The Rice Bucket Challenge Gathers Steam

The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge has been a huge success around the world, generating more than $100 million for the ALS Association. Conceived as a way to raise awareness about ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) and Melvin Durai's Humorhelp find a cure for the disease, the Ice Bucket Challenge has gone viral, causing immense joy at the offices of the ALS Association, as well as the companies that produce ice. Even the rapper Vanilla Ice is thrilled, as millions of people feel a sudden urge to listen to his 1990 hit song “Ice Ice Baby.”

While the Ice Bucket Challenge has also been a hit in India, another campaign has been gathering steam: The Rice Bucket Challenge. It requires you to eat an entire bucket of rice at one meal. Then make a donation to the Diabetes Foundation of India.

Actually, the Rice Bucket Challenge isn’t like that at all. The brainchild of Hyderabad journalist Manju Latha Rice bucketKalanidihi, it involves giving a bucket of rice to a needy person. Participants are asked to post a photo on social media of the rice-giving, tag their friends and challenge them to do the same.

“It’s local, desi and a practical solution to issues in the vicinity,” Kalanidihi wrote on Facebook. “Instead of wasting water on ice bucket challenge, save water and feed the hungry.”

Not only does the Ice Bucket Challenge seem wasteful to many Indians, it’s hardly challenging to some of them.

“Ice Bucket Challenge is no big deal for me,” a Kerala man named Thomas T. Thomas said. “I take ice-cold bath with bucket every day anyway. It cools me off. Very refreshing.”

The Rice Bucket Challenge is far more appealing to him and others. Dozens of photos of grateful people receiving buckets of rice have been posted on the Facebook page of the Rice Bucket Challenge. More than 60,000 people have ‘liked’ the page, and even Vanilla Ice has endorsed the idea, promising to release a new version of his song called “Rice Rice Baby.”

The popularity of the Ice Bucket Challenge and the Rice Bucket Challenge will no doubt produce many other similar campaigns. Here are some that you should definitely add to your bucket list:

The Spice Bucket Challenge: Like the Rice Bucket Challenge, this is perfect for Indians, Pakistanis and others who like to spice it up. Just fill up a bucket with your favorite spice and donate it to a needy person. This challenge will be promoted worldwide by The Spice Girls and co-sponsored by SpiceJet, Old Spice and Wendy’s Spicy Chicken Sandwich.

The Mice Bucket Challenge: This is far more challenging than the Ice Bucket Challenge. Just go to a pet store, buy a bucketful of mice and dump them on your boss at work. (Be honest – you’ve been dreaming of doing this for a long time.) Your boss may scream obscenities at you, but just tell him or her that it’s for a good cause: the emancipation of mice. Post a photo of your achievement online and receive a lifetime membership in PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals).

The Device Bucket Challenge: You probably have a friend who is always buying the latest device, whether it’s a cellphone, iPod or tablet computer. Your challenge is to fill a bucket with all the devices lying around and dump them on your friend. Tell your friend to donate some of his devices to a charitable organization that can use them. If he complains, don’t make a big deal about it. Just leave him to his own devices.

The Lice Bucket Challenge: This is perhaps the most difficult challenge of them all. Find children in your town or city who have lice in their hair, do them a big favor by removing all their lice, and don’t stop until you’ve filled an entire bucket. When someone asks you if you’ve done the Ice Bucket Challenge, dump the bucket on them and say, “No, but I’ve done the Lice Bucket Challenge.”

The Advice Bucket Challenge: Ask all your friends and relatives for advice – all kinds of advice: how to pay for college, how to get a job, how to find a spouse, how to save money for retirement. Write all the advice on strips of paper, fill a bucket with it, and dump it on your children. Trust me, they’ll be eternally grateful. But just in case they aren’t, keep a bucket of mice ready.

If you enjoyed this piece, you'll love Melvin's novel Bala Takes the Plunge, available in North America through and You can also find it at major bookstores in India and Sri Lanka or online at FlipKart, IndiaPlaza, FriendsofBooks or other sites. A number of readers have written reviews of the novel. An excerpt of the novel can be read here.


  1. Mr Melvin,
    Fantastic ideas, which only you can think of.


  2. Great to get your columns after long time Melvin.
    I especially liked the Lice and the Advice bucket challenges 🙂

  3. If anything the rice bucket challenge is a wonderfully humanitarian idea. The others are simply hilarious.

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