Today is Friendship Day, and as a matter of co-incidence I was Guest of Honour yesterday at a gathering to celebrate the spirit of service that flows from friendship. The occasion was the Annual General Meeting of the Round Tablers and the Ladies Circle in Mangalore city, each a philanthropic fellowship in related but independent spheres.
The Ladies Circle was specifically the focus of my address. It’s hard not to marvel at the amazing quantum of energy packed into its members’ lives. Combining a professional persona with family duties, they equally scintillate at social gatherings. It’s admirable they still go that extra distance to embrace the challenge of transforming the world into a kinder place. If altruistic action is broadly directed at countering disadvantage, deprivation, disease, disability, devastation- the ladies have pretty much touched it all in some manner. They complement different primary organizations in the field, in need of support, thereby achieving wider reach and diversity of function. Knowing the limitations of delivery systems, they supplement functions of government in areas like education and healthcare. Besides being a source and conduit of funds, they expend time and good cheer in places like orphanages, government schools, AIDS homes, facilities for the aged and disabled with activities that express important dates in the calendar. Feminine and maternal sensitivities manifest in special empathy for underprivileged women and children. I could only further suggest encompassing the legitimate needs and sufferings of non- humans in the circle of benevolence, perhaps by including the Junior wing of Twinklers, to complete an environmental agenda for a connected universe.
Some years ago, my children handed in old toys as gifts for orphans in a laudable Circler initiative. Such redistribution drives are eminently sensible, rooted in underlying wisdom that the world’s problems, whether of equity or ecology, result from over-production for a few. Formalizing and expanding redistribution of functional discards that range from computers to footwear will minimize ecological damage, while closing the gulf between wasted excess and crying need. The Circlers are already a bridge between the haves and have nots- one further hopes traffic on this bridge gets more varied and active.
Recognizing the reluctance of public spirit to assert itself, the Circlers have coaxed the spirit of giving into the social enjoyment of art shows, musical evenings and New Years’ eve Balls. Charm and charity merge into the spirit of this caring collective. Compassion and companionship flow into each other, achieving that rare balance between philanthropy and fun.
This sorority of service is structured to be effective. My cousin Sonali Mathias, the efficient and effervescent Chairperson passed on the weight of her “ Jewels” to her promising successor Preethi Pinto. In the annual change of leadership one discerns the dynamic of steady evolution, as the aggregate of past accomplishments connects with the display of future vision.
– Giselle D Mehta