Saturday, January 08, 2005

Putting back the pieces

The Tsunami came and went taking so many innocent lives with it. Although I was in Chennai when the quake occured, it wasn't until that evening {when the screens on my TV started relaying images}, did I realize how devastating that quake turned out to be. Tens of thousands lost their homes and many more lost their lives. Its difficult to tell how I feel - lucky to be alive or otherwise. Maybe I can leave that to the abstract word we all love to hate - fate.

But after this incident, the one thing I keep thinking about is how insignificant our life is on this planet. We come and we go. Its very natural. But the fact that none of us know when and how we are going to die is quite scary.

Its pretty amusing to see how we react when we are stuck with disasters of great magnitude - like the war on Iraq or natural disasters like the Tsunami. It shows you the fragility of existence. You tend to be grateful for what you have. It makes you want to be a better person and to lead a more upright life. How long will these lessons that we learnt from such calamities stay with us? Or will it be a matter of days before we become tired of the same news and block out all those images returning back to our own greedy ways? And even if it does, can a miniscule of goodness remain and accumulate over time and make us *better* people.

Its nice to see so many people helping out with the relief activities. The private organizations and NGOs are doing tremendous amount of work, as compared to the government, to bring back normalcy to the lives of the survivors who once had that privilege. Although hoardes of people are contributing, it makes more sense in finding out what people need and getting those things rather than contributing whatever you can imagine of. As Amit Verma writes ..
We all have old clothes in our cupboards which pile up, and emergencies like this give us a chance to both get rid of them and to assuage our conscience. Giving old clothes is counter-productive, and they now constitute a particularly irritating form of garbage, lying in dirty heaps along most roads in coastal Tamil Nadu.
Its a sad state of affairs here. We have a government that isn't doing much. To top that we are still facing issues that we thought we were through with. However, inspite of all this, there is still hope. Hope for a better tomorrow and a better nation. From all what I've been following, I feel that the tsunami has created an enduring panorama of human spirit in a inhuman state.


At 4:20 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

adel...from what i've come to hear though quite surprising, it seems the families of fishermen from Nagapattinam have received the compensation promised by the Govt., viz. Rs.1 lakh per family. A good friend o' mine who'd gone down for the relief work gave me this info. Well there are other botherations (got to be!) but then let's not blame the Govt. for everything. 

Posted by muzaffar

At 4:39 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


I'm not blaming the government for not doing anything. But the question is, are they doing enough?
With regard to the compensation, there needs to be proper census that enumerates the details of each house than just merely taking the headcount (apparently, there's no official list of the number of residents in the villages that were affected). This would help not only in curbing compensation fraud but also give very little scope for the government officials to be corrupt. This unfortunately, is not happening at the moment. 

Posted by adel

At 1:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Adel, let me jus share a view, no offense meant. Coming to the issue regarding old clothes, i think it is a matter of the extent to which the people are affected. I had once taken a trip down fore shore estate - which happens to be one of the most affected areas along the marina coastline, after the Tsunami tragedy. My observation was quite bizarre. In some areas, clothes were strewn around like garbage(obviously old clothes donated by people), wheras in the worst-hit areas, people barely had anything to wear. So i dont think it is quite fair to blame people who donate old clothes, mind you, when i say old clothes - i mean the decent ones. Not torn or damaged ones, and of course undergarmenst shud never be donated, i am serious, cos there were such cases reported.
Ok , keepin in mind, the decent clothes - which might have become too small for ppl or ones they dont use - whats wrong in donating them? See not all people can afford to buy new clothes or spare that much money to help the Tsunami victims. So they are doing what they can, to help their fellow human beings. And i dont think its fair to go agianst them. Rich people donating clothes which were used beyond recognition, is not what i am talkin about. I am referring to the high percentage of our population who can afford very little.
Now let me come back to the point i stressed upon first. The donation people give, depends on the state of the people who receive it. Take a person who once lived with dignity, now his house is no more and he has nothin left. He is walkin on the street with barely anything to cover his body. If someone offers him clothes to jus barely cover himself, will he say " no , i need new clothes" ? He wont.. Same thing u offer to the less affected, who have enuf to wear atleast, they'll throw the clothes by the road side, and to go with it , a few curses too ....
Hence i guess the donations need to be rated, depending on the need of the hour, and the affordability of the donor. We are facing a natural disaster, we are not on a rejuvenating camp, making people happy by giving them new clothes. We first need to barely cover them, the next step - wud be new clothes.  

Posted by Anonymous

At 2:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Note: The previous comment - posted as anonymous - is mine. Forgot to tag my name :-) 

Posted by johnny boy

At 9:27 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


In the interest of the people, I'd agree with what you say. But you got your point wrong. The reality now is people who onced lived with dignity are the very people who are rejecting these old *good-condition* clothes. Imagine yourself in that situation. You'll see the point.

I suggest you take a look at the following -

Desptaches1 - Clothes and garbage

The Clothes have it 

Posted by adel


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