Thursday, November 24, 2005

Picture this

Here at Nirma University, our computers / laptops are connected with a LAN. Students use a software called IP messenger, over which we can exchange messages and documents. Of course, the IP messenger is THE great communicator post midnight when the boys and girls have to stay restricted to their respective hostels. :D There's no roaming around on this beautiful 110 acre campus at night. This is one of the few things which I feel is not right about the institute. I firmly believe that post-graduate students should be treated like post-graduate students and not school kids who are not mature enough to take correct decisions.

Getting back to the IP messenger. One of the features of this software is that of sending multicasts, i.e. the same message to all/selected people who are online. Sometimes, these multicasts can be extremely annoying (in fact, most of them are). But it is also where people play anagram, i.e. the guy who hosts the game puts up a jumbled word and those who unravel it can send their replies back to the host. There is usually good competition between the juniors and seniors on this one. I tried my hand at it, but it proved I was just about average.

The other day, a very interesting pic was multi-cast to the entire batch. The picture circulated was this one:

I opened the file and saw the above pic. I kept looking at it for about a minute or so (trust me, 60 seconds of silence can be long) and a number of thoughts went through my head. How long had it been since the child had had his last meal? When did he get his next proper meal? DID he get a proper meal next? Obviously, the food he is getting to eat is not very safe. Did he have to suffer any disease because of what he ate? Where are his parents? Are his parents alive at all? If they are, what must be going through their minds when they see their child eating like this? How terrible must it feel to know that you are unable to feed proper food to your child?

This problem of poverty and malnourishment doesn't exist in India alone, its a worldwide phenomenon as the divide between the rich and the poor widens. This has almost become a cliche in all the economics classes that we attend in colleges. What are we doing about it?

Quite frankly, I don't know how I could do a great deal about the problem. Perhaps, someday in the very near future when I begin to earn, I'll make it a point to keep a portion of my salary to help the poor. But as of now, there's something which I have decided to do, something which is very simple. STOP WASTING FOOD.

This is something so simple and easy that each one of us can follow it. How often have our mothers told us when we children not to waste food? And yet, we continue to do so, unmindful of our duties towards the society. I have stopped wasting food from the last few days, I only take a small amount in my plate during lunch or dinner and don't mind getting up for another helping; but wasting food is a complete no-no.

Tomorrow onwards, I'll be headed to "Confluence 2005", the annual fest of IIM-Ahmedabad. IIM-A, being the best B-school in India, attracts the industry leaders and the best thinking minds, whose efforts change the way India functions economically and socially. It should be a fantastic 4 days ahead.