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Maybe I should just cry

I am upset, really upset. Too bad I cannot rush to the site and hold a wailing mother and hug her tight. Too bad I cannot comfort the distraught man who has the task of burying the dead in a mass grave. Too bad I cannot ask God to spare the life of that 9 year old kid making sand castles and take me instead. Why I cannot do this, donít ask. I guess I am satisfied by just getting upset, really upset.

I only helped monetarily, the least anyone can do. Now I am upset all over again. The guys who rolled up their sleeves, mobilized relief efforts and gave a helping hand in every possible way they could. You are my heroes!

On a slightly trivial note, things that annoyed me (keep in mind I have high expectations of others)-

1. American news coverage.

Prim and proper news reader (nothing wrong in her being prim and proper, just too much lipstick) looking politely grim, íThe deadly Tsumani claims another thousands of lives. Now the death toll has reached a staggering 30,000 and may even exceed 50,000. 12 Americans are known to be missing. We will be talking with their concerned families very shortly just after the breaking news about a Supermodel who was caught in the deadly Tsunami and the heart rendering story on how she survived. Over to the weather.í

Guy standing in front of weather chart actually smiling. Another guy looks at smiling guy and gravely poses a gut-wrenching question, "Scott, what are the chances that America would be hit by a tsunami?"

Smugly Scotty points out, "Mike, the chances are close to zero. If you look at the geographical location of our great country, blah blahÖÖ"

End of Tsunami news. More on how people dispose their Christmas decoration.

2. Therefore, it isnít a wonder how ignorant some of my American colleagues are. Barring one single person, none bothered to ask me about this catastrophe and how it might have affected my folks. Blame it on the holiday spirit and general lack of enthusiasm to get out of it. Considering I am one of the only three desis working in this office, I was expecting a general outpour of concern. Finding none, I wasnít deterred. I sent out an email:

Hi all,

Some of you expressed concern regarding our families in India with respect to the killer wave that took a toll of 71,000 lives. The numbers are rising as I write this. The coastal area of Madras (my hometown) has been battered from what I hear. It was a bit of a scare to me when I heard about it as my family lives about half a mile from the beach where some of the devastation took place. Thankfully, they were not affected. Nor did the water come anywhere near the house. There were a few close calls, but everyone I know is fine. Thanks so much for keeping our family in your thoughts. I hope all your loved ones are safe too.

Not everyone was as fortunate as me. Thousands of displaced families, entire villages washed away, country populations reduced in half and now the biggest fear of all, outbreak of epidemics like cholera. Most of the victims being the poor, are the ones who need help the most. Any kind of help. The international community is going a big way in collecting for the biggest relief operation the world has seen so far. It is heart warming to see many people coming forward to help. The needs are obviously high.

If you are inclined to help and are wondering how to contribute, here is a link to various organizations that are actively rendering their services-

http://www.cnn.com/2004/WORLD/asiapcf/12/27/quake.aidsites/index.html

Let me know if you have any questions.

Thank you,

There was a sudden outburst of concern via email and people stopped by my cube, "I really didnít know your family was so close. Glad to know your family is safe and thanks for the link. How is your dad feeling now? " My dad? Oh yeah, That was a year ago. Heís doing great now!

Ok I thought, intrinsically nice people with big hearts and slow brains.

3. At a group discussion, while the Americans were expressing concern, my Indian co-worker felt this urgent need to come up with something funny (Heíd better stop impressing me), "I guess I should be going to India for good. Lot of fishermen jobs have opened up for me. Hahaha."

That clinched it for me! I fretted and fumed, but my fury isnít even close to the Indian Oceanís. After all, Iíll forgive these people.


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