The Day I Ran ... For Hope.

Today has been a very satisfying day for me. I participated in an event called “Run For Hope”, organized by Lovedale Foundation. It was just a 5-km run intended to raise funds for constructing a school for the under-privileged children, the funds coming in the form of registration for the event.

The run itself was not anything special. It started around 9 am from Vittal Mallya road and terminated at the same place after about 35-40 mins. The event, attended by hundreds of Bangaloreans, was flagged off by Kannada film actor Ramesh Arvind. Good to know that the stars are involved in such noble causes. At first, I was kind of put off by the media presence at the venue; but later thought it’s a good way of spreading the word. After all, more the publicity such a foundation gets, the better.

I must say I had underestimated the effort it would take to run for 5 kms. I found myself constantly getting tired. I must have covered around 15-20% of the distance walking rather than running.

Throughout the run, I kept asking myself the same question again and again – Was participating in this run worth it? I mean, have I made a significant difference, or any difference at all?

My questions were answered when I completed the run and entered the playground from where we had started. About 20 kids from the foundation were there, clapping and cheering the runners to the finish. One boy of around 9-10 came up to me, offered me a Dairy Milk chocolate, and said “Thank You uncle”. And I must say I have never felt so proud before! This was a “thank you” coming from a kid who has been through a lot of turmoil at a very young age. The kids at the foundation are children of HIV+ parents, some abandoned, some previously exploited. At this tender age, they have faced fear, loneliness, uncertainty, exploitation – they have experienced it all. So a “thank you”, uttered by this boy on behalf of the entire bunch of kids, was nothing short of the greatest compliment ever given to me.

I am happy that I finally got a chance to do something that I have been advocating for a very long time. I just hope that this continues. After all, Hope was today’s central theme wasn’t it? Hope for the children; Hope for their future.

As I said at the beginning of this post – Today, the day I ran for hope, has been a very satisfying day for me.

10 year Old Kids Show the Way

This is a really encouraging example of children showing the way. This story is about Girish Koushik and Kishan Srikanth. Girish, a 10 year old boy from Mysore; is the Under-10 world chess champion. Until recently, he was considering quitting the sport. Reason – paucity of funds; and the (very unsurprising) apathy on the part of the Govt. You can read about it here

When Girish and his family had all but given up hope, they found help from unexpected quarters – from another child prodigy! An article titled “Children help little chess champ” appeared on Page 1 of the 23rd May Bangalore edition of The Times Of India (I am saying this because I did not find any corresponding article online). The article says that Kishan (a 10 yr-old who holds the Guinness World Record for youngest film director), has chipped in to mobilize funds for Girish. Kishan has appealed to friends in school to contribute their “one month’s pocket money” for Girish’s cause. Kishan has also suggested TOI to set up a Genius Foundation Fund to help not only Girish, but also other talented children. The foundation’s main source of funding would be pocket money contributed by children.

Kishan has been able to collect about 15 thousand rupees – an amount that may not suffice Girish for even one month, if he has to get proper coaching and other facilities. However, some corporates have shown interest in sponsoring Girish in the future. But that’s not the point, is it? The point is, children showing the state government how things can be achieved, provided the goodwill exists. A 10 year old child has done what the Government has failed to do. Or rather, a 10 year old shown that focusing on things that really matter will lead to a win-win situation (someone pleas explain this to the government!). I’d also like to add here that the movie which Kishan directed is called “C/o Footpath” and is about under-privileged street children. Another example of children taking up the cause of society.

This is immense good news – it paints a very bright picture of the days to come. As I keep saying, children of today are the future of this country. And if the children of today consist of the Kishan’s and the Girish’s, then the future of our country is in good hands. Hats off to Kishan. Hope he inspires other people (kids and adults) to do something similar. And all the best to Girish for his future.

Looking forward to the days when the grown-up Kishan’s and Girish’s will be the face of India. Jai Bharat.

Disclaimer: This is my personal blog. All the views and opinions expressed on this blog are entirely my own and do not reflect the views of my employer, organization, relatives, friends, acquaintances or any other person/entity.