By Avinash Pai on 13 April 2012
A recent Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activity reminded Avinash Pai from SYSTIME, of what it means to give back to society, demonstrating how ready we are to contribute.
Courtesy: Arthur Chapman
I’ve always enjoyed writing about things that inspire me, but today when I write this blog, I feel not only inspired but also proud. I’m referring to our latest CSR activity - Annadaan (food grains donation drive), at KPIT Cummins and SYSTIME. As the promotional banners read, it's the simple joy of giving, and that joy was truly there when we handed over our collected food grains to the Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) involved. We were rewarded with glittering responses and sparkling smiles. I don’t have enough words to express moments like that.
Employees were requested to keep aside a handful of food grains (rice, wheat, lentils, etc.) every day and donate them at the end of the month, however there was no upper limit. When we started this drive there were a few apprehensions. We weren’t sure what response we’d get, and if we would even receive a meaningful contribution. At the same time, there was a certain confidence, because we believed in this project wholeheartedly.
Then, when the drive started, the response was immediate and overwhelming, and the next two days only got better. People might have been busy with their schedules, but several colleagues took time out, to get involved. We even had to extend the drive by half a day! Many onsite employees participated in the art of giving, through their offshore colleagues.
This activity demonstrated a simple, but meaningful lesson in what it means to give back. I saw another, human side to colleagues, whom I had simply known as developers, consultants, and managers. Every day I’d see them arriving at the office in cars, in suits, carrying their laptop bags. But on the donation day, laptops were replaced with kilograms of food grains. These contributors were not shy, and nor did they care about their designation. As a result I now respect each of them as individuals. I may not know a great deal about them personally, but I know they’re caring human beings, who are good at heart.
Why would security personnel take up extra work to protect the donated items? Why would they promote and spread the word during every security check? Because they knew that we were focused on a cause, and they wanted to contribute too.
Greatness is not what you give when you have plenty; it's what you give when you don’t have much. I realized this when one member offered a portion of what could have been his family's one day meal. When I see that, income group becomes immaterial. I know that I’m surrounded by great people.
At the end of it all, I believe we achieved our ultimate objective. We not only gave generously, we proved that we understand our duty towards society. We may love machines but our love for human beings hasn't faded. We may fight for an additional pay hike, but we don't step away from giving a significant part of it back to society. We may enjoy a great meal every day but we’re ready to share a portion of it with those who need it most.
P.S. - Over 2500 kgs of food grains were collected over 3 days through this CSR initiative in Pune and Mumbai offices of KPIT Cummins.
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