Empowering And Positive Change- Not Possible Without “I”

Posted by Ekta Shah
January 25, 2017

I am not officially working with any NGO even though I would love to one day. I have always tried my level best to help someone in every possible way. I write on social issues which plague our society and, for me, nothing could be better than positive approach filling the vacuum. But I usually get fire from others, or a tagline that tells me that I alone cannot change the world.

I know, I don’t live in a dreamland. I alone cannot change the mindset of people. They will be the same and will follow through their deeds whether wrong or right. I am sorry if it sounds preachy but I can’t control my emotions when people around me question my willpower and integrity to bring a little positive change.

To start with, I know of an old couple who stay near my apartment. They retired a long time back and are managing things on their own without external support. They don’t have any pension and have to manage with the savings they made while working. Old and without a source of income, they have dedicated their lives to help cancer patients and underprivileged children. Every month they visit one government run cancer hospital (children section) and help them with their basic requirements. Like handmade scarves (as the patients lose their hair in chemotherapy), stationary items, biscuits, sprouts, toothbrush, toothpaste and all things which they cannot afford to buy on daily basis.

I have always tried to help that couple in whatever way I can and even by publicizing their commendable work so that others get to know and reach out to them too. One day, while I was just interacting with the old lady, she said, “One needs to give back to humanity/society.” Everyone lives and earns for them but out of that even if a little we can give back in any form then we can help fill the vacuum. I was convinced with those words and really believe them to be true.

They are toiling at this age. For whom? Is it really a thankless job? When they have the option to sit and spend their time in chit-chatting with other old-age groups then why should they put their hard earned money to help unknown persons? Adding to that, in this age and limited resources they can’t afford luxury for themselves. There is no compulsion for charity and no one is going to question them. It’s not necessary to have a huge bank balance to help others.

It’s more of an attitude, a virtue, to help others. No one can motivate others to help the needy by writing or by giving lectures. Even then there are many who don’t want to help them in any way.

I am a big fan of that old couple and of all those people who keep extending their helping hands to many without bragging and expectations. Before retirement, the old lady helped visually impaired children to read and make audio cassettes out of their curriculum books. This helped them to learn and understand better!

The best part for her was the happiness which could be seen in the “Thank you” greeting cards from those children and the satisfaction she got when the children communicated only love and compassion. Some of her older students keep expressing their gratitude as she has helped them meet their success.

What if the old couple had thought that they could do nothing to change the society for the better? There are many people who keep writing on social issues and face the brunt as they only give lectures, but what if those lectures click with like minded people?

I remember a case where a small girl was molested in school. Facebook was full of rage. People were convinced that this will keep on happening and that nothing could be done. Were their concerns limited to typing or did they really want to contribute from their end? I was one of the volunteers who took to the streets with placards, signing petitions. I also saw the real face of people as they said, “Nothing will change.”

Somebody asked me, “Why you are getting into all this trouble unnecessary? Is it because you are the mother of two daughters?” I was surprised that even good work people assume the purpose of your own benefit. I clearly told that I was doing it because I needed a change and that I didn’t know about others but I would keep contributing every positive thing that I could.

Similarly, when we all talk about the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan (Clean India Campaign), everybody wants a clean country but how many really contribute to it on an individual level? As for me, I have taught my children to not throw even a single toffee wrapper on the road, no matter how filthy it already is. This has now become their attitude and they share it with their friends.

Change is not something which will come in the blink of an eye. It will surely come with us, and we have to start this with “I” rather than “you” or “they”!

I know one thing for sure, every number counts and every single effort matters. No matter what society will tag you as there are many change makers and if they would have thought in a similar manner, then this place wouldn’t be worth living. It’s always better to spread positivity rather than criticizing those who have a little attitude to help others!

PS: These thoughts are completely my own and do not intend to hurt anyone. The views expressed may differ for each individual.