Just when you sit back and think that you have done your bit, and maybe can take a break , someone decides otherwise and a tiny broken heart lands softly on your planet. One look at the trusting eyes and innocent face and your mind is already racing.
Deepak is 7 months old and requires open heart surgery. Though his face is plump his tiny body is proof of how difficult the simple task of breathing is for this child. The scribbled now familiar green card of the All India Institute lies in front of you..
70 000 rs with the added 4000 for the angiograpy.. how can little deepak's daily wage labourer father ever put that money together.. and you ask yourself which one of the thousands of prayers his mom must have whispered, did he hear!
One has to stop and I think at the reality we often do not see. One the one hand India is shining and more and more of our countryPals are making it on the world's richest men list.. Five start medical facilities now attract a new form of tourism. But no effort is being made towards medical care for the poor.
A TV network recently showed an old educated couple begging in the streets of Mumbay. The dignified old lady wore a placard around her neck saying she had lost her eyesight, breast and home to cancer and needs help.
Looking at those pictures I felt so small and inadequate and wondered where had we gone wrong in building our nation.. True that after the programme, help poured in and the couple is now comfortable. But many questions remained unanswered.. is it only after a story of human tragedy is aired on TV that people open their hearts and feel a sense of responsibility..? does our charitable side needs external prompts to awaken..?
In our 7 years of up market begging one has had to accept the sad reality that individual heart wrenching cases do get heeded, whereas long term and preventive projects are difficult to sell.. the person willing to come forward in individual cases, tiptoes away when asked for help in our every day work..
A flash of intuition or some hidden instinct pushed me to set up a community driven grass root project, and in our 7th year running and in spite of the innumerