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By Sharan Saikumar

sharan saikumar cartoonAs the world rouses itself from an inordinately long holiday and looks at the new year with hungover eyes, I feel almost bad unleashing a CSR blog on you but I must because I have a message for Jet Airways and I’m hoping the worldwide web will live up to its name and gently float this in the direction it needs to go.

So my new year started with “Jet Airways Save the Children sanstha ke saath judi hui hai, aap credit card ya nakad rashi…’ This is the 46th time I’ve heard it and this is the 46th time I haven’t given over the credit card or nakad rashi, but it’s the first time I wondered why (blame it on the hangover). Is it because I don’t have either as we fly on our five grand seat? Or that I don’t want to save the children?

Neither I think. The nasal drone of the hostess and her total lack of enthusiasm as she reels off what sounds like yet another safety instruction is what does it for me. I can’t believe she cares two hoots about the sanstha which tells me that neither does Jet Airways. It’s a mandatory CSR initiative, which leaves me cold.

But none of this takes away from the fact that the children need saving. So should they show pictures of child abuse to get things going? Write copy that makes you weep? Does donation always demand emotional drivel?

I think don’t so. Charity needn’t be a guilt trip unlike what social advertising would have us believe. Going back to my earlier post on Theory of Fun, what if when the hostess makes her lonely walk down the aisle she’s carrying a little box, a bioscope – the kind we used to see at fun fairs where you put your eye to the hole and see lovely images flash by at the press of a button?

So she offers this box to you and your kid sees a fantastic sea world – drawn by the children- come alive with ocean sounds and tinkling lights or a series of beautiful drawings depicting Nativity during Christmas flash across complete with Christmas carols and a tinkling tree? To work this box you can buy a token that comes for Rs 20. Or Rs 50. Each time you travel you can look forward to a new theme. Each time you travel you’re giving Rs 50. There – that’s your donation. Without the emotional drivel.

If you know anyone working with Jet Airways do tell them that if they’re going to do CSR they might as well really collect money while they’re at it. And yes, an upgrade would also be nice.