It’s been a long standing Birthday tradition at home that each year Dad
and I go out and distribute blankets to the poor. Since this is pretty
much the coldest part of the year… it isn’t hard to find people
huddled on the pavements that could use an extra blanket (or
more).  Quite frankly I’ve always been a bit skeptical of the entire
practice – most of the guys on the pavement seem like junkies and in
all probability will go and sell the damn things for an extra fix or
two 😛  But charity of any description seems to please Dad and I
learnt long ago that arguing with him is a fruitless exercise… so I
just go along with it each year – dutifully going through the motions
of helping out the “needy”… Not that I’m some unfeeling cold hearted
person, it’s just that giving hand-outs isn’t my first choice of how to
practice charity.

I’d much rather contribute to a cause which helps people help themselves… Just giving alms to ease your guilt doesn’t quite cut it for me.

Anyway, spent my Birthday (this past Friday) in Hisar and did
not have much time for anything in the way of celebrations, just
cut the cake and ordered in Chinese – some very forgettable
food indeed! Hisar is a gourmet disaster… but no surprises there!!

Am currently back in Delhi for a couple of meetings and will probably
be leaving again (for Hisar) on Friday. So Dad & I picked tonight as the
night for the “blanket distribution” event and it was decided that we
would not go to the slums this time, we’d hand them out to the poor chowkidars (watchmen) on duty in our own locality instead.

The reactions of the watchmen towards us handing out these (unexpected)
“gifts” spanned the entire range from surprise & quiet gratitude
all the way to greed (quite a few asked for “more” – Dickens
would approve). In the slums usually it’s less surprise and more greed,
but then I guess they are used to this sort of thing in those places…

We just got back and I thought I’d blog some of it, especially since I’m not sure when I’ll get time to log in again.