THE ICE BREAK CHAL­LENGE

Friday - - Editor’s Letter - Mri­nal Shekar Deputy Edi­tor mshekar@gulfnews.com

Tired of the hec­tic city life, an ac­quain­tance has de­cided to in­vest in a small house in his home­town. ‘I want to lead an or­ganic, un­hur­ried life in my old age,’ he says. Now I don’t judge him for want­ing to re­alise his own whitepicket-fence dream, a sub­ur­ban life­style that comes with the ex­tra trim­mings of an idyl­lic com­mu­nity way of life – af­fa­ble neigh­bours, quaint gro­cery stores, road­side eater­ies and ameni­ties that are rich in his­tory but func­tional nev­er­the­less. But I did be­gin to won­der about what stopped him from re­al­is­ing some of it in the city he is liv­ing in right now.

The train of thought made me think of why and at what stage of our ur­ban lives we lose touch with our hu­man sen­si­bil­i­ties. If you think I’m be­ing pe­jo­ra­tive, let me paint you a pic­ture: You’ve just got­ten into a crowded el­e­va­tor, check if the but­ton to your floor has been pressed al­ready, and then stand there in deathly si­lence along with the rest wait­ing to get off. Look around and you’ll no­tice all eyes are ei­ther trained on the scrolling num­bers or on ev­ery­one else’s feet. No eye con­tact is made, no greet­ings ex­changed. This scene is played out day in and day out and we all seem to be OK with it. Peo­ple, I feel, have for­got­ten the art of break­ing the ice un­less there is a pur­pose. And it is for this rea­son that I was to­tally floored by the Pink Mango Project (on

page 24), cre­ated by a group of millennials whose only aim is to put a smile on peo­ple’s faces. So whether it is through giv­ing out hugs, flow­ers and stress balls to per­fect strangers, or or­gan­is­ing a day out for the un­der­priv­i­leged, these bunch of young­sters have proven that sim­ple acts of kind­ness don’t need deep pock­ets – just good in­ten­tions.

What im­pressed me even more was the fact that they are not look­ing for funds but vol­un­teers. Now that is one way to break the wall we’ve all cre­ated around us.

Un­til next week,

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