Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Ernavur

I am a bundle of nerves today – restless, wretched, perturbed, distraught and what not.  Angry with myself. And that feeling you get when every atom in your body and soul wants to do something and you end up saying just the opposite of it, given the constraints you are in.   I wish I could pour my heart out, since it is a complex story that spans over a decade, I will let that pass. 

But this despair  made me come to my own blog that even I have abandoned for the last few months.  Now that is not new. Abandoning I mean. Coming back is difficult. And I am making an effort.  And I know the few hard earned blogger friends are no more visiting my blog.  When I don’t visit this page,  they don’t have any reason to. right?

This post is about an unusual commitment of a group of childhood friends and one guys’ persistence in making  things work.
Wind back to Circa 1990.

I come from the notorious suburb of Chennai called Ernavur.  Most true blue chennai’ites do not even know this place.  My parents did a good job of shielding us children from the elements of this place which are not praiseworthy.  We studied in schools and colleges far away from North Madras and were monitored on our friendships and were cloistered within our community and to note all of us cousins and friends have done well in life is a great testimony to that.

I remember vividly, in my first job, I was asked by a very senior colleague, while being praised for some good work that I was doing, which place in chennai do I come from. As always I proudly said Ennore ( which is a more popular place than my own place) and he said something like this “Oh God Ennore, I have been there, and what good can come from that place?”  I was instigated and was very young, just out of college so with all that callousness, I looked straight into his eye and said  “Why do you even say that ?  Look at me”  he got the point and I saw my RM brimming with pride at my reply.

So there was this very community that I was referring to, and we had a whole large group of friends and cousins who were very close to each other as we attended similar schools, churches and the same social get togethers such as  weddings and receptions and other community gatherings.

Amongst us was this family who was well off,  4 children, mother in the Gulf as nurse ( big thing those days), and a grandmother looking after the children along with the father.  The second son who was called Kuttan at home, was my age group, and we were good friends.  Kuttan lost his father first when he was in high school and after that there was a series of deaths in his family in a short span like as though someone had cast a spell on this family.  Mother left them followed by the grandmother and the final straw was kuttan’s younger brother Joy, who left them when he was barely 18 or so. Joy was my brothers' age and his good friend.

It was around this time, after Joy’s demise, few of us got together, led by kuttan and we decided that we will spend a day, 26th of January in memory of Joy at an old age home in Ennore which had around 200 plus inmates, most of whom were physically and mentally challenged. This old age home was run by the congregation of Mother Theresa and the year 1990 we all got together, funded this initiative from our pocket money, and we provided lunch and tea and spent our day with them, talking, singing and dancing and playing skits for the inmates. 

The best part was that we started early in the day, divided ourselves into groups and there were guys who purchased food items, groups that  helped in cutting and cleaning, a cook  who prepared food, and a group of us who distributed the food to the inmates. It was a substantial effort then, and a fulfilling and satisfying  experience for all of us.  Surprisingly, no elders were involved in this initiative, but each of us had a lot of support from our families. We got back the next year with more people and Kuttan was the perseverant guy who kept this going year after year.

Marriage took over me by surprise and I still managed to go in the initial years, and later my priorities shifted with Dennu growing up and my job and even though Kuttan never missed to call me, I couldn’t make it to Ennore  for the last few years.

Fast forward to 26th January 2015

This year I realized all of a sudden when Kuttan posted a message on facebook that it is our 25th year and he had a detailed post on how we started this initiative.  I was touched by the post and changed that logo as my facebook profile picture and was also  determined to make it to Ennore, this year. And did keep that promise to myself.
  
The number of inmates in the home have reduced and we did all the stuff we used to do in the past years,  Kuttan and family was present and a lot of new members who help in the initiative were also present. We cooked, we distributed food, we had our children do a lot of stuff that we used to do when we were young and got the inmates to sing and dance and every inmate were given  gifts.  The Joy on the faces of these inmates when they receive a small gift in appreciation to the act they do is beyond what words can express.  Pure bliss.

There were professional dancers and singers who entertained the inmates and it was so nice to meaningfully spend this day at this home. The founder members, we were more than 15 people originally, but only 5 of us were present and we shared our experiences with the gathering.  It was so  humbling just to be there, to meet all of them, get back to the memories of my younger days.  I was so immensely proud of this guy Oommen Abraham ( Kuttan). 25 years of consistence is no joke.

Felt Blessed to have friends whom I can start off with, from where we left, even if it means we are connecting up after years together. And this notorious Suburb in North Chennai,  Ernavur still binds us together.

Putting up some pictures for you to see for yourselves.









There we are, 5 of the founder members & Kuttan is the one in black shirt. 




 

7 comments:

  1. May I salute and compliment Oomen Abraham. The word humanity carries an altogether different meaning when we see such outstanding persons.

    And a tribute to you too. You went there this year. That is very special.

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    1. I will pass on your compliments to Kuttan, Ramesh. Proud to be his Childhood buddy and one of his best friends.

      adn thankyou for the comment, for someone who has made a comeback, it is like tonic.

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  2. Voww.. Vincy, kudos to you and your best friend for the incredible effort, it takes lot of will and perseverance to do such work selflessly... all the best to you and the entire group of people who are into this.
    But I could not understand the first para of the post, is everything okay, take care and just give a call if you feel like talking, you know I am just 10 digits away... hugs to you (( ))

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Rekha thanks for coming over to my blog and leaving a comment. truly appreciate it.

      All well my side. I had some discussions with a friend and said things that i really didnt mean and felt so terrible about it. This person is a lifeline for me and I made up teh very next day. Thanks for you care. feeling loved. and thank you.

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  3. Wow, salute to the guy, Starting something is gr8 but to keep at it for 25 years is just sheer perseverance.
    kudos to all of you for being part of this!

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    Replies
    1. Yes Seema. The easiest of all is to start something, but keeping it going is the most difficult part. And that to for 25 years, is just unbeleivable. I do not tell him this, but I am so proud of being his childhood buddy and a friend.

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