Thursday, August 1, 2013

"The selfish act of volunteering "(by Karthik Padmanaban -volunteer @ VRS center)

The selfish act of volunteering 

 Volunteering is a bit of a selfish act. At least, it is that way for me. Most people perceive it to be some altruistic service that we offer others, typically to some subset of a society who have not been as fortunate as us. However, it is so further from the truth that I am taking this chance to set the story right.

 I only gain whenever I go to Deepam, and gain tremendously.

 First - the warmth. The effect of a simple 2 hour interaction with a bunch of mischievous and innocent children is nothing short of therapy to an otherwise crafty corporate week that just spun past. The noise and giggles are music departed from the clicking keypads and obtrusive phone rings. Have no doubt – the welcome we get and the good mornings that we receive are as genuine as it gets. Soak it in.

 Then, we learn. We understand the disparity that exists in our society and the tribulations of children thrust into situations for no fault of theirs. We get to realize how fortunate are to have been gifted the parentage, upbringing, education and resources that we enjoy and very often take for granted – and it puts a lot of our pains and complains in perspective.

 We feel good. Especially when you see a kid who you have been guiding, construct a full sentence in English, read off a book, participate in plays and talk back in confidence, the enveloping feeling is massively rewarding. If the soul needs soup, this is the best kitchen in town.

 Finally, it’s fun! Tremendous joy. The volunteers at VRS are, downright and mildly speaking, a crazy bunch of people who get along like a house on fire.

 We sure come to Deepam to help and teach the kids, and we certainly hope they benefit, but I go back home having gained a whole lot more than I gave.

 - kp

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