Thursday, February 14, 2008

If you have the Will, you can serve the Pill

Last month I was chatting with one of my batchmates, who organises volunteer medical camps every month, in Bangalore. He works for one of the top 10 companies in the world, so I thought his schedule must be quite demanding. I was prodding him about the kind of people who volunteer for these camps. He mentioned about two kinds. The first kind, try and make an occasional appearance from time to time and do their best. What might be the reasons for their not being more regular? They usually say, weekends are the only times we get to spend with families, after our busy office schedules during the week. Though the camps are a noble thing, one also needs to spend time with the family. So they try and make it whenever they can. Also, travelling from one end of the city to another is a nightmare in daylight.

The other kind are a handful who attend every month no matter what. Some doctors, it seems, drop into Bangalore, from Kerala or Mangalore travelling overnight, at their expense, just for the sake of this camp, carrying medicines that can be used at the camp. They reach the camp after freshening up at the bus-stand hotels and grabbing a quick breakfast. They plan out their trips to the medical camp with the same anticipation as if they were planning for a campfire resort. They find it fulfilling to use their skills and services in the noble venture, in addition to the same kind of work they do during the week at their respective hospitals. Come on, everyone doesn't have this luxury, you might say. Luxury? Probably only the bus is luxury category, but the travel wouldn't be. One might think, they are singles or their families aren't demanding etc., but it isn't the case. Lot of people do that for a living. It's quite common to find people who work in one city the whole week, take the weekend bus to go home, spend the weekend and hop back to office on Monday. The weekend crowds on routes like Bangalore-Hyderabad, Chennai-Bangalore, Chennai-Madurai comprise a lot of these people and some of them even hop-stop-jump when the direct buses are full. These doctors might often be one of those non-descript commuters, just that they do it for a different motive. They could do the same kind of good work wherever they live, right?, but it seems they find these camps more fulfilling and want to be a part of it. These are matters of the heart, and as they say, your heart is in the right place when you vibe well with a community.

How do you manage, I asked him. This guy was a newlywed and I found his enthusiasm in bringing the camp together was as much the same before his marriage. He said, I have the same issues as the first kind. But I plan it out well in advance. I make sure the other weekends in the month are spent with the family and in great fun. Since I have a 5-day week, I spend the Saturday at home, fixing things, taking care of household stuff and taking the family out etc. So they actually don't mind when I shoot off to the camp one Sunday a month, he said. And I motivate myself by looking at these doctors. It's purely a question how you balance your different needs, give a certain amount of time to each of them. Although it may not be the same pattern, if on an average, each one is given its rough due, then there is no problem catering to all the needs. It's not easy, in the beginning you have to stick it out, but if you are juggling balls anyway, might as well catch one of those that might help you feel good at the end of the day. One might ask: what about life after kids are born? Or will the same motivation remain 5 years later? While these are hypothetical questions, I think that once someone learns this art of balancing all the needs and recognize nourishment of the soul as one of the basic needs, then the specific situations wouldn't matter, because you know how to will, and swim your way through.


  1. Good observation and done the job of interviewing and commenting like a pro! Gives us folk also something to think about. thanks!

  2. well said namaji
    let me add my quote

    "life is balance
    manage it".
    --- vinay

    sorry Mother Theresa i think i have copied ur style


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