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A Time To Care

I was planning to make my usual predictions for the New Year in this column, but instead I’m going to make only one prediction: I predict that you, my loyal reader, will do something to help the victims of the tsunami, if you haven’t already. How do I know this? Well, for one, you are my favorite reader, it’s about time I told you. You’re not the type of person who lets people suffer without trying to help. You have such a kind heart, you even thought about sending money to Janet Jackson, so she could buy herself a bra that doesn’t rip.

You’re not the type of person who’s clueless about what’s happening in the rest of the world. You even tried to correct the half-drunk college student at your local bar who said, “Tsunami? Isn’t that some kind of Japanese dish? I don’t know about you, but I like my fish cooked.”

You: “No, a tsunami is a very large wave in the ocean caused by …”

Student: “Let me guess. It’s caused by Japanese sumo wrestlers jumping into the ocean without warning anyone.”

You: “Hey, do you have something against the Japanese?”

Student: “Well, they’re the ones who made my alarm clock. It wakes me up every day at noon.”

Even if you can’t always get other people to think straight, you’re the type of person who doesn’t get discouraged, who doesn’t say, “Well, my friends aren’t interested, so why should I organize a bake sale to raise money for the tsunami victims? Why should I wash my neighbors’ cars? Why should I auction off my Pamela Anderson poster, video, T-shirt and life-size blowup doll?”

You’re determined to do your part, because your donation could make a huge difference in the life of one person in Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, Thailand or another affected country. Your donation could bring a smile to one of those distraught people you’ve seen on TV, the ones who’ve made you realize what misfortune really means – it’s not losing a football game, it’s not getting stuck in traffic on your way to the mall, and it’s certainly not being unable to afford butt-reduction surgery.

You realize that this is a time for everyone to come together for a good cause, even liberals and conservatives. You may be a conservative, but you’re willing to give liberally. You may be a liberal, but you recognize the enormousness of this disaster, even if Fox News Channel keeps giving you “conservative estimates.”

You realize that this is a time when the race, nationality, religion or social class of the victims shouldn’t matter, a time when humans should just care about other humans. A Muslim mother in Indonesia burying her children squeezes your heart as much as a Hindu mother in India does. A Sri Lankan girl who has lost her entire family brings tears to your eyes, makes you want to reach out and hug your television set.
It’s going to take years for them to recover and your money – whatever you can give, even a few dollars – will help them do it. That’s why you’re going to empty your jars of pennies, that’s why you’re going to search your couch for lost change, that’s why you’re going to stop taking regular baths until your co-workers cough up some money.

I’d expect nothing less from my favorite reader.

Melvin Durai is an Indiana-based writer, humorist and occasional stand-up comedian. A native of India, he grew up in Zambia and moved to the US in the early 1980s. Read his previous columns at http://www.melvindurai.com
[ First published: January 1, 2005   Last updated: March 30, 2011 ]

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Faaltu Fatta

The Beggar

Two college students, Akshay and Sunil, are sititng in a taxi in Mumbai when a beggar approaches them asking for spare change. Akshay adamantly rejects the man in disgust. Sunil, on the other hand, whips out his wallet, pulls out a couples of notes and gladly hands them over to the beggar with a smile. The beggar thanks him kindly and then continues to other taxis. Akshay is outraged by his friend's act of generosity. "What on earth did you do that for?" yells Akshay. "You know he's only going to use it on cigarattes and alcohol."
Sunil replies, "And we weren't?"

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