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.