Wednesday, November 17, 2010

What is my response - Lessons from Sunitha Krishnan

I had a long chat today with a friend on some of the stuff I have been writing about recently. The question we were discussing was whether in today's world, it was possible to practically apply idealistic principles. From the time we are born most of us undergo a subtle indoctrination by the world that surrounds us that teaches us that money, possessions, power and comfort are the principal avenues for happiness. And since the pursuit of these virtues requires us to be motivated, driven and often selfish, caring for others, especially those on the margins, is called 'idealistic' and is deemed to difficult for 'normal' human beings. This is a question that I have wrestled with a lot recently - is it foolhardy to make risky decisions that benefit others but do not seem to have any personal benefit? My friend suggested a similar thought. Altruism and service are for the Mother Teresas of this world. Not for you and me.....

As I was thinking about this, I watched again an old TED video of Dr. Sunitha Krishnan, which is doing the rounds on facebook. I have been following her blog, so hearing her speak about what she does was a moving experience. And it gave me an answer to my question. Here was an ordinary woman, whose simplicity and passion are obvious, who is at the heart of an 'idealistic' crusade that any normal person would steer clear of. And her call to the technological and business bigwigs seated in the room was simple - don't just sit in the comfort of the air-conditioned hall and discuss these issues. Don't look for excuses to justify why you cannot respond to these issues. You don't need to be a Mother Teresa or a Mahatma Gandhi. In your limited circle, find at least one way you can respond.

The cry rings out loud and clear. In every place on earth, there is injustice. In every corner, there is someone who needs a helping hand. And in our country, the needs are so obvious that they do not need to be repeated. Do I have a response to that cry? It is a sobering thought. Time and tide wait for no man. And here I am, struggling to understand what my response can be.... I need Your wisdom and guidance, Oh Lord....

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