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Looks like a promising investment!

Narendra Nag
Hindusthan Times

New Delhi, July 4, 2005

Bets are on Dumbledore dyings

Dumbledore is going to die. But before die-hard Harry Potter fans commit hara-kiri, know that our source isn’t J.K. Rowling or a bootleg copy of her latest book, Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince.

It’s Blue Square, a British betting site, that has changed the odds on Dumbledore dying to a positive — so anybody betting on the principal of Hogwarts dying now stands to lose money.

But there’s still money to be made in this macabre game, if you bet on Hagrid. According to the odds on Monday evening, every pound (or six other currencies) bet on Hagrid dying would fetch you four if he actually dies in Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. Betting on Harry’s love interest, Cho Chang, is even more profitable.

But it doesn’t look like Severus Snape or Draco Malfoy are going to pop off and make life easier for Harry when he goes back to school. Blue Square will pay £7 for every pound bet on Snape falling into a cauldron full of potion and dying. And they’ll cough up £14 if Draco falls off his broomstick and cracks his skull.

But the big money’s on Harry Potter. If this turns out to be the last book of the series, someone betting on Monday night will make £16 for every pound he wagers on Potter copping it. The only thing sustaining this writer in these trying times is Rowling’s promise that Harry isn’t going to die.

And that all will be known on July 16.


ELFUN- Visit to blind home

Saturday June 18th

As a part of the elfun activities, a visit to the blind home in whitefield was organized. We were a group of around 15 guys led by Narasimha. We started from GE around 11.15, and reached the blind home by 11.40. The blind home is located at a place called Hope Farm, which is one kilometer away from the white field town. Most of the people who stays there are kids and many of them having multiple disabilities apart from visual impairment. There are separate dormitories for girls and boys, a nursery for very small kids and a training institute where people are being trained to take care of visually impaired* people.

The first thing we noticed at the blind home was that the gates were closed from inside. Later on Narasimha explained the reason for keeping the gates closed. Now that whitefield has become the hot spot in Bangalore for MNCs and Industries, the blind home has been under tremendous pressure from contractors and other people who want to acquire the place. So the blind home people were a bit hesitant to allow even the GE volunteers the first time when they paid a visit to the place. And its really sad to realize that many people in fact tried to dislodge them from there and get the land from them.

As the matron of the blind home was in a meeting, we took a walk through the blind home grounds. We saw the dormitory where the visually impaired people are residing. It was actually a huge effort from the management part to at least get such a kind of arrangement, but truly, it requires more funding and renovation. When I heard the aid that they get form the government, I was left with nothing, but to appreciate the management for bringing up that dormitory.

After this, we proceeded to see the small vegetable garden behind the dormitory. It was really great to hear that GE volunteers have helped the management to buy and plant high quality seeds in this garden. We also planted some seeds of beans when we went there. Then we moved on to the running track for the visually impaired people. This was another effort from Narasimha** and co. It was having 6 tracks, and on the side of each track, there are wires laid and a movable handle is attached to it. This handle will slide through the wires and will actually help the runner to stay in the track and also helps to identify the end of the race. The idea is simple, but great indeed.

We moved into the field then where there are jackfruit and mango trees. There were a lot of mangoes on these trees. Later I learnt that these mangoes are a small means of revenue for the blind home. We walked through the field and saw the training building on one side, after which we reached the water tank for the blind home. Here again, Narasimha explained that the tank was somewhat dirty before, which was cleaned by the Elfun volunteers.

By the time we came back to the entrance, it was 12.30 and we could see the residents who go to near by schools coming back after their classes. We could hardly differentiate them from the normal students, as they are so familiar with the route to be taken back. I was reminded of the fact that, these people are visually impaired, and it is a handicap in the society we live, as the society was designed without by us without including them. Apart from that, they are not handicapped. In fact they have some other sense that will compensate for their visual disability. Since they have to come and live in this society, they need some kind of assistance from our part, which will enable them to adapt themselves.

We met the matron after sometime, she was a nice lady, but she insisted on not interacting with the residents then as we were there for just one day. They need us not for just a day as a visitor, but they do require frequent visits from our part, so that we can get close to some of the residents, and teach them different things, which may sound trivial to us, but very important as far as they are concerned. Moreover this will be a change for them from the life that is otherwise monotonous.

Quite often during our tight schedule, where we are in search of a society, we tend to forget about the society that is looking for our help, our presence and assistance. This society, more than money, requires people to show them the way into the real world. After all, if we look at their plight, it is unimaginable for most of us. I would like to give a word of appreciation to the ELFUN group for the activities they are involved in despite their busy routine. I would also like to thank GE for giving us an opportunity to see and give our thoughts to the other side of human life. Kudos to GE, kudos to ELFUN.

*I will not be using the word “blind” as a person can be blind for various reasons, which need not be a physical disability. The residents are just “visually impaired” as rightly pointed out by the matron.

**Narasimha is the only ELFUN volunteer I have interacted with. I don’t know who is the leader of the group here and who all are the other members.

July 2005
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