Self, Service

Stuck in the business called life, most of the humans inevitably fall in the depths of the first few lines of the song Mad World by Gary Jules.All around me are familiar faces, worn out places, worn out faces, bright and early for their daily races, going nowhere, going nowhere. Their tears are filling up their glasses, no expression, no expression. The resolution to alleviate suffering around us shimmers with the rising sun and fades with it as the day’s done. Consumed by the continuation of living, all that’s left for the suffering around is sympathy. The decision to sacrifice our life for the benefit of others isn’t an easy option. That’s out of question for most of us.

Here comes the team of the NGO Aasaraa with an interesting philosophy. They feel that though sacrificing one’s life completely for benefitting others maybe a great endeavor, it’s one with poor feasibility and scope. Such altruistic wild-fire can hardly be kindled in many. However, they say, when a million matchsticks are lit at million precise places there is much more gain from the light than when few burning trees are strewn here and there.

So they ask their members not to sacrifice their lives but to find true happiness in it by attaining and balancing the pleasures of both the selfish and the selfless kinds. Members of this organization are either working in their offices or are retiring in their homes.  Altruism is their pastime, not their profession. They go to rehabilitation centers and orphanages on weekends. They give clothes to children. They buy shoes for them. Some teach virtues to them on Saturdays while some sit back in their homes and enjoy with their family feeling no guilt about not caring about the people around that day.


M. Rama Rao, the president, seemed to be a man retired from his job but not from his honesty. He says “In serving the society there are three major objectives for our NGO. 1. Extending financial support for medical and educational assistance required by the poor. 2. Aiding and maintaining homes for street-children. 3. Supporting old-age homes. It’s our fervent wish that like-minded people join and be partners in serving those who suffer from underserved want.”

One of the other members said with considerable firmness “We here believe in disciplined prioritization of our lives. When we are in our own lives, we enjoy that to the fullest. And where we are here to serve people, we do that like we are born just for that. Our meetings happen only if they are really required. They are short and to the point. We waste neither time nor money. In meetings, we serve neither tea nor coffee. In any context of our NGO, all money is for the poor, not for us, not even a penny. Our ideals and beliefs are too strongly held to give place for unnecessary formalities.”

Though social service is act of commendable humanity, the importance of the balance between selfishness and selflessness is indeed essential. NGO Aaasaraa’s approach to social service is pleasantly delightful. I hope that the importance of this balance is employed more rigorously by other similar organizations as this balance has the potential to be enough proliferating to cater to the present needs of the society.

Lakshmikanth Koundinya

Of Poe's heart, Russell's brain, Wilde's thought and Rand's strength

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