Monday, December 26, 2016

Charity for the soul, not for a headline........

"Hey Doc, can I ask a favor of you?" one of my patients asked me, as I finished examining him in my office, a few days ago.
"Sure," I replied, looking at him.
"I'm quite a successful businessman in the area, and I have started a good-sized local charity organisation," he said.
"That's wonderful," I said, and I meant what I said. I firmly believe that we need more of us who give back to the community.
"And I wanted to ask you to be on the Board of Directors of the organisation," he continued.
"Is your charity related to healthcare?" I asked.
"No...not really," he replied. "Its more of a social networking organisation."
"Then why do you need me on the Board?" I was confused.
"It just looks good to have a physician on the Committee. You don't have to do anything and you get your name on the letterhead. And we have a lot of communications with our sub-organisations all the time," he replied.
I paused for a moment. The day had just started and my office schedule was full. I really didn't have time for this.
"It's very kind of you to think of me. I only get involved in charity organisations if I really do something meaningful. But I'll give you names & numbers of a few people who love to see their names on any piece of stationary," I said.
"You sure, Doc? Your name will get out there." He looked a little surprised. 
"Thanks again, but I am okay with my name being where it is. Good luck with your venture," I smiled. 

Too many people use the word charity just to prop up their self-esteem and to falsely inflate their self-worth. And that is so unfortunate, because it devalues the real work done by true charitable organisations. As we grow in life, there comes a stage when our needs & wants balance out. That is when we get the urge to do something for others, to give back. Like Mohammed Ali once said, "Service to others is the rent we pay for our room here on earth."

I often tell my friends, that if you want to do some charitable work, do it because the urge emerges from your soul. And do it because you really want to do it, and not because you need a headline or a photo-op. Do something significant that leaves a local footprint in your community, so that your next generation may visualize it and is inspired. 

"Blessed are those who give without remembering, and who take without forgetting."

Thursday, October 6, 2016

A bit "Too Fancy'" for comfort...!!

Recently, my wife and I got invited to an upscale restaurant in D.C. by some friends.
"What do you mean 'upscale'?" I asked my wife.
"I mean fancy, reeeeal fancy," she replied. "You have a seven course meal. You got to wear a jacket and a necktie, mister."
When my wife starts mistering me, its wise for my well-being to be quiet.

Anyway, we made it to the restaurant. My wife looked exquisite in her red dress and as for me, I definitely looked uncomfortable in my neck tie.
"I think I'll take my tie off just before we eat--" I started.
"They probably won't serve you then," my wife said. That was something to ponder. I did want to eat and the hunger pangs were starting.
"Why is the light so dim? We can barely see each other," I asked. My wife, being used to sophisticated places, just frowned at me.
After we were seated by a stern looking "Seating Manager", an equally somber looking "Dinner Associate" showed up at our table.
"What's a 'Dinner Associate'? Is he going to have dinner with us?" I asked my wife.
"No, honey. He's the waiter. Remember, this is a fancy place," she whispered back.
"Oh, then this guy must be getting us our drinks," I said, pointing to the Beverage Consultant, standing right next to the Dinner Associate.
The Beverage Consultant almost choked when I asked for a Vodka-Tonic instead of Chateau Pinot Noir, or Franco Cabernet Sauvignon.....!

"Which salad did you order?" my wife asked.
"The fruit & nut symphony salad" I said, looking forward to it. "And here it comes."
As soon as I looked at my plate, I tapped our Dinner Associate on the back.
"I think you got me the wrong salad. I ordered the fruit & nut symphony," I said.
He looked at my Vodka-Tonic and then at me, rather disdainfully.
"Sir, that is the symphony salad. And you have the wrong fork in your hand. The salad fork is the smaller one." He was kind enough not to be loud.
"What's the ruckus?" My wife asked, turning towards me.
"Oh nothing," I replied. "My salad is all of 2 leaves of lettuce, 5 peas, 3 peanuts and half of a strawberry. I think I'm going to need a lot more than seven courses--"
"Shh.... just smile at the people across the table."
"Now I know why they keep the light so dim," I muttered.
The rest of the evening was no better. I spent more time chasing food on my plate than eating it. The waiters...sorry 'Dinner Associates', sidled up silently and swished away plates, once even before I was done. When I uttered a mild protest, I was admonished that my knife and fork were at the 5 '0' clock position, indicating that I was finished with my food. After that I kept my cutlery in my hands at all times, even while drinking my Vodka!

The seven courses were spread over a painful 2 hours. When we finally got out of the restaurant, we all looked at each other and burst out laughing. And we laughed all the way to IHOP!