We are in the midst of December – the month of sharing, caring and giving. Just when we expect Santa Claus to come and give us gifts, there is a sudden stillness. Chennai floods caught us unaware. Families were devastated. Homes were destroyed. Life came to a complete standstill as lives were lost.
I met quite a few Chennaites who were here in Hyderabad for a holiday and were tearful about their homes flooded in Chennai. It was impossible for them to perceive the state of their homes. For my friend Charu’s aunt, it was about lost photographs, documents and memories and accepting that something so close to the heart as her home was submerged in seven feet water! The whole nation watched with helpless surrender. Many intervened.
Hyderabad, of course, stepped in responsibly as a friendly neighbour, a city with a heart. It was heartening to see individuals and organisations coming forward in their own small way donating money, edibles, clothes and more.
Actress Lakshmi Manchu, who along with a few industry friends like Kajal Agarwal, Rana Daggubati, Nani, Madhushalini, Allari Naresh, Tejaswi Madiwada etc came forward to collect donations in malls. While tinsel town had its roots in Chennai back then, the emotional connect with the city continues for Tollywood. But what has added a personal touch from many is the will to do whatever little they can to make a difference.I asked Lakshmi why they chose this method of giving instead of just writing a cheque. She explained, “It’s always great to connect with people and spread the spirit of giving. This is not just about giving utilitarian support but also about letting everyone know that we care.” Their best intentions should have matched best execution too and the chaos at Forum Mall on Sunday could’ve been avoided.
Housing communities like Hill Ridge Villas in Gachibowli have tied up with organisations like Goonj to give their bit during calamities like this. Whether it is directly affecting them or not, the response continues. For the Nepal relief efforts Hyderabadis had donated funds, clothes and even school supplies.”When we work with organisations like this, we are sure to reach the right beneficiaries,” says Uma Gopal, a regular donor and resident of the community. This time they are helping through donating groceries online from Big Basket.
The ability to bring out the helping hand even in situations that are geographically so far away is remarkable. It is easier to slip away into the passive wave that surrounds us… but this is Hyderabad – the city of hearts.
(The writer is a popular TV show host, radio jockey, professional singer… and most importantly, a hardcore Hyderabadi)