I did these two variations of the greeting card that was sent out to supporters and friends of Sukriti Social Foundation, a disability service organization founded by my sister Sowmya Simhan. The text (in Tamil and Hindi) is a verse, in the form of fable, about giving and philanthropy. Roughly translated, the verse states: "When an elephant eats, the bits and pieces and pieces of food that fall of its mouth feed thousands of ants". The elephant being a large creature, eats a lot. The ants, being very tiny, need very little to survive. The barely noticed little morsels of food that dribble out of the mouth of the elephant, provide sustenance to thousands of small creatures.
As I was reading the verse, I was thinking of Bill Gates who has pledged millions of dollars for humanitarian causes. As the world's richest man, the money he is giving away is still pocket change for him, hardly likely to make a hole in his bank account. Yet, it is making a huge difference in the lives of thousands of people around the world. Of course, not every one is Bill Gates with millions to spare. But, whatever we give or choose to share, has the potential to make a difference in the life of at least one person.
Happy new year and best wishes for a healthy, prosperous 2011.
Tamil verse by Kumara Gurupara Swamigal
Hindi verse by Kabirdas
Many thanks to L.N. Srinivasa Krishnan for locating both Tamil and Hindi texts.