On the night of December 21, 2013 as I boarded the train to Mumbai from Delhi, I was a jobless educator unsure of the immediate future. I didn’t know where I am headed, will I get a job, do I want to do a job, should I go on this Jagriti Yatra…
There were questions running from everywhere to everywhere in my heart and mind. I had lost my grandmother a few days ago who I loved a lot. She would tell me stories of bravery, compassion, brotherhood, wickedness, beauty and would sing songs. The songs would have rhymes and simple words whose meaning as a kid would be different to what my adulterated brain would apprehend now.
At the same time it wasn’t hard for me to decide whether or not should I go on this journey. Grandmother was no more with me but she would be blessing me from wherever she is.
She saw destitution, lost her husband at a young age but raised her six kids and made them stable and stand on their legs.
I identify my grandmother as India. Destitute six decades ago, lost all the good leaders at young age but still made sure all of us have an identity in this world. But as my parents didn’t stop in the past and made sure we get educated and settle and in the process make good contribution to the society as citizens, it is our duty to make this India a better place.
All of you must have read everyday of my journey, the people I met, the stories I heard, the places I saw, the debates I listened to and the friends I made. I would repeat those words or the thoughts. I have something deeper to share with you all.
I traversed some 9000 kms on train and buses throughout the places we went. I came to know the societies and individuals at cities and villages. Diverse they were but there was nothing unknown.
I know this India. I live it every single day whether I am in Delhi or at Begusarai in Bihar. I have seen people dying of hunger and cold, I have seen kids taking to farming because there was in was they could study. I have seen wives being kicked everyday in my neighbour’s house every evening.
It is nothing new to me. It was nothing new to me. I don’t need a train running 8000 kms to tell me this. But then, there were quite a few things that amazed me. It was a time of staring deep inside ourselves and asking us are we equal contributors of whatever is happening all around?
I met more than 400 individuals, strangers, with a sense of consciousness of themselves. It is pathetic to remark that our generation is yet to attain any consciousness of its surroundings. Very few are aware of themselves and believe that they can make a difference to this India that sees scores of individuals dying unnecessarily.
On a train, our compartments were our home which we all terribly miss now. I particularly miss guys who can’t talk properly, you would make judgements within a jiffy, just to realise he has five patents at an age of twenty-five.
The moment you crib about how poor your parents were that they couldn’t afford a good education for you, there comes a guy who is orphan and is motivated to do something in the area of education.
You remember your friends wasting money on having a ‘good time’ and chilling out and think all the rich young men and women live the same way, there comes a girl who is moved by the state of affairs in villages, especially, in water and sanitation.
I heard stories from these twenty-somethings and felt belittled by whatever I was doing. These individuals are also having a good time but they are trying to take the society with them. They think of the whole society chilling out or at least be able to chill out.
Everyone admirable in his/her own way. From teaching her maid’s kid to young to the slums every Sunday without caring for the jibes/indifference from our own people, this girl is trying to make a statement. She is doing what she can. And if all of us think like her, it will be quite a big phenomenon.
Visiting places and seeing problems was just a part of the story. We came up with solutions to solve them all. Whether or not they are solved, it is for time to judge. The take away is people are looking in those pockets of society which have been ignored, perhaps, on purpose.
It is one thing to read in the newspaper and quite an experience when you actually see it turning up in front of you.
On January 7, I was at Sabarmati Ashram. There was this Viren Bhai who was interacting with us about his ‘Manav Sadhna’ school on the ashram premises. As we discussed Gandhi and whether he is present today, i almost cried with stories that he said.
He was a believer and narrated few instances when he had no money to take care of more than a thousand kids as he walked to shop for warm sheets for them. As he ordered just a few as against the big need that he had, he received a phone call that some one donated a big amount for the school.
And this was not a one off incident. He said when you are doing something good with good faith, universe does plan great things well before you start to face trouble.
I saw societies tattered. I saw people working to mend it. At times, the situations were so moving that I almost came to leaving the family and engage in activities that are in the larger good of the society.
I am on the way to Delhi now and I am still unsure what to do next. May be get a job, may be head to Sikkim and join Heidi in her endeavours, may be go to Rishikesh and join hands with other volunteers at that school which needs people, may be stay in Delhi and help my family till something good comes out where I can do the both…
I have no money but a wealth of groupmates who allowed me to mingle with them shared inspiring stories, promised to help in whatever ways they can. What else you need to be alive and kicking!