I have always done some form or the other of voluntary work, but have been careful to let it occupy only my “spare” time and not let it encroach upon time that is devoted to the spouse and the household. But that is changing now….

For the past few years, I have been shaken out of my comfortable existence to not just do voluntary work, but take up the cause of a city that is rapidly degrading. I realize that I have the time and the energy to devote to this challenging and often frustrating task.

I have always written about things, and it came as a pleasant surprise to me that many people were interested in what *I* found interesting, and wrote about. So my writing on my own blog started, and satisfied me much more than writing articles for the newspaper, which never brought the kind of feedback and interaction that my blog does. Then I started writing the Bangalore-specific stuff for Metblogs, too, and that was nice. Then Citizen Matters happened, and the writing became a little bit more serious.

I concentrate on things that are of interest to the causes dear to my heart. trying to save the trees, improve the roads, introduce more cycling, and preserve the lakes…and reporting about all of it…it’s beginning to take HUGE chunks out of my time, and not just my free time, which is what I wanted to do as a voluntary worker…

It has not helped that KM’s off day has been …er..involuntarily (!) changed to Thursdays, because of the power staggering at the industrial complex where his unit is. Very often I find that thanks to meetings being scheduled at odd times, or watching plays, I am sitting and writing articles and reviews at times when I was never at the computer earlier.

I am NOT interested in writing/reporting as a career, but at the same time, do enjoy writing, and really like the experience of gathering information and views and writing about it all. This, alas, does not happen to be a 9 to 5 kind of activity…

At what point should I draw the line and say, no more? I find that when I am committed to write something, I do have a compulsion to finish it within the deadline. If there is no power through the day (as happened today) I have to sit and write in the evenings. The words “have to” have appeared here…and those are not words that I want.

When “want to” starts turning into “have to”, I have to pause and reflect…but I do enjoy looking around and photographing things and writing about them, and the fit is so good…

Can you hear that honking noise? That comes from the horns…of my dilemma. (And that does not Emma’s Hindi heart, either.)

And meanwhile..here’s an absolutely delightful scene that I caught…

This was on my way home from the eternal war against the way things are done here (the alleged Uninterrupted Power Supply, the lack of power the whole day at home, the bank, the BSNL internet connection…) I remember a tagline from some insurance ad that said, “Daddy to dolly, everyone jolly”. Here, it’s Mom, the daughters (twins? I couldn’t catch up with them to find out) and their dollies….it lifted my heart after a long and frustrating day.

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