I had never thought that nostalgia could be so powerful and fulfilling. On Saturday last, Sudarshan and I had been to Bangalore to meet with old friends – many of whom we had not met for the last 30 years. These were schoolmates of ours at the St.Joseph’s Indian High School in Bangalore, wherein we all had spent six eventful years. Kumaraswami and Kiran Basappa coordinated this event and we met at the BTC Club. More than 20 of them had come and we were thrilled to hear that they had set aside time for us to share about SVYM’s work. Many of them came directly from work while a few traveled long distances to be there. What was heart-warming was the love, affection and camaraderie that was evident there. Thoughts about the fun-filled times we had, the tears and stories of laughter that we shared, the coming to terms with the realities of life and the passage of time – all this and more happened in the four hours that we spent there.
What really impressed me was the fact that each one of them wanted to give back not just to our Alma Mater, but also to society as a whole. Each one resonated with the feeling that we had to do our bit to this great Nation of ours. One of the dangers of ‘social work’ is that we sometimes forget that every member of society is as much concerned as we are in its upliftment. We sometimes make the egoistic mistake of presuming that only we social workers are the ones who engage in societal good. This meeting convinced me that personal material success does not distance a person from society, but on the other hand it enhances his desire to explore newer ways to engage. I found all our friends serious and deeply committed to giving back – all that they were seeking were ways in which to engage. They wanted to have a pragmatic and sustainable method of staying engaged.
Sudarshan and I laid out our requests – from Palliative Care to the Vidyakiran projects, from the construction of our V-LEAD building to the MDM scholarships. All of them promised to participate, not just with their donations but physically too. They have all promised to visit and spend a day or two with us. I am sure that they will soon do this. This visit not just gave me hope, but also reinforced in me the power of friendships and the innate goodness that pervades mankind. We only need an excuse to spark it off.