“Back in 2015, I was working in Bangalore. Around the time when the floods hit Chennai, I lost contact with one of my friends back here and it sent me down a spiral. Since her parents were also in their hometown, I came down to Chennai to check on her and was glad to note that she was doing well. But however, facing ground reality here hit me quite differently than watching it all behind a screen. There were requests flooding every social media platform.
Setting out on one such rescue operation for the first time pulled me in heads first and I dove into volunteering without a second thought. The state of things at the ground level were far more alarming than however it was projected. I started helping on an individual level and then slowly, there began to form a community of people with whom we started helping with various requests from rescue operations to distributing dry rations and such.
Since then, I have been actively contributing in different ways. I have come to earn the badge of trust worthiness amongst those who know me so requests keep flooding me throughout the year for school fees and such! I post these requests in different places and sometimes tag the different area politicians on Twitter and that has helped in garnering attention and help with different causes.
But the irony is the way people react to my work, sometimes hailing me as the god and other times reprimanding me for giving out too much. I have received my fair share of backlash for always taking on requests, and spending way too much than what is possible.
When the first lockdown rolled in, I was caught in an uncertain situation and it pushed me to diversify my avenues for income. Working as a filmmaker, I have always had a flair for costume designing. So when uncertain times hit me, I set out to work out a creative way to earn. I started a design label where I would post out designs and once the orders were placed, I would pick out the fabric and stitch out the clothes for the customer. It was an instant hit and slowly with time, we opened a physical store which was furnished completely with the scraps we picked from different places. We have another newly opened store in another part of the city and whatever I make from these, I set aside a portion for charity every month.
The way I see it, all of us have the power to make a ripple impact on this world. It doesn’t take a lot and crowd funding has helped us understand how even a single penny can make a world of difference. I just want people to accept that it is a part of life for most of us and we don’t really need to be praised to high heavens or admonished as seeking attention or overdoing it. I wish for a world where volunteering becomes a part of a normal life without much fuss or ado.”
#service #journey #COVID19 #volunteering #people #help #crowdfunding #motivation #society #inspire #Chennai #HumansofMadras