Hi Guys! Virgin blogger here...why now you ask? Well the idea behind it all is to promote and keep everyone up to date with all the fundraising plans I'm making. The 'Ultimate Goal' is to raise £429 to build a Library but any more than that would be incredible! I've always been really interested in charity work so when I came across an "Oxfam Unwrapped" leaflet I was intrigued. Coming from a family of readers the Library seemed like an exciting and ideal project to get involved in so I approached them and in true Maraj tradition they were all on board, guns blazing! Great!

I am completely new to blogging but as I am looking to get more involved with Oxfam, keeping record of it all for myself and others seems like a nice idea; something to reflect on and share! Hopefully this doesn't come across as too self-indulgent; raising money will remain my top priority & I'm hoping you all can help me do that, be it through support or donations!

"The mind is everything; what you think you become"

Let the journey begin....

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Blog Entry No.3....does what it says on the tin.

I'm back with another blog entry and about time too I know, sorry! Before I dive into new territory I do have to say a big thank you to all those who have taken the time to read my ramblings! As sad as it may be I have in fact been checking my Page Views and I've reached a hefty 59 viewings as well as gained a follower, thank you! These numbers may in fact be pretty poor (although I've never felt inclined to check blog stats), but I'm grateful that others who are not genetically bound to support me, do! Apart from the grammatical/structural telling off my Mother gave me (oh, Mothers!), the feedback has been really nice so thank you for all the support!!

....and pressure....


I really have been wracking my brain about what I should write in my third entry. The first two unfolded quite nicely, a bit like the amazing doodle you are left with at the end of a long telephone call; the one you secretly would like to frame or show off but which has no real importance.  I obviously had an idea as I was setting it up, of what it would be about and therefore found no great difficulty in writing the introduction so to speak. But what do I do in between charity events? What do I do now? Please don't get me wrong, I do realise that as I've been typing, the tiniest violin was screeching out the saddest little song...I am in no way dragging myself through this process! I'm just confused with how to approach it all. For instance, how do I start an entry? Should I be writing to my imaginary friend, Kitty? Or is it all a wonderfully secretive affair? Maybe I should be profound and start with a deep and thought provoking quote. To be or not to be? Perhaps I'll follow my Grandad's lead and start with an awful joke that will ultimately always end in someone passing wind in front of those they shouldn't have. Oh dear. Perhaps not.

Putting aside the confused rants for the moment (I can't promise they'll completely disappear), the plans for our next charity event are going magnificently! Honestly, I have never know a family to go to such lengths just because...well, that's it. JUST because. Mainly since there is no sense behind it; you would never wear a ball gown to a picnic or display an ice sculpture at a tea party. That is, you wouldn't if you were normal folk. We however, are proud members of 'Geeks-R-Us' and will create the weirdest and most wonderful situations where there really shouldn't be one. I'm not sure which relative is responsible for such silliness, from our glass tapping, bag scrunching musician of an Uncle, to our loud snorting, hip wriggling dancer of an Aunty, it's hard to say who's made the biggest impact. As much as we all like to think we've avoided the trait that leads to awful jokes and intense chocolate cravings, we may all indeed be new-age Nana's. I have been known to wear the odd holey sock and I definitely have to rein back on the Galaxy bars. This is dangerous.

So a little explanation is in order me thinks! Our next event is this Saturday where we'll be holding the prestigious 'Maraj Awards' at our Grandparents' house, No.83. Familiarise yourself with that number, it is probably the most valuable one you will ever come to know...seriously.  Now remember what I mentioned about lengths? Ok, so now don't judge us when I reveal we'll have a red carpet (crepe paper), a back drop for photographs, glasses of shloer on arrival, not-quite-so-fancy canap├ęs and a family quiz show...all before the Awards ceremony has even started. We have 16 awards to give away on the night and everyone (or at least most of us) has voted. My cousin and I are currently in the process of putting together the nomination slides and editing the videos for our two Academy Award Winners. We are also fortunate enough to have the awards made and sprayed by another cousin who is shaping them into stars. Honetly, the Oscars? The what now? So last year.

Outside we'll have a bubble machine alongside a blow up palm tree with sunglasses, more Plank-of-wood than Hollywood but what could be more exciting and more welcoming than soapy bubbles and inflatable toys? Harrods do it all the time, it's only right! Once you come into the corridor you'll be struck by our red glitzy chandelier, there to blind us with tackiness in case we ever forget for a moment that we're not really in America. I'm pretty sure the crepe paper stuck to our slippers will do the job but you can never be too sure about these things.

Once the awards are over and the Thank You speeches have been made, food will be served and well, we're Indian, that may take some time. After, there's another little surprise that I'm not allowed to unveil just yet but to all those non-relatives, don't assume it's exciting. We are simple beings with simple needs. What would be considered the 'After Party' will most likely be our 'Tea Party' where we watch the video back of that same night. I know it sounds boring but we've been know to over-exhaust our jokes and find them just as hilarious the next time round if not more so. Great for us, awkwardly weird for others.

I apologise if you ever experience that, we most likely won't notice what we're doing. We'll be too busy fighting for attention, scrambling over each other to have that 'funny' input and once we're satisfied we'll notice you again don't worry. We may even comment on how quiet you've been but you're entitled to whack us round the head and walk off whilst sucking your teeth. The latter is recommended in fact, that and a loud cackle of a laugh. Just through them in every now and then and you may even get that pat on the back you lucky thing.

After the Awards weekend we'll start all over again, directing our energy to the next overly ridiculous event and I'll fill you in with all the gory details then too! Ya know reading back through this I've realised I should never doubt whether I can pull out another blog entry. To all those who stuck with this essay, thank you! I'll put in a good word with the fam :)

Until the Awards,

Adieu! x

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Help me make a Barefoot footprint

So I was googling unique fundraising ideas, you know, just to make it that tad more exciting and came across some, yes, interesting ideas...not many that I can realistically do though.
Bachelor/Bachelorette Auction: sadly I am one of the very few single people I know left, some married, most atre in serious relationships; as Robbie Willams put it, "all the best women are married, all the handsome men are gay." The single people I do know wouldn't appreciate being 'sold'...or maybe that's just me.  Well, nevertheless  please don't sell me. Mother, that's for you.
Beautiful Baby Contest:  I have no babies.  I only know a couple of beautiful newborns and I think it would be a tie (cheese!) not to mention a very short day.
Break the Balloon: It writes "Pop, pop, pop. What can be more fun than popping a balloon?"...erm, perhaps jumping into shark infested waters?! Crazy people. I apologise if anyone enjoys that sort of thing but no thank you.  It's not because I've inherited the sort of jumpiness that would make mice laugh, I just don't appreciate hot spit hitting my face and exploding plastic. Combined. Ahem. Yes.
Ferret Racing: I don't think I have to explain myself here. Ferret stepping however... :) Sorry, inside joke. I'll leave them out now.

And so it went on until I came across "Barefoot Books"....*click*...Wow.  The company sells books through Ambassadors and online, and the products are truly amazing. It was created by two mothers who wanted their children to read books with a strong ethical stance teaching them to respect nature and diversity. It's now become a world-wide community (of which I am now a new member, woooo!) where writers, artists, storytellers, musicians and many others come together to "provide timeless stories and captivating art that can help children become happy, engaged members of a global society."  I took a browse through the books and my 5 year old self gave a little cheer; they were beautiful! From "Mama Panya's Pancakes" to "We're all sailing to Galapagos"....Galapagos?* I hadn't even heard of that, something for us all eh? I was so intrigued and read up on how I could get involved. Before I knew it I was an Ambassador! How fancy, I gots me a title!  It was free, simple and there are no quotas or obligations to meet-brilliant, seeing as I have no sales skills and can't guarantee I'll work wonders.  You have the option to run the business from home, market books online or create fundraising opportunities. Guess what I went for? So help me people! From the books I manage to sell I'll be sent 20-40% of the retail value and all the money will go towards Library for Liberty! How amazing! By selling beautiful books about children around the world, we'll be helping children around the world read books!! So please if you have any children's birthdays coming up, click on the link at the bottom of the page (the one that says Barefoot Books...if you happen to accidently click on My Photoshop Gallery, that's ok too so long as you promise to go back to Barefoot...), and buy something beautiful!

Let's take that first step to making our Barefoot footprint!

The Past, Present and the damn good looking Future

I’m around 10 years old and I’m stood at the back corridor on the phone to my Uncle.  I can’t remember his exact words but I remember feeling quite embarrassed as he explained that although giving all my money to charity was incredibly generous, it was in fact not a wise decision.  Not that I had a substantial amount anyway, around £50 I think and in time I would definitely come to need it.  I felt a little scolded as I always tended to feel being a rather nervous and over-sensitive child and it took a while to realise that I was actually being taught to live within my means; incredible advice mistaken for mean discouragement.  It’s funny how these situations can seem so different as a child, so dramatic!  This story however isn’t to point out how melodramatic I was nor brag about being a generous child, in fact if you spoke to my sister she would quickly correct that mind frame with stories of tantrums because “she took my top and I didn’t get to wear it first!”  Generous is not quite the word, I can admit to that however awful it may seem.  It’s more that I have always had this need to save the world and all its inhabitants, feeling that if it were me out there and someone turned their head I would be devastated.  I’ve never understood the “turn-a-blind-eye” mentality; why would people choose to ignore the suffering of another?  How can we complain of our trivial problems whilst mother’s watch their children die before they’ve even lived?  As that 10 year old I didn’t see beyond that view, I never realised that I should really establish how to look after myself before venturing further.  Having said that, I am currently unemployed and no longer in education and I’m setting up fundraising events...never mind, perhaps that phone call wasn’t quite as scary and traumatic as I thought it had been.  In fact having spoken to my Uncle and Mother recently, no one seems to recall it aside from me.  Perhaps my imagination was wilder than I remember...well, a made up conversation on the phone...perhaps I shouldn’t use “wild” so loosely.

As I got older I never felt justified in my actions although I knew I didn’t have the money to give away freely.  I promised myself that I would do more when I could and  I suppose that as a girl in her 20's with a relatively good grip on life and its realities, I feel now is the best time to take action.  Either that or I’m having another tantrum and refuse to wait until I’ve “established” myself.  I think deep down I know that won’t be for a while.  So yes!  Here I am, typing my very first blog!  Yay!  I suppose I should explain what I’m planning and where it all came from.  I had been shopping on the Oxfam website for Secret Santa and maybe a little gift for me too ;) and once it arrived it came with an Oxfam Unwrapped magazine.  Inside were the different gift ideas they offer like buying goats or chickens, not for that person of course, I know quite a few people who wouldn’t appreciate a farmyard roommate, but for people abroad.  My aunty had done that before for us at Christmas once but I never realised just how big these gifts could get.  My attention was taken by the Library and I thought that due to the prices people were probably less likely to buy gifts such as these...well then maybe it doesn’t have to be just the one person...? How about the whole family buying it...? How about raising the money...? The ideas kept coming and soon I was confident that it was an idea worth throwing out there.  As a family, together we could raise the money and pay for a Library to be built.  Of course when I put it forward everyone, one spectacular Aunty in particular thought it was a lovely idea and agreed to it!  They have been enormously generous so far, willing to give a pound at every family gathering however bizarre and unexpected the occasion appears.

Our first fundraising event went down pretty nicely as Kavi, our younger cousin and budding musician generously agreed to play his violin and have the money raised all go to Oxfam.  We raised £20 by selling tickets at £2, a bargain if you ask me when you realise you’re listening to the likes of “hills & dales,” and “Knickerbocker Glory.”

The second event wasn’t exactly a fundraising ‘event’ but a fun game at a birthday meal. We were all asked to put a pound in (50p for the kids) and as a coin was flipped we motioned to what we thought would be the outcome; heads, you place your hand on your head, and tails, well of course your hand goes on your bum!  Whoever wins at the end gets half the amount collected.  The winner in fact gave the money back and we raised £14; not bad considering it was just a one off game!

I’m incredibly fortunate to have such a wholesome family who surrounded me with an extensive amount of music, literature and theatre.  The books of my childhood are something I can never forget; it was the magic, the full mind, body and soul experience that you were thrust into after that first shiny page was turned.  In one day you could be racing from The Witches, hiding with The Night Shimmy and wondering through forests with talking animals!  It was truly incredible!  For children whose hardships are far worse than ours, what better way to escape life as they know it?  What better way to inspire, encourage and educate children who have no family left to turn to?

The fundraising ideas keep coming and we’ll soon be hosting an awards night, not quite The Oscars but we’ll do it in style!  Watch this space!