Thursday, September 6, 2007

Lesson 11: Do you hear my war cry?

Are you a Citizen or a Shitizen?

This country is weird. In some very strange ways. Like for one, it surprises in the least expected ways. Like when Shitizens was started – not even two weeks – I was expecting people to laugh, question, shrug… I was not expecting genuine, quick response. Could be initial curiosity, says my cynical brain, but hey! Let’s see. We are a funny bunch, us Indians. You really cannot tell what we will do. Screw the stereotypes.

As I realized while walking in Connaught Place on Wednesday evening – that in that whole area, me apart, no one else knew about Shitizens or what we are trying; and we are talking Country here! – It was heartening to think, that there are people who Do care. Even if it’s just one Indian somewhere. And it’s a strange kind of maturity that I see, even when I am chatting with a self-proclaimed too-lazy-to-take-a-piss 20-something in Australia… we are aware this is not going to be easy. Perhaps there isn’t even any 10-pointer Goal to reach. But what I did notice is that We want to try. So come. Enough talk.

And while I am at it, the Media has been blamed/made scapegoat for a whole lot of things. Primary accusation being, “So you got the story and talked the talk, what did you really do?” Well, this is one in the media. If there are more who might think similar, please come. If association with Shitizens is an embarrassment, we will not announce you are helping us – we have already launched You Don’t Know Who for anonymous do-gooders. Shall keep it off the records. :)

And finally, Hello,

To those who are reading, those who are helping us spread the word, those who randomly message with encouraging words, the haltingly narrated anecdotes, the seniors and big wigs who tolerate early morning inbox and messenger spamming, the ones who message late in the night with ideas… Thankyou for your time and your mind-space. Some questions have been coming up quite often; will quickly run through those before I get on with the ‘post’.

1. Why Shitizens?
By definition, a citizen is someone who owes allegiance to the state and is entitled to that state’s protection. The most common citizen grouse today – other than blaming most things on the media – is that the State does not do anything. What the citizen’s forget is that they have to “owe allegiance” too. Do their bit. Till as such time we simply open our mouths to either complain or talk big, we are simply Shitizens. Pretty much the one-word for the phrase, “Bum main dum nahi, hum kisi se kum nahi.” (Got no balls, yet talk tall, somewhat).

2. You’re talking too, what’s this all about?
This is about each one of doing that Little Thing that comes the most easily to us. Yes, I said the Most Easily. If all you can do is remember to turn that tap off while you shave one cheek; it’s fine. Or not keep your computer running all night even when you are sleeping. Download freaks can take a night off! ;)

3. And the writing?
To discuss ideas, share thoughts, know what we are thinking, what bothers us; and most importantly, to form a global think tank of Thinking Indian Citizens. We will share ideas, opinions, ways and means of doing things and those motivated enough, there’s the Localised Task Force.

4. Task Force, eh? Wussat?
Localised teams of people who want to help, in terms of real hands-and-legs help. There are NGOs and organizations working in cities. They always need volunteers, but don't know who. We know people who want to help but don’t know where and how. HERE is where we all come together; it’s the era of social networking. Let’s put it to good use. Then there are resident welfare associations or even five group of friends who want to do some good. Whoever wants to pitch in, does. We point them to ways they can. It could be someone in Australia, wanting to do that elusive ‘something’. Come, let’s all think and figure ways we can find different somethings for people to do. No one is a waste.

5. What can we do?
A whole LOT of things! While everyone is welcome to go ahead with whatever Little Steps they have in mind; to get large numbers to join, we NEED to spread the word. Here are some tried and tested ideas on how you can pitch in. Yes, some of you guys have actually been doing things! For the next few weeks – say till end of September – help us spread the word. Tell people. Talk. Forward links. And of course, those who want to actively participate, there’s the Task Force (write to me).

Strategy 1: Copy, Paste & Print
The first extra Little Thing you can do to help:

1. Someone did the “least intrusive, most effective” thing: Made bookmarks with the logo and our slogan and inserted them in books in two major bookstores in Chicago city. The books he chose for the placement were Harry Potter, Indian cooking and world culture.
It’s a damn good idea. The book mark design is this--->
Even if you make 5 book marks and distribute amongst friends who read (books and blogs), it would be nice. Even if they don’t read, share the concept of Shitizens and let them know it can be the Most Easily Done Little Thing they want to do.

2. Another wrote in to say that he will be taking print outs and post them on his office soft board, “it will get the people who come to chat”. While everyone is not expected to put five sheets up, take a print out of that book mark and stick it on the board! Or use little strips of double sided tape and put it in one corner of your car window. Let Shitizens be seen all around!

3. Tell NGOs about us: NOT the ones who embezzle money. But if you know people who are REALLY helping, tell them about us, lead them to us. We will get them volunteers and help spread the word about what they are doing. Those who are doing good things WILL be heard.

4. Keep those old socks: And of course, if you have socks that have lost one partner and you are not wearing them, give them to a destitute. Those in Delhi, if someone can collect socks in your neighbourhood – please don’t be embarrassed, you are helping, not begging – and drop me an email when you have a substantial number, will come and pick those up. And no, do not use this as methods to meet; retribution will be extreme. I am no little social worker; am very ferocious. :)

PS: Please don't think that you HAVE to do bookmarks or bug 100 people. Don't want to, don't! Just do YOUR little thing... That's it.

I will not throw cigarette butts on the road (am carrying an empty match box for portable ashtray). That is my contribution today. Yours?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Online Social Networking put to social use - Ready pool of people willing to volunteer - brilliant idea!