This is a story about Vinay and his little world.
Mangilal studied till 5th grade and lives with his father. Much of the harvest from farming is used for their own consumption and the rest is used to buy other necessities. Mangilal has no other skill to supplement this income earned by his father. He is too shy and would raise a doubt in anybody’s mind on how he would be able to navigate through this complex world. There are a group of tribal women, many of them from scheduled category. Unlike our facial creams, gels and packs they have their own style which naturally adds to their beauty. They are adorned with ornaments and this somehow feels more natural. Some wear similar nose rings as a tradition, they have a look of big loops which were fitted into small colorful beads. Some wear maang tikka (head piece jewellery) of badam size which unlike our affluent middle class is put in position by a simple thread running across the parting line on their head. While some strike out from among the rest by their glittering bangles and some by their exotic forehead stickers. These women have little information on the government schemes intended for them. They get income sometimes on MNREGA or depend completely on husbands who migrate for work. They have little economic independence and source too. Their self confidence can thus be guessed without much difficulty.
Everyone strives to better their living conditions and money is arguably the biggest means to achieve it. Now enters Vinay with his own cute little fantasies and expectations. He wanted to see things the way he would ideally like them to be. So keeping in line with this, he wanted to see each person associated with organization devote themselves selflessly to their utmost capacity for the welfare of society at large and be like demi-Gandhis. But Vinay sees arguments over petty issues and lot of loud voices of anger or frustration around him and feels these are rather avoidable quite easily.
Mangilal received skill training under an Aajeevika Bureau’s program. He got trained in ‘pipe fitting’ work and also received a tool, useful in that trade, at the successful completion of his training along with a certificate of appreciation. Aajeevika Bureau trains a number of youth in different fields which also include fields like security services and mobile repairing. And to give this story a happy ending (or actually a new beginning), it leverages its organizational capabilities to place them too. Tribal women who were once unaware of government schemes now educate other women in their localities about them. These women are made aware and trained to address the concerns of not only themselves but also their neighboring communities. This is done under the auspices of Aajeevika’s yet another program. These women call themselves – Ujala Kirans, which also metaphorically defines them. They now discuss in the meeting on the number of complaints or requests that were lodged by them in the government offices. Not only connecting themselves with government schemes, they share with pride the number of people they educated and connected with various schemes or programs. This particular meeting; they were also learning about a new scheme called ‘bhamashah’ and seemed excited to reap its benefits and inform their community folk. They decided to conduct meetings in an organized manner and seeked the organization’s opinion on procuring resources like a bag, register and a pen. They could in fact purchase from their own collective money. To elaborate, each of them contribute little amount of money every month to make their group sustainable over time. During the meeting, they come out and address the circle either as a part of some activities or to share the work they have done in their localities. Some speak with giggles, some talk shy, and some bold and passionate.
So coming back, Vinay sees all this and tries to understand the impact that is leaving on the lives of these many people. During this time, he also gets an opportunity to meet his organization’s heads. Coincidentally he has the discussion with them on whether he was having a good experience over there. One thing is that this attention and care towards him given was too much to ask for, given they could spend their energies on other things that matter – like the programs that were mentioned. But the more important thing is which story should Vinay carry with him to the outside world and how correct or smart (or can say fair) would it be to carry insignificant petty stories than the beautiful larger picture. He has to be wary of not forming an impressionable mind for little things he sees at close quarters on a daily basis which could cloud the incredible positive impact that brings joy and optimism.