For the past few months I have been receiving annoying calls from my bank each time we receive a donation, even a tiny one. The caller fires questions like: what is the money for? who is it from? (even of the said person has been sending money for years)? what does donation for Meher mean? and so on. And each time such a call comes, you are filled with silent rage as you try at best to find suitable answers knowing that if you do not, your MNC Bank will send your donation back. This was not the case a year ago.
For a long time it is true that each time I am asked by someone new - thank heavens this is not the case often as I have limited if not stopped socialising - what do you do? and I have to mumble, albeit reluctantly, I run an NGO, I am met with raised eyebrows and strange looks. The acronym NGO seems to conjure: impropriety, dishonesty and more of the same. You are suddenly branded and no one is willing to hear what you do or even give you a chance to vindicate yourself. At best you are one of the society biddies who do charity as it seems the done thing, at worst you are into some dirty money game. never mind if you have saved lives, educated children, created jobs, empowered women, no one cares a hoot! Once you have been given that knowing look your only option is to retreat into your corner and hope no one asks you what you do for the rest of the evening and you find yourself swearing that next time you are asked that question you will remember to say: I am a housewife. That is your safest option.
Running an honest charity is no easy task, believe you me. Sometimes I do feel like giving myself a silent pat in the back for having survived and hot landed in a loony bin! So even though I was shocked and riled when I heard on the news that the IPL (Indian Premier League) was a charitable organisation registered under the same Act as us, I cannot say I was really surprised. I am sure that many of the team owners do engage in some fashionable charitable activity - it makes good copy, good PR and good promotional visuals - but for God's sake is it really necessary to put us all in the same basket and force small fish like us to swim in the same waters? Now you know why I will say: I am just a housewife!