October 31, 2010


SSL: the Social Service League of St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai. Founded in 1951. May also refer to the SSL office, located next to the First Quadrangle on the ground floor of the Xavier's campus.

SSLites: an amalgamation of the students who comprise the SSL – volunteers, secretaries, everyone.

Father Terry (Terry/Querry/Father T): actual name Father Terence Quadros, Director and so much more of the SSL for a very long time.

Exhib: annual SSL Exhibition, usually the first project of the year held in the hall with a specific theme.

Chesh: affectionate name for Cheshire Home, SSL's longest running project involving weekly visits to a home for paraplegic men in Andheri.

Joe/G. I. Joe: new project constituted as a follow up to iPlant initiated in 2009. Join as a volunteer to find why it was renamed and more.

Joe-d: a term used to denote the people whose pictures will be put up on the Wall of Shame, a Joe production that will put up photos of those that have been caught littering.

Project sex (or rather, secs): collective term used to denote all the Project Secretaries of the SSL.

Project Secretaries: part of the core SSL team that head individual projects such as Camp, PC etc.

PC: acronym for Project Care, a year round event that deals with underprivileged children.

: short form of Rural Camp, a trip undertaken by 50 SSLites to a nearby village where they indulge in about 70 hours of manual labour over ten days.

QQs: a term exclusive to Rural Camp; Quotable Quotes that are reproduced during the night entertainment sessions.

Exec Comm: the Executive Committee of the SSL, usually four but this year five students who conduct the day-to-day affairs of the League and supervise its functioning under Fr. Terry.

At this point more jargon does not strike us. If there's anything you would like to be explained or added, feel free to comment below. Hope this helped.

October 30, 2010

It's Bloody Cool

  When I first walked into the hall on 4th August, it was bustling with activity. I was very intimidated by the sight of students donating blood and the needles embedded in throbbing veins scared me beyond words. I realised I was 18 and that I haven’t ever done anything that I could retrospect and feel proud about. I was talking to donors about how it feels to save a life and the joy on their faces said it all. That is where I made my decision. I wanted to donate, irrespective of how petrifying the sight of blood and needles may be.
I decided to talk to everyone around, finding out how painful the whole process was. I was astonished, not a single person advised me against it. A few minutes later, I was lying down on the bed with my eyes closed and waiting for the whole thing to get over. 5 minutes later, after I was allowed to get up I felt inexpressibly elated and happy. It struck me that my bottle of blood that was being labeled and carted away would save someone’s life. Not scared of needles and the sight of blood anymore. I felt bloody cool!

   After walking around the college with an expression of superiority I decided I should get more people to do this. Not because I wanted to show off (well not only that), but because there is nothing that can be more gratifying than knowing that a small act of giving can make the difference between life and death. Being a volunteer at the Blood Drive not only inflated my ego (and my tummy too with all the free food) but it’s an experience that will last a lifetime. That evening and the next day that followed had more and more people coming in to donate blood. The numbers on the chart kept increasing and it triggered off a wave of thrill for everyone around. Everyone in the room was pumped and charged to make this a great success which it eventually was. I still can’t forget the smile that Reina and Herold had; their vibrancy was contagious. Not only did it make me feel strong and brave but also helped me let my guard down and shed all inhibitions to do something that I hadn’t thought I’d do ever! The SSL-Malhar Blood Drive is more than just an event. It’s a feeling that will always be with me making me do it over and over again. And for all those who missed it this year, I strongly recommend it for  next year!

                                                                                    - Akriti Rai (SYBA).

October 28, 2010

Blood Drive 2010

   It feels nice to know that a part of you is out there helping someone live a moment longer. 381 Xavierites felt exactly the same way; filled with pride and satisfaction after donating blood.
The SSL along with Malhar 2010 organised the blood drive on the 4th and 5th of August. The Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Hospital played a vital role in our success as the blood bank and medical experts. They were very gracious for accepting our timings and working from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on both days.

   The first day recorded a whopping 242 donors. Food and souvenir stalls were running non-stop, managed by efficient volunteers. Donors were provided with snacks and goodies afterwards. Those who stuck around after witnessed some amazing performances by volunteers. The encouragement of the audience made the already enthusiastic volunteers work with more zest.

   The second day ended with 139 more donors which brought the event total to a record breaking 381 bottles of blood. The volunteers and project secretaries deserve all credit for doing everything in their power to ensure a safe and fun atmosphere even though their job was rather solemn. The Blood Drive was a great success and provided a much needed ray of sunshine to the children suffering from Thalassemia, to whom the blood was donated.

October 26, 2010

Team Building 2010 (Khandala)

"None of us is as smart as all of us."

Only one of the many revelations that SSL-ites who went for the first activity of the academic year for the Social Service League of St. Xavier's College, Mumbai - Team Building.

A fun filled two days at the St. Xavier's Villa, Khandala would be considered as a picnic or vacation by most. However, for us, it was more about bringing in people for the events and projects we had planned throughout the year.
The team building sessions, conducted by Fr. Terry, were designed to make us realise how selfish we tend to become while working in a group and thus how the whole purpose gets defeated. To be a part of a team means to be a part of the team. It does not revolve around you, in fact, it is your focal point.
Your intelligence, superior qualifications and other attributes notwithstanding, you must bring a part of yourself to the table while still leaving room for others.

