Monday, July 11, 2005


The little boy in this picture is an orphan...
I was reading through Swahilya's recent post and I was moved into writing something about this very serious issue. Whenever I hear an orphan story, I feel that urge to do my bit to the society. I cannot believe that there are so many orphans on planet earth when there are so many people that can take care of them. We even name receptors in biology as orphans if there are no recognizable ligands that activate them. This could have happened to any of us, but we are all so incredibly lucky and can do something to help this cause.
How can we help as human beings? I have two aunts in Salem who have dedicated their entire lives to social service. They run a school for the poor children in our neighborhood. They teach them about the basics of living life and civics. I also teach them for a few days whenever I visit India. Interacting with those kids was a very special thing for me. The love and devotion that they show is just mind blowing. I was teaching them about various diseases and how they are transmitted and about prophylaxis just before the day I came back to the US, and one little boy stood up and asked me “Anna neenga ponapporam edhellam engalukku yaar solli thara pora?” (brother, who is going to teach us all this after you leave?). I just hung my head in shame after that; I did not know what to reply to that kid. I still do not know the answer. My heart is all set to go home and teach these poor children, but my mind is hell bent on staying here and finishing my education. Is it possible that I can stay here and do something about what is going on in India? Do I leave the past behind me and forget about these kids? Do I only listen to my mind and pursue a career in academics?
How many times have I thought about such things? How many times have I written about it? This is just the beginning…
I just felt like sharing this poem I wrote quite a while back. I felt that it reflected the mood I am in right now.
Eternal Slumber
I was searching
I couldnt find it
I ventured deeper inside
It was all darkness
I searched in vain
It seemed to be there
It dissappeared
I pondered deeper
My tunnel of darkness lit up
like a beacon of hope
It lingered in my heart
Is this my answer?
Time alone will tell
For at the end of the tunnel
There lies eternal darkness
Surrounded by the mysteries of the world
The question still lingers,
While I immerse in eternal slumber...


Narayanan Venkitu said...

Robbie, I feel happy and proud to be associated with you via Blogs. And my salutations to your aunt for their amazing work. God bless all of you.!

These lines Anna neenga ponapporam edhellam engalukku yaar solli thara pora?” (brother, who is going to teach us all this after you leave?). ...

made me heavy at heart.!

Your poem is great.!

ROBBIE said...

I cannot tell you how much that hurt me... somehow memories got revived and I forced myself to write it here for you to read.

Ram.C said...

good post on this issue...

eventhough countries are developing, no. of orphans are still going up irrespective of whether it is Singapore or India. Eventhough more facilities and opportunities provided here, the missing factor is love..

I agree that in our pursuit of career goals, we fail to contribute to the lives of more orphans with direct involvement. eventhough we may contribute in terms of money, our personal presence will add more to their life... When will it happen? Depends on each ones goals!!!

Raman said...

You hit the nail on the head. Lots of us think that just helping financially with a donation hither and dither is our service to mankind. But, that definitely is not the case. It is more our time and affection that these kids yearn for most.

I still remember this touching incident. A few years back, we had gone to visit and provide our contribution to a shelter for spastic kids past Thiruvanmiyur. Once we reached there, the kids seemed to just want to spend their time with us rather than anything else. I just could not get myself to leave that place. But, I did leave and here I am, far far away from them, in distance and in heart. :-(

What your aunt's are doing is real great. Kudos to them.

ROBBIE said...

hey ram and raman!
teaching and working with kids is a great experience, especially these deprived kids. At the end of the day, it is so satisfying.

cosmicblob said...

Hey Robbie,
It is nice to know that there are people like you out there who think about the underpriviledged children and care for them.

I had been to Sivananda Ashram in Chennai along with my friends to sponsor a lunch. It was heart wrenching to see so many children who did not have the privileges and life that those who have families have. How wonderful it would be if each family adopted and gave their love and affection to atleast one child.

Being here in the U.S., like you have mentioned, we are unable to directly interact with those children. But we have the option of still impacting their lives positively through organizations such as CRY (Child Relief and You). I am a member of CRY and we do our bit. Like they say helping hands are better than a kind heart.

I am just letting you know incase you are interested in contributing your time or in some way for the betterment and the rights of children in India.

Shiva said...

robbie & raman - u folks are right. While money is a definitive need, the other part is that real people need to spend time with these people in need - children or elderly and they love that a lot. And I believe that there are ways and means by which we can balance our professional life with social service, of course with a few sacrifices ..

ROBBIE said...

hey cosmic: thank you for visiting and sharing your experience. I am glad that you are doing your bit through CRY. I will surely try and do something through them once I reach an economically steady state. At present my income is the stipend I get in school for my PhD and it is just barely enough to take care of my own basics. I will surely keep your advice in mind and try and help in someway or the other.

ROBBIE said...

Shiva: You said it all! Just what I wanted to convey through this post.

Ganesh said...

Good post, next time I goto India
I am planning to 2 visit to place one is Udhavum Karangal, another one is near bangalore
Orphange for Girls and Boy run by Chitappa
He has been doing this for years now, mostly with support from NRI and local good hearted business people.

kaleidoscope said...

Its so true what someone already mentioned, lending a helping hand and spending time with the kids is so important. Donating money is very easy(which i too am guilty off).
“Anna neenga ponapporam edhellam engalukku yaar solli thara pora?” God! I would have cried at that moment.

.:: Rosh ::. said...

hey zaps, your post is quite 'thought provoking', and the pic with the post very disturbing. Were u trying to say another 1000 words thru the pic?
About your response to CRY activities, i'd like you to know its your 'time' & "commitment' which really matters not always the money. You still can do your part thru CRY if you are interested.

Arvind said...


Great !. Highly relevant topic no matter how the world has grown.

It is a very sorry state of affairs that, as all commenters have collectively pointed out, despite much monetary support, we have to sacrifice some of our own needs to spend time and shower affection on them.

Everytime, this kinda 'appealing to your inner-most core' topic comes up, one does not fail to wonder, why does anyone have to go through 'THE GRIND' ?

cosmicblob said...

Like ML has pointed out, it is not about you donating money. You can spread the word to people about the plight of children in India, raise awareness and get more people thinking about it than just you. That is what CRY is all about. Raising awareness through events - the outcome happens to be fund raising for the children. As much as showering love on these children is important, the undeniable fact is that money is needed to get these children off the streets and to a better life.

You don't need to be economically stable to do your bit. But I do understand that being a PH.D student, you may not have a lot of time on your hands. Probably, when you do, you can think about it.

Please don't think I am trying to promote CRY here (that's just a side effect ;-) )

sen said...

Great post.Nice poem.

Apart from the sensitive needs of the orphans, I wish there was a system in place, where all these childrens get their basic necessacities and education.

Like, govt can order all the schools to give free education for 5 orphan students in every class etc.

ROBBIE said...

ganesh: there arent enough people like that, lets join the gang.

kali ma: Life is just so filled with sorrow, lets search happiness by helping these little ones see light.

magic: the picture was meant to convey the mood I was in, I will look into the website CB has given me.

Arvind: Its true that we all have to go through THE GRIND one way or the other, but nothing is worse than leading a life of ignorance...

Cosmic: There is nothing wrong in promoting something good. Lets all promote CRY and make it a point to think about these things once in a while.Afterall we dont have that much of time left in the world so lets make the most of it. I will look up the CRY website soon.

Senthil: We have had this conversation before with Ganesh,the government of India is crippled we need to be the crutches and support our own people, there is no other way out.spirituality will only help to a certain extent what we need here is to be compassionate and sensitive.

ROBBIE said...

cosmic: I followed the link you gave me and registed with CRY america. Seems to be a nice thing to register. I hope I get time to volunteer for some of those events.
DO NOT STOP ADVERTISING FOR CRY...THERE IS NOTHING WRONG IN DOING SO. We advertise for stupid things, this is no sin!!

cosmicblob said...

Hey Robbie, Thanks for the encouragement. I am sometimes worry if people view it as my imposing my affiliations on them. Hence that disclaimer.

Yes - You can register with CRY and infact since there is no Action Center(AC) in Maryland, you can start one - you just need to get together with few others who are interested and you can do a lot. To give you a small sample, CRY Seattle Action Center raises around $150,000 - $200,000 per year. Imagine how much that would help towards the betterment of the children we are talking about. Ofcourse the Seattle AC is a well established one, but its ok to start small and do our bit - Just my honest opinion.

Infact, after this conversation I am wondering if we can do something together as a blogger community. Any ideas?

ROBBIE said...

Cosmic: You hit me with the hammer! I was at ganesh's place a couple of weeks ago and along with Senthil was discussing about what could be done for the betterment of human lives in India. This is a wonderful Idea. I think as bloggers we weild enough power to attract a large number of people. With the right approach we can make this work. I did register with CRY. Tell me about these action centres and what kind of work is required for setting one up. I am all for using my blogging space for such things. I think others like Ganesh, Senthil, Arvind, Raman, Eshwar and Thennavan surely wouldnt mind joining in. We first have to come up with a good idea though. This will require you to feed me with information about action centres and stuff.

kaleidoscope said...

Yeh this seams to be a good idea registering to CRY, but i am gonna wait till the end of this month to reg. due to someother reason.

ioiio said...

ungalukku ulla ipdi oru nallennamaaa.. guddu guddu.

Actually my college guyz(i.e students and alumni) are working day and night to help these people in an organization called "Pudiyadhor" near urapaakkam. Im planning to post some info regarding that in the near future..

And Its heartening that the youth(well that includes me)in India has taken up the cause

cosmicblob said...

Wow - nice to see the enthusiasm. A few ideas that crossed my mind are:
1. If we want to associate with CRY, we could probably start a Bloggers CRY Action Center which would be a Virtual Action Center.

2. If we want to create a separate Blogger's Virtual Social Organization - we could do that but probably will take more effort in setting it up.

Either way, I noticed that Thennavan has an IndiBloggers blog. This can be a very powerful method to reach out to all Indian bloggers registered.

Infact, if we take this forward steadily, I have a feeling that we can potentially create a powerful force of Indians working towards the upliftment and the future of India.

The advantage of a blog based social organization would be, easy and effective communication, wide outreach and appeal, ability to reach grassroot levels through bloggers in India and the WWW put to good use.

Your enthusiasm is infectious and it is catching up with me too! I am game for trying this novel approach to social work.

Why dont you start a group blog to discuss this and we will know how many are interested in the idea and if we have what it takes to execute it.


sen said...

Intresting development.I just registered at cry.Let's get more details on the role of what a volunteer can do??.we can spread the word, only when we are clear of what we are going to do.Talk to cosmic offline and get the details(BTW create an email for blog related communications and put it on ur profile).

cosmicblob said...

If you are in DC, there is an Action Center there - See link below for details:

ROBBIE said...

Kali ma: the registration is free, and you do not have to worry about anything much, so go ahead and register ASAP.

ioiio: We all got hit by the same spark you did... hope the awakening continues

Cosmic: I agree that thennavan would be the best person to catch hold of for such a thing. I have left a note on his comments section I hope he visits and reads this stuff and gets motivated.

Senthil: I agree with you, we need a solid plan, that is the reason why I have called on all of our DCblogomaniacs to help. I hope we all together come up with a good idea, infact this can be the topic of discussion for our next bloggers meet. What says you? I will try and get the Email up tonight. I have too much of work before that.

I will try my level best to keep things moving folks, but I can only work during the nights. So please wait till tonight for info about the Email address for the bloggers group and the planning is going to take some time...

Ganesh said...

Myself along with some other family member do through udavum karangal

Shiva said...

Any association of good people always leads to doing good activities ... nice initiative and discussion.. Let us put more concrete to what we want to do and move fwd.

Arvind said...


Great dude, we should work on this theme and as Siva said, try to come up with something concrete.

ROBBIE said...

I have created an EMAIL for discussing ideas about this issue,
This will be the official E mail of the DC BLOGGER GROUP... I would like all the DC bloggers to send me a mail first so I can pass on the password.

Raman said...

Great to see the enthusiasm your post has provoked. All it needed was a spark and thanks for providing that.

Prabz said...

Quite moving..
I think Mr.Vidyakar is doing a great job with "Udhavum Karangal".. You should add that too to this..

Ganesh said...


yes Vidyakar has been doing this for quite a long time, so is Shivananda Gurukulam. Both Udavum Karangal and Shivananda needs our support.

thennavan said...

Robbie, hope you saw my response to your reference to this post. Give me some time since I have to crystallize my thoughts on this aspect. Thanks.

ROBBIE said...

hey prabz: I dont know about vidyakar so I cant comment much

Ganesh: why dont you write about this person, and the foundation...

thennavan: Yes, I just read your reference. Please take your time and write a nice post with great ideas. I know you wont let me down on this... thanks

Swahilya said...

Hi Robbie: Quite a great response to thoughts you see. And thought leads to action. Great deeds spring forth from great ideas.
All the very best.

Venky Krishnamoorthy said...

Robbie, A very good post. The Indian Society should get over the "social stigma" of adoption.

It will be a very good idea, if you can collect funds, that you can forward to the school in Salem... just a thought

Jo said...

Robbie, This is a nice post. Made myself feel shy about just keep preaching but do nothing sitting before my computer. Really shaked me and am going to do something about it. Contribute or volunteer. Thanks for this post.

ROBBIE said...

Hey jo!
awesome! thats the spirit! well I am running out of words to say here so forgive me:P

Shuba said...

hey that was an excellent post