Angels on Earth #ChennaiRains

Chennai’s floods have taught us a lot.  While it’s reminded us, in developing countries especially, that there’s a reason cities are planned a certain way and that nature or climate change is not something you can ever take lightly, its also taught us a whole load of other lessons.

Agreed, our country’s governing body is certainly not one of the best, our corporations are not the worlds’ finest and truck-loads of relief material have had trouble entering the city.  However, what has turned up trumps is, beyond all this, the feeling of solidarity that all of us Indians have had towards one another.  The belief that there still exist angels among us here on earth.  That a community working together saves more lives than a million individuals on their own. 

We’ve had Sikhs servehot meals from Gurdwaras and Muslim organizations quietly sending in volunteers to clean temples as well.  The citizens of Chennai have stood up for each other, helping distribute relief material, organizing rescue drives, and even more people helping at remote villages; more than anything, random people opened up their homes to strangers, and religion and caste meant nothing no more.  This, in a time where the trending phrase around the world stays “you’re no Muslim, bruv!”

We’re not a big team, here at The Ashoka Tree, and neither are we a big enough NGO to afford huge truck-loads of relief or hundreds of volunteers.  But what we are, is a group of people who still care.  There are times when we’ve been just two pairs of hands packing boxes and times when we’ve not had enough money to fund what we want to do.  We once met a man who helps out at the General Hospital here in Ernakulam, Kerala, who, when asked where he gets his funds from, replied “God provides everything, I don’t do any fundraising!”  It is now that we realize how, we don’t really need to work too hard for volunteers or funds, “God provides everything” that we need, especially when it’s a good cause. 

This is where the miracle lies.  Things happen like they should.  Angels walked into our lives, having collected monetary funds, collected hundreds of donated saris, helped us find wholesalers for our donation items and most of all, were there to help. 

The biggest moment for us, as we organized our relief material and the places we needed to send them to - was the heart-wrenching moment when we realized we couldn’t afford transport to Chennai and we knew nobody who could help personally.  Having called dozens of transport officials, just when it seemed like we could find no place else other than the one organization who was charging us Rs 6000/- for each 25 kg of the consignment we planned to send, we made our last call for the day to bus services running between the two cities.

There indeed are angels on earth - who have transported over three dozen huge cartons for us –  all completely free of charge.  Here’s where we, at The Ashoka Tree, have started believing in the power of humanity again.  Here’s where we believe we have angels among us.  Thank you to those two unknown gentlemen at the end of the line who said, “go ahead, just bring us the boxes you need to send, and we’ll get it across for you”.  Here’s to the guys who picked those up and gave them to the people who needed these things.  Most of all, here’s to you who contributed and helped.  You are why we are here today, and why we’ll be here tomorrow.  Here’s to angels on earth!!


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