It has been over a month, I am staying at a certain tribal village with the people, sharing their reality. I am here to collect data. When I enter their house I say I am from IRMA and we are here to survey your household, know about your income, expenditure, the crops you grow, the food you eat, the school your kids go, the diseases you suffer from. I get my responses, I jot them down and move on with my life. ‘Another household covered…!’ I exclaim within myself.
But then I recently met a family, just a mere household I went to cover, to get my data points, to get the variation in my data. The head of the family suffered from asthma, the lady was an agricultural labourer. They had two kids, stunted in their growth but way ahead with their mind. The kids knew how much food grains they get from the fair price shop every month as it is invaluable for their existence, they knew how much the seeds cost, how much it took to rent a tractor to farm, how much fertilizer they put in. Heck, the 12 year olds even knew how much it costs to sell their goats, as it is what helps the family when the rain plays a spoilsport and ruins their crops.
I clamour that my life has been tough, when mom cooks something which I dislike, when my internet speeds suffer, when my order doesn’t get delivered on time, when my phone battery is about to die. But their struggles are about life and death, every single day. The lady goes out to the nearby town and works as a labourer, the father goes out in the farm, the kids to the nearby school. They come together at night when it grows dark and suddenly, the lights go off, they feel absolutely indifferent. They know this is a part of their life, a part of their daily struggle, to embrace the darkness. No electricity can clear such darkness.
It gave me a sense of understanding. To be honest, it made me feel grateful and helpless
simultaneously. Grateful, that I was privileged enough to be born and brought up in a way where I could realize my potentials and try to push my limits. And helpless as I could give them nothing but my sympathy. I know both their kids won’t study for long, they too would go out and toil in the sun to support the family. The vicious cycle would continue, their poverty would never come in their zone of control. It will only go on further and farther.
That day I realised I am not here to just get my data-points, to get my 21 Households surveyed and prepare a report. There is so much more to each person I meet, much more than the amount of wheat, rice, sugar they consume, much more than the pay they receive. I saw a picture of life that was non-existent for me. Never in my life would I have come to know these people, their lifestyle, their struggles. As an individual it affects me, makes me understand their pain of hunger, their pain of ignorance, their absolute helplessness.
With a heavy heart, teary eyes and a sense of realization I walked out of their home. They were not mere data-points for me anymore…
Wish you a very happy and insightful new year 🙂
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