Small Talk With Chris Harrison

CHANGE leaders do great things, and often that is all we know about them. Here we want to get a different glimpse of the personalities that constitute the development space. Every month we get one leader to answer four quirky questions. This week we catch up with CHRIS HARRISON, the chairman of The Friends of Baale Mane Gopalapura.

Chris first came across the Baale – a shelter for abandoned girls living on the streets – in 2004 while on a visit from the UK. He and his friend Matt Clarke were blown away by the concept and how much was being achieved by a small dedicated team with limited resources from the Paraspara Trust.

They soon got involved and eventually found a way to support the Baale Mane, registered as an independent trust in 2007, with resources and funds to build a permanent and loving home in Gopalapura, a village north of Bangalore, for rescued minor girls. What began as a one-room project and only enough funding for one meal a day, has now grown to a home for up to 50 girls with high quality care-planning, programmes and governance. A further 20 girls are supported as they transition to an independent life.

Small Change: Name three specific subjects you know very little about but are keen to learn/read up on. 

C.H: Hinduism, Tipu Sultan and biochemistry.

Small Change: What are three things you would take with you on a 16-hour flight?

C.H: I can’t quite imagine a 16-hour flight! However, I would have to have my laptop with me which would be an opportunity to catch up on any work that I’ve been neglecting. Hopefully, I could get this dealt with quickly, to benefit from the two other things I’d like to do. I would definitely have my iPad with a downloaded mini-series which I would binge watch: House of Cards or Designated Survivor comes to mind.

I think I’d also have to have a really good novel that I had already started. I have recently read all six novels in The Asian Saga series written by British author James Clavell. And if someone could recommend another author who I would find as enjoyable and engrossing that is the book that I would take.

Small Change: What movie last made you tear up? If movies don’t make you cry, then which one had the most emotional impact?

C.H: In the first question, you asked me to be on an aeroplane. The only time I cry when watching movies, is when I’m on an aeroplane! It’s probably got more to do with the effect of altitude than the film! Unfortunately, the other problem is that there is something about travelling on an aeroplane that means I can never really remember the films that I have watched. So, I can’t remember the last one that made me cry 🙂

Small Change: What are three things you’d cook to impress a new friend?

C.H: Cooking is one of my passions. If it was a single meal, I would start with a simple plate, perhaps a salad with chorizo sausage, small new potatoes, lettuce and tomato. For the main course, it would have to be a white fish. Perhaps a Dover sole with a delicate cream sauce, served with green beans and samphire. Dessert would have to be a chocolate soufflé. I’m afraid this wouldn’t much appeal to any of my Indian friends, but I can definitely serve some chilli flavoured chocolate with coffee afterwards.

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