Well, actually, we are doing it for charity.
This week I’ve been contemplating the number of people who are marching up Kilimanjaro these days in the name of good causes. There’s going to be nothing left of the damn thing at this rate. May be the Great Rift Valley was carved out by eco-active pre-historic humans in a Save The Dinosaurs fund raising drive. And then there are the Marathon Men, with their monotonously successful money raising campaigns. OK, well done, you’re a hero, finish it in one piece or not. And you’ve probably increased the chances of this meagre planet of ours having to suffer your existence for years longer than would have otherwise been the case.
Meanwhile we’ve got a bunch of middle aged blokes, and a few ladies, and an increasing number of trendy youngies who we can only hope and pray turn up for the sake of any press that I can con into turning up at Mumbai Central, planning some “package tour” round Indian Railways. “That’s nice, wish I could do that”, and indeed you can. No training is necessary, nor indeed possible, prior to climbing on board. You just have to be a little bit silly, and prepared to put up with everything going badly wrong, even if it’s all going perfectly to plan. But don’t make the mistake of thinking this is just lemon squeezy or you might find yourself thoroughly cheesed off before we get past Borivali.
So just in case you couldn’t be arsed to read the schedule properly, do so and note that, other than a night in Dibrugarh at the end of an epic journey on the back of several other epic journeys, and a few hours kip in Darjeeling, we aren’t actually stopping for the night, anywhere.
I’ve had several people, past work colleagues in particular, blast their way back from the past in the last few weeks through the joys of Internet social networking. These computer pals from yesteryear have shown a reckless disregard for my warnings about sleep deprivation, not to mention the problematic issues concerning personal hygiene as a direct result of the insane schedule, or the questionable state of catering facilities on many of our trains. They have though inquired about raising money for their own causes as oppose to, or in combination with, our headline good cause Railway Children.
Well Hell yes! is my reply. If you want to do this trip, and justify your mental instability by rounding up some coffers for something you’ve got a personal affiliation with, then please do. But Railway Children are a stupendously appropriate bunch if you don’t have your own pet cause. I have said in the past “you don’t have to raise money”, and you don’t, because there aren’t any rules, both for legal reasons, and because I just don’t like rules in the first place. But you might feel like a bit of a rotter if you didn’t raise a finger to help the needy and find yourself on a train full of do-gooders. So think on. It takes seconds to open up a Virgin Money Giving page (note to anyone associated with this or any other project, Virgin charge 2% for their tax reclamation services, Just Giving charge a whopping 5%!).
If you are below an age where you can legally generate lots of tax refundable charity bucks, or you’ve been sponged to death recently by everybody else you know, and the bloke outside Tesco, there is still something very worth while you can do which is absolutely FREE!. Promote this project via whatever methods you have at your disposal. Just a tweet, or a facebook status update, and especially an entry in your own blog or website should you have one, really does make a difference. A school notice board, or face to face conversation, you remember those, can be just as effective. My stats show me it does. So thanks again to Jake and Dex and everyone else who’s sent invites to their humungous tribe of associates.
If you don’t satisfy any of the preceding exemption clauses, and have got 2 quid to spare, please oh pretty please, squeeze that magic little card out of your wallet for a couple of seconds. I’m serious, 2 pounds really would be good, it would work out at about £2.50 after the addition of the tax refund and the subtraction of the commission. I think that’s the minimum you can give and while a couple of grand would go a lot further, right now and for the next six months or so we need names. It doesn’t have to be your own name. You’ll get your name, or pseudonym, in lights on the Thanks page and get a really groovy feeling for being so cool.
I’ll go back to posting the usual crap next week, but if any of that has shifted you into donor mode then just Click This And Feel Good