Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Jai Ho

Preethi, a Homeopathic Doctor, even though has been with us on and off for past couple of months, was initiated into actual community work yesterday. And it turned out to be a day to remember for her.
Preethi came back from the field visit saying she can't take off from her memory the tears and the eyes that beheld it! She, with a deep thought, asked me when the house for her in the village will be ready (she is now staying in the farm). I was a little perplexed .. she told, staying there she can physically help with the construction work of Amutha's home .. the beholder of those tears.
I opined that while it is a good thought, we should also look at alternate solutions for Amutha. Preethi is just going through exactly the battles I went through when I started living with the community here. Our breed of people bleeds with the heart which actually does. For many of the policy makers, growth model managers and students of development theories Preethi's decision may seem emotional, a solution that is neither scalable nor sustainable, that has little direction and has limited impact. On the contrary, I believe, what she is carrying now is something that will in certainty bring in happiness to the immediate life of Amutha and her son. There is an indirect consequence that this happiness spreads. Thats a far better impact than many of the theories which never sees the daylight and when it does brings no solace for people like Amutha..contradictorily these policies landed her in trouble in the first place!
As I was discussing with Preethi about Amutha, the MSN page I was browsing had an article "Anil Ambani's $1 billion home still not in the list of Forbes most expensive homes"... Jai Ho!!! I pray, Preethi's heart and her breed of people swell large enough to be some day listed in the annals of history!
Now, let me get to the day of Preethi's! She visited a few homes where our health workers found it very hard to make an impact even though care is absolutely necessary. Later she had a meeting with a group of ladies.
When coming back, she visited Amutha whose husband moved out of her life immediately after a boy was born. Amutha has very few relatives and her son is also not a healthy boy. While she goes out to do daily labour work, she is not the "strong" ones whom a farm owner/employer prefers...she can't be a load (wo)man, masons won't prefer her or she can't do paddy thrashing. She won't get work all days because of this and she may not be equally paid like the rest.
Now, through a Government housing scheme she was offered a "pucca concrete" house for her thatched home. The Government pays Rs.70,000, part of it by supplies. Like many of the ill planned schemes, some 3 lakh homes were to come in the 1st year across the state. The timing was wrong, demand shot up, prices of raw materials went up by nearly 200%. A brick which was costing Rs. 2.75 a month before is now Rs.6 .. and if the person is lucky to get a hand on it. Anyway, lot of her neighbours convinced Amutha to go for it. Now, she is caught between the devil and the deep blue sea, with her house raced down and not knowing how to finish this building!
Amutha found a patient ear in Preethi to tell all her life sorrows and sufferings. She being pushed into a dependent life all through her life and the daily suffering she has to go through, any Tom, Dick and Harry has an idea for her. I have seen many times she takes a decision which hurts her later. We can endlessly debate on the attitudal change that change makers have to bring in her...but for some one who suffers day in and day out .. who is loved by very few, who goes empty stomach many days, on whom the society slants its concocted eye ... the only comfort given is love and sharing.

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