However this is not to say that all we did was contemplate on the ways to function better together, we actually put it into practice. Games, competitions and debates were as frequent as the rain at this camp - and there was a lot of rain! The shy, the bold, the outgoing, the timid and various other types were all a part of Team Building. After all it takes all kinds to make things work.

None of us, is as smart as all of us. It took us two days of active participation, a few struggles and a lot of laughs to imbibe it. Calling for Team 2010!

October 10, 2010

Please endorse this statement opposing MU book ban

Dear friends,

Please read the letter included in this post that has been drafted to oppose the manner in which the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Mumbai has flouted administrative procedures and bypassed academic bodies to omit a novel from the syllabus of English Literature for SYBA in response to pressure from a political group.

It is addressed to the Governor of Maharashtra, who is the Chancellor of the University and copies will be marked to the VC and to the Chairman of the University Grants Commission.

If you strongly feel that voices of dissent need to emerge against the shrinking democratic spaces within the University and the city of Mumbai in general, then please lend your support by endorsing the statement and signing the letter.

Thank you,
Neil Maheshwari.
Assistant General Secretary.
Social Service League.
P.S. - Please comment on this with your full name, college (or alma mater) and year if you're a student or with your organisation and position if you are not, to affirm your signature to this letter. Kindly remember that we need as many signatories as possible, both students and otherwise, to make the University and its officers take notice. In that vein forward the URL of this blog as far and wide as you can via e-mail, social networking sites and in person.


The  Governor  of  Maharashtra,Address


The Vice Chancellor,University  of  Mumbai,Address

The  Chairman  of  the  University  Grants  Commission,Address

Subject:  Statement  of  Opposition  Against  the  Vice-Chancellor’s  Decision  to  Drop  Such  A  Long  Journey  from  the SYBA  English  Syllabus  of  Mumbai  University

   We,  the  undersigned  current  and  former  students  and  teachers  of  the  University  of  Mumbai;  students  and  teachers  from universities  all  over  India;  representatives  of  different  peoples,  non-profit  and  non-governmental  organisations  and  independent researchers  and  mediapersons,  condemn  the  undemocratic  manner  in  which  Rohinton  Mistry’s  novel  Such  A  Long  Journey  was  omitted  from  the  Second  Year  Bachelor  of  Arts  (SYBA)  English  Literature  syllabus  of  the  University  of  Mumbai.

   We  are  disturbed  and  alarmed  by  the  manner  in  which  the  Vice-Chancellor  of  the  University,  Dr.  Rajan  Welukar,  bowed  down to  the  demands  of  the  Bharatiya  Vidyarthi  Sena  (the  student  wing  of  the  Shiv  Sena)  and  had  the  novel  dropped  from  the syllabus  overnight,  purely  on  account  of  the  group’s  displeasure  with  “anti  Shiv  Sena  passages”;  “derogatory  references”  to Mumbai’s  dabbawalas,  the  Marathi  Manoos  and  Pandit  Jawaharlal  Nehru;  and  “extremely  obscene  and  vulgar  language  in  its  text”.

   While  we  do  not  deny  that  the  BVS  and  its  supporters  have  every  right  to  be  outraged  by  the  contents  of  the  novel,  we strongly  oppose  the  means  which  they  have  chosen  to  express  their  dissent,  which  includes  burning  copies  of  the  book  and the  issuing  of  ultimatums  not  only  for  the  VC  to  omit  the  text  from  the  syllabus  within  24  hours,  but  also  to  exclude  the professors  who  included  to  text  in  the  syllabus  from any university  work in  the  future.  Furthermore,  being  keenly  aware  of  the immense  bureaucracy  involved  in  the  decision-making  processes  of  the  University,  we  question  the  nature  of  the  administrative process  which  led  to  the  book  being  dropped  from  the  syllabus  and  demand  that  the  details  of  the  said  proceedings  be made  public.

   Lastly,  in  the  interest  of  upholding  the  democratic  principles  enshrined  within  the  Indian  Constitution,  we  demand  that  the  novel be  reinstated  in  the  syllabus  and  urge  the  BVS  and  its  supporters  to  initiate  healthy  and  democratic  debate  regarding whether  it  deserves  a  place  in  the  syllabus  or  not.

Yours  sincerely,

  1. Asad Bin Saif                                BUILD
  2. Avinash Kadam                           Revolutionary Cultural Movement
  3. Dr. Arif Syed                               Citizens' Initiative for Peace
  4. Jatin Desai                                  Peoples' Media Initiative
  5. Kamayani                                    Human Rights activist
  6. Madhav Menon                           Citizens' Initiative for Peace
  7. Meena Menon                             Focus on the Global South
  8. Salil Rameshchandra                   Citizens' Initiative for Peace
  9. Sukla Sen                                    Ekta (Committee for Communal Amity)

Please add your name, college/organisation name, position/department/year, etc. as a comment.