni Nagar, K.R. Puram

Continuing our engagement with United Way of Bengaluru, the next activity was the launch of a Women’s Empowerment Program. This was definitely a learning experience for a lot of us, wherein a local money lender herself suggested that all women should become self-reliant and self-sufficient. Pretty amazing.. Some pics from the event..

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Pic 6: AMD Volunteer Muthu and our inspiration leader, Jay Hiremath

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Pic 7: Jay and Prathewsha from AMD Women Forum sharing the dias

Chennai floods was an unexpected calamity and the way we have responded is an inspiration in itself. This deserves a separate post which will be next from me. Watch this space..

उत्तरदायित्व

उत्तरदायित्व means responsibility and I am referring to the calling of one’s own soul towards the wider society. CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) is one of the fastest and growing words in today’s business world. It’s really heart warming that organizations are going out to make a difference in the lives of under privileged or deprived. Being part of this journey is pretty humbling, soul satisfying and plainly, a learning experience.

I start of this year’s balancing with a post on social responsibility and how my life has been changed over the past one year. Mind you there are another 19 days in the calendar year 2015 and a lot can happen.. Yet, I try to summarize this amazing journey over 2015..

Traffic jams are no strangers to Bengaluru and travelling to office is one of the most arduous and painful experiences for a majority of Bengalureans.. For me, this time spent in the office bus or cab is MY TIME, which gives ample scope for reading, reflecting, introspecting, plain chit-chatting and of course a quick nap which has become a regularity these days.

Anyways, during my tenure in ST-Ericsson, we had a bus travelling from my place to office located in Outer Ring Road. In the bus, we formed a back-benchers’ group which was basically a boys only (ahem.. some of us still consider ourselves as boys 😉 ) group. In this group, couple of us i.e. me and a good friend Lalith Kumar Seetharaman, were the eldest most and usually our discussions used to stray into religion, philosophy, sprituality, meaning of life, realities of life etc..

During one such discussion, Lalith narrated a guideline laid out by his guru, where he proposed that we should be able to set aside 10% of our income for charitable or social causes. I was aghast initially considering that 10% is a significant number and went into a slumber. However, this conversation haunted me for a long time and I was chiding myself for not doing anything about it. Well.. life has interesting turns..

Facebook introduced me to the story of an interesting individual Karthee and his volunteer group, Team Everest. Reading about him, I got the shock of my life. How can a guy with a good paying job take up this interesting initiative and jump into helping the needy. Something changed.. Forced me to get out of my rut & take some action.. I signed up as a donor and started contributing to the cause monthly regularly. So here I was with the first real action of 2015..

Ganesha festival is a great time and being the guy I am, I tend to donate to the Ganesha Pandals. Avinash of the back-benchers group and my colleague, usually collects funds for the Ganesha that he and his friends keep in Sheshadripuram. During the festival, they also do their bit to the society and donate stationary, blankets etc to the needy. Well, this year, I decided to do something different instead of donating money. We went & bought books and pencils from the wholesale market, which was given away to school going kids as part of the festival. Though I was not physically present, I was satisfied and happy.

Deepavali is the festival of lights, which unfortunately is pretty dark for the less fortunate. While budgeting for this year’s crackers, as a family we decided to do something different. We bought 2 boxes of crackers (combos) extra. One was given to our neighbor Gurkha’s kids [there are quite a few kids :(]. The other was given to really deprived kids who stay in the same locality as my kids’ nanny. The kids were super excited to be sharing the crackers and contrary to my concern, this incident didn’t elicit any response from them.

Throughout the year we keep buying the stationary and I make it a point to send some of the stuff to the kids around my nanny’s house.

 

Interestingly, we had an official CSR kick-off in office this year, which I am really fortunate to be part of. I will write more about my experiences in a following blog-post.

Year is yet to end and a new one is about to dawn.. yet these experiences will remain immortal..

To my friend Lalith, I haven’t been able to make it to 10% just yet, but if I really account for all the minor stuff, maybe I am hitting a number close to 6-7%, which in itself is pretty satisfactory.. There is still some way to go to achieve what your Guru advocated, but a start has been made..

P.S: Why am I writing this? Is it for self-glorification or advertising that I did this and that?? Absolutely NOT.

  • This blog is mainly a reminder for myself about the bar which I have set.
  • I also hope that my kids read these posts in future and try to imbibe some of the values.
  • Lastly, if this blog inspires atleast one more person to think and act in this direction, I would be happy that I was able to influence just a bit and make a difference.

Gaata Sauda

Title means Profit-Loss which unfortunately is an integral part of every human’s life. Creation of Balance Sheet is of foremost importance to every business and usually, year end or financial year end stock taking is pretty common.

Last few years, I have been working on financial stock taking in December where I compare my projections versus actuals and try to analyze where I did good and where I missed. Of course, every new year starts with a bunch of feel-good grandiose resolutions which fizzle down by the time calendar changes to Jan 20th.

2015 was no different and started with a bunch of resolutions.  I am yet to analyze where I stand vis-a-vis with my resolutions, but have a feeling that this year has been much better than the previous one.

So, while I embark on this journey of balancing my finances, I am doing something different and trying to balance life. What !!! I know.. I can expect the reaction. Well, I have been thinking on a lot of aspects about life, it’s harsh realities, the way it unfolds and the reasons for the same.

Life is all about different profits (happiness) and losses (sadness). Why not balance it too??? So, in a series of posts tagged “year-end“, I plan to share my experiences and musings of life as I see it..

Thoughts, Debates, Suggestions, Bits, Bytes… everything is welcome..

Introduction

I have been blogging anonymously or not so last few years, thereby creating multiple blogs for different reasons. Yes, the independence of the free community provides abundant opportunity like these and I was really thinking if I should continue one of them as a my view to the world.

Well.. I thought why not have a blog in my own name.. So here it is.. This will remain my official blog from henceforth and will contain all blog posts related to all the topics that I care about..