That Thing about ALS Ice Bucket Challenge & Indian Generosity

August 26, 2014 , 4 Comments

I woke up one fine morning and found about this new challenge that was doing rounds in all social media and circuits. The new bug to bite the boisterous Bombay- belly of Bollywood, Browser and Cafeteria room discussion was "Who is taking Ice water challenge"?

To my surprise, I found Miss Malini posting live videos of celebrities taking this challenge. Which included Junior Bachchan to Ritesh LaiBhari Deshmukh to even Daler "paaji" Singh Mehendi. Even our delicate "Sonakshi Sinha" could not remain un-bitten with this byte and posted her own bit on her Instagram page.

Ice Bucket challenge AKA ALS Ice Bucket Challenge is a viral challenge which involves taking a bucket full of ice water and dumping it straight on your head to create awareness about a disease called ALS- amyotrophic lateral sclerosisIt also aims at raising donations towards research and rehabilitation from this disease. The perosn who takes up this challenge, post his/her act, nominates 1-2 other friend/colleague/acquaintance of their's to take this challenge within next 24 hours. And this goes on. This challenge became viral via social media.

In case, if you wonder, like I am wondering, why does this awareness campaign involved dropping ice water bucket on one's head, creating an opportunity to expose your neuro-system to something not very conducive [read Hypothermia], let me tell you, I am as clueless as you are. All I know this whole concept of dropping cold water on your head went viral since last year winter, especially after the family of baseball player- Pete Frates who was diagnosed with ALS, went ahead with their own campaign. If you are the one with clue, do comment. 

One thoery suggests that if you take this challenge- you have to donate $10 for the cause and the one who skips has to donate $100 towards the charity. Not sure if the version is right. Meantime, I am happy that none of my friend/associate has nominated the poor me me thus far. Thankfully none should waste their time [read peace of mind] nominate me either.

Here's why dropping the ice bucket [not literally but bucket with ice water can actually be dangerous and can kill you- The Forbes Report

Certainly, this campaign was received with various protests from other countries including India and China. 

Henan protest against Ice Bucket Challenge
Residents of Drought striken Henen in China protest against the ice water challenge
pic courtesy- The Guardian

It was nothing but a social media genius to create awareness about this otherwise unknown disease. And I must say that they have done a good job in doing so. The question is whether the awareness about the diesease has increased or the awareness [read publicity] about the celebs endorsing the same has gone more viral, making their fans kow-tow. I guess, it is more about the disease as well. After all, none of us here [I presume] knew about it earlier and post this social media frenzy, I found many people talking about. And few good curious went ahead and "googled" it up. 

My take on Ice Water Challenge
Why famous people are dumping it on their head? No idea. As I said the theory behind this is still ambiguous to me. And like I said earlier, would I do the same? Well, the answer is a strict No! 

Why? I am the person who refrains from wasting water in name of playing Holi. cause every time I feel wasting even a mug full of water, the face of that child, women, men, animals, come in front of my eyes, who are drought stricken and struggling for the drops of water including the village women who travels kilometers in unfriendly ways, carrying pail of waters for their family. 

I would rather found an alternative, constructive way of proceeding charity and creating awareness. A lot like "India's Rice Bucket Challenge" wherein the founder not just came up with this idea but also started executing and spreading awareness about it. Yes, I would rather go for "Rice Bucket Good deed" and if allowed "Spice Bucket Philanthropy". 

The idea behind "Spice Bucket" is not a frivolous thought to desperately create a separate notion from the one that is already around the town but it is a rather more "inclusive" attempt towards translating generosity in to actions.

Why "Spice Bucket"?
You may call it "Spice" racket, bucket, tucket, trumpet whatever you may like to but the idea is the deed per se and not the name you chose to call or mockery that one want to make.

This thought came from big legacy of "food donation" that India has been practicing since ages, wherein the households will segregate some grains [normally wheat flour & Rice] and sugar [sometimes] and give that away to the neighborhood Brahman. As the time moved, the population shifted to sky scrappers and urban jungles, the notion of "Brahmin daan" got limited. We often find ourselves fulfilling such noble deeds by giving away some left over food to our house helps or so. Off course, the people who help support a child's education [and it's not their child], deserves a big round of applause. Here's a small concept for people who have limited resources and can still make a difference.

"Donate Spice"
If you are done with donating rice, suggest you try donating some healthy spice to the needy ones. Often the people at the bottom of pyramid have to make do with their meager meals by eating boiled rice with salt [a big % is not even iodized]. This food habit is often considered harmful to body especially the "non iodized" salt. While the world has moved to kosher Salt, PInk Crystal salt, there is a "big" strata of society that do not get their subscribed dose of salt. Also, given the healing, anti septic properties of "Turmeric", it is often advisable to consume it with our food an even warm milk esp during fever, cough and cold. The "Haldi wala doodh" is very therapeutic and a great way of healing amenities.

I am sure the actual population at below poverty line would not be able to consume the right "iodized salt" and "turmeric" given their high price and highly adulterated availability. In such case, if we can donate a packet of any iodized salt to poor families nearby, wouldn't that be a decent help?

Now a packet of salt like Tata/Ashirwad Salt is available at mere Rs 16 to Rs 17 per KG. Should that be a big amount to donate? Even a 100 gm pouch of Turmeric would not be costing more than Rs 20. Am I asking too much? If yes, then think it this way, I call it the "Genius marketing concept of MasterCard". here we go-

Happiness idea no 1

Minimum Cost of 1 movie ticket- Rs 150 X2
Min Cost of popcorn and Soft drink at Movie-  Rs. 150
Cost of travelling to theater            Rs. 100
Minimum cost of "dinner for two"- Rs 500-1000

Total- 300+150+ 150+500= 1100

Happiness idea no 2
Cost of 1KG iodized salt= Rs 16
Total cost of donating 10 packets of "Iodized salt" to 10 households/month= 16X10= 160
Cost of leveraging "health" of 10 needy families- Rs 160 only
Blessings received in lieu of your good deed= Priceless!

You can replicate this model with Turmeric or any other essential spice that you may think of. I know while some of you may think it as "half baked theory of a non economist numerounity" who is proposing an idea to possibly increase inflation in spice market. Ah! Well. By now well know how does this "basic needs" inflation theory works. You were not donating Tomatoes and Onions either but the price went inexhorbitant even when the real suppliers were selling it at mere Rs 6/kg, you bout at Rs 60/KG. No?

Think about it. And while I have nothing against Ice Bucket Challenge for Charity idea, I insist that next time when you want to blindly follow something like this, do take few minutes out from your time and think about my proposal which is still on and is ever green. It is up to that whether you want to donate- Rice, Spice or electronic mice to the needy populatio, But donate you must. Cause "Sharing is caring" and "caring is adhering" to our universal idea of "Vasudhaiv kutumbakam"

Till then Ciaos! Keep reading Numerounity and her idiosyncrasies, if you choose to call that!

The autor is half Human, half machine. Go Figure or just revel in what I write


  1. Nice take on the ice bucket challenge Ekta...I have been going through the celeb videos all this while and wondering y not something more constructive? And then when I saw the rice bucket challenge I realised only the one who faces the heat, I.e. the common man can come up with something commendable even to create awareness for a disease.

  2. Spice Bucket! a great idea!

  3. Great Idea Ekta. Infact all these has been done just to create awareness for this campaign. I have recently read that every 3 person among 1 lakh are affected by ALS and there should be some awareness for this rather new disease. The Ice bucket challenge was a nice idea and it just opened up so many creative alternatives which can be used for other good causes as well.

  4. Like you, I'm clueless about how things are connected to each other. I feel it was a good way to generate funds and awareness. Somehow (like you have mentioned), I feel it too that it has become more of a mockery. So many celebs are doing it and their posts are viral on the social media sites. So probably the main motto behind it has been curtained.

    A friend of mine went ahead with the Rice Bucket Challenge. I liked the idea.
    The spice bucket challenge that you have mentioned is also a great idea.

    I support everything that can help in any manner. Yes, the wastage of water in the ice bucket challenge is not an appropriate thing to do but I also believe this might not have went viral without that probably.


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