Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Ding Dong Bell

Because that’s as good a title as any for the nonsensical post that is to follow.

So I’ve continued to be insanely busy through August too. My work has suddenly picked up pace. The distance learning course continues to be demanding – lots of readings, regular assignment submissions etc. On top of this, I have taken on two personal projects – both of which require significant investment of time, effort and money. And because we are no staying with the in-laws, we have all sorts of family obligations to fulfill. It’s a classic case of biting off way more than I can chew.

I like my days to be full and busy – but this is too much, I say. I constantly feel sleepy and exhausted. The sense of being hassled accompanies me all the time. My social life has come to a standstill. If I so much as plan to go out for dinner on a weekend, I start to feel guilty about the billion things on my to-do list. And to add salt to the wound, some of the things I have been working on fell through, and that put me in a blue funk for a while. The worst part is that this situation won’t change till November.

Alright, now I’m done with the whining.

The best part of this month was that Nike and I took a short holiday to Cambodia. Yay! So we got engaged on August 15th two years ago – and since we just need an excuse to travel and since this August 15th holiday gave us a long weekend, we took another 3 days off and set off for Cambodia. I wanted to go to Kerala since I had already been to Cambodia, but Nike was keen on Cambodia, and because of all his dashed birthday travel plans, I graciously gave in to his wishes. I also made it very clear that next time, I get to decide our holiday destination, mutual agreement be damned. Ahem!

So Cambodia – which was just Siem Reap, actually – was all things fun and interesting. We stayed in this lovely little boutique hotel with a nice pool, and the most marvelous staff, and a four poster bed. It was wonderful. We had a really good guide who took us around the most important temples around the Angkor Park region for the first two days. And on the third day, we got this super-sweet and super-talkative driver who took us to the temples in the outskirts, and to the floating forest.

On the last day we just got long, luxurious massages, hung out with other travelers, shopped at the local markets, and just soaked in the very touristy atmosphere of Siem Reap. It was a lovely holiday, but it was also tiring and too short. And since I had a bad cold from the time my flight from Bangalore took off, I had pretty much drugged myself throughout the holiday, so when I came back home I was rather disoriented. I’ve been saying that I need a holiday from the holiday, but nobody listens to me.

Now I must be off, for tonight we are going to the old city area to check out the Ramzan festivities, and eat Haleem. 

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

An Appeal

Smart Ass Bride in her recent post highlighted an urgent need. I am replicating her post below:
The UN needs 1.6 billion USD to save the lives of famine stricken Somalian refugees, especially the women and children. So far, they have been able to collect only half that amount.
Image credit : thehindu.com
Here is Ban Ki Moon’s appeal to the world’s people – it includes me and you.
This is a wake-up call we cannot ignore. Everyday, I hear the most harrowing reports from our U.N. teams on the ground: Somali refugees, their cattle and goats dead from thirst, walking for weeks to find help in Kenya and Ethiopia; orphans who arrive alone, their parents dead, terrified and malnourished in a foreign land…
..That is why I reach out today — to focus global attention on this crisis, to sound the alarm and call on the world’s people to help Somalia in this moment of greatest need. To save the lives of the people at risk — the vast majority of them women and children — we need approximately $1.6 billion in aid. So far, international donors have given only half that amount. To turn the tide, to offer hope in the name of our common humanity, we must mobilise worldwide.
Let us *please* awaken to the fact that we can do more than sparing a thought for them. The horror the images invoke in us needn’t be a one moment thing. We *can* do something here. We are not powerless to watch and let this go. My dollars and yours matter – Please do donate.
With as less as 7$, we will be able to provide a malnourished refugee child with ready-to-use therapeutic food. For 100$ we will be able to give someone a survival kit. These are not staggering figures, this is money we can spare – we don’t have to wait for our governments to donate.
You can donate online at the UNHCR website. You have the option of making a monthly gift or a single gift. I was able to make the payment successfully through the global portal for directly donating to the UNHCR. If you live in Australia/Canada/HK/US/China, you’ll also be able to donate through your national offices
Sometimes, cynicism / plain apathy overtakes us at these moments and makes us feel that there are people dying in our own country, that this might be beyond us, that the agency’s implementation and rescue efforts might not be flawless etc. That doesn’t preempt us from doing out bit. Nor will our arguments help that baby in the picture.
We feel helpless many times, when we are actually powerless to do anything but seethe and let it pass. This is **not** that time. We are not going to travel and deliver help directly, but we are empowered just the same.
Please spread the word on Facebook and your blogs. And do leave a line if you donate. It wouldn’t be boasting if it inspires another person to do the same! So much of our lives are laid open for all to see – in blogs, in Facebook posts. Why hide the best of us, especially when it can make a difference?
If you do not have a Visa/ Mastercard and would still like to donate, I can do it for you instead and forward the receipt to you. Please do leave a line in the comments section or drop a line at ramyachatter AT gmail DOT com.
I can’t help thinking that it could have been me or my family. Thank you for taking time to read the appeal.