29 Mar Volunteer Den – Arwindh Paneerselvam
I was born in Trichy and completed most of my schooling there. Later my academic pursuits took me to Coimbatore and then to Australia. Right now I work as a Technical specialist in an R&D center here in Chennai. Food, Travel and reading are the stuff that interests me the most.
How did volunteering with Bhumi happen (including beginning, which project you volunteered for)?
It entirely happened by accident. My colleague (Vinoda Akkina) once had asked me to buy a smile ticket for Nakshatra and spoke about Bhumi. I was a little curious and asked her if I can join the event. She agreed and took me as a D-day volunteer. I was a little hesitant on how would the members take me in, since I was new to the group. But there were no hiccups and I was able to gel with the volunteers immediately. Within half an hour I was so comfortable and by the end of the day I felt that I was already a part of the team. The next week, I registered and joined Lakshya. Life has never been the same to me after that day!!
What change did these experiences bring in your life? How has Bhumi altered you, personally?
Bhumi has definitely made me a well-rounded person and a socially-responsible individual. I used to be a very silent person and wouldn’t interact with anyone unless it was absolutely necessary. When the opening for a HR role came, I saw it as a challenge to be more social and took it. I believe I had done a good job, had made the program meetings more interesting and moved the volunteer engagement to a better level. Over the period of these three years, it has also made me more confident, easy-going and had gotten me a lot of beautiful friendships.
One most memorable incident in your life as a Bhumian.
This one started off as a small discussion wherein we decided to shoot a small promo for Bhumi’s Hi5 Club. I was a great fan of the Pharell william’s “Happy” video and was suggesting to shoot a version for Bhumi. Most people were skeptical on whether it would work. We have never tried anything of that sort before. We approached Doc for suggestions; he said yes and gave a half hour slot during the Lead Bhumi training to shoot with the whole team. We never really had a script, but everyone pitched in and gave their ideas. Within half-hour it became an awesome, fun, collaborative project. After seeing the initial shots, we were really thrilled and decided to make it even bigger. We started to pull in every volunteer who came across in the coming weeks and shot wherever it was possible across the city. The final cut was so full of energy and once uploaded it immediately became one of the most-watched and most-shared video of Bhumi. That little video was a live testament to the fun, easy-going, collaborative nature of every Bhumian. Till date, I’m really proud that I was a part of that team which made it possible.
Tell us about one Bhumian, who you think is a very good inspiration for you
Almost every one of them stands out in a different way. If I had to specifically choose, the first would be Bhargav. He has been right there from my first induction and through many of the Lakshya sessions. He has an innate ability to motivate people and cajole them into taking up tasks!! And by default the other person is our Doc, Prahalathan. Over the short periods I’ve interacted with him, I’ve always admired his humbleness and the patience to listen to others’ view points. Both of them continue to inspire me.
Any specific, special moment with kids or volunteers you would like to share with us?
Every day with Bhumi has been a special experience for me. Among them, it’s usually the last hours of Nakshatra that always stand out. Watching the faces of about 1000 kids filled with happiness and gratitude gives you a satisfaction that couldn’t be matched by anything else.
A message to every volunteer at Bhumi
I would like to reiterate the words of Margaret Mead, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has!” Over the course of three years, I have seen so many little ideas being shaped up into beautiful things touching the kids’ lives. Never stop dreaming and never hesitate to share an idea, no matter how trivial it is. There would always be some person who would need it and someone among our team who would help make it better.