[Back to Index]

Value Addition

Jun 28, 2005

Spent Sunday evening at Aurofarm with my grandaunt and Suchitra who is here to help write a book about the Aravind story- she understands the spirit of things instinctively and says ?Wondrous? (in a sooper heavy South Indian accent that makes it sound more like this: Vun-da-rrus) almost as often as I say (or am told I say) Sooper. We sat on rock slabs in front of the wide pond a pink spray of bougainvillea in front of us waving like a gleeful child in the wind and the setting sun behind us lighting Dr Natchiar?s face with an artist?s perfection. We had her talk to us then of her early years- of the little girl who was (and still is) Dr V?s kid sister. The twelve year old who moved in to keep house for her crippled brother.The child who was refused five rupees to pay for extra milk and eggs because if everyone else could live without- she could too. The girl who wore gray khadi skirts and gray khadi blouses all through her teens because her brother was a Gandhian. The young woman who would cry herself to sleep each time they were refused entry into a restaurant by people who mistook Dr V?s painful skin condition for leprosy. The- but no- I?m not going to say anymore here (you?ll just have to read the book :-))?She is such a special person. The more time I spend with her the more I see the strength of her kind of straight-forward simplicity. She is so suspicious of sophistication and so rooted in the real that it makes me look over my life and some of its avenues of abstraction with sudden wariness. On our way home in the van she said to us: ?These people from the West they talk a lot about value-addition. I don?t know what that means. Holding a patient?s hand and taking him where he needs to go- to me that?s value-addition. But that?s not what these people seem to be talking about.?

Value-addition: Holding someone?s hand, helping them to get where they?re going. Sounds like a sooper wondrous definition to me.

[Back to Index]


Projects I'm Involved With

"Service doesn't start when you have something to give; it blossoms naturally when you have nothing left to take."

"Real privilege lies in knowing that you have enough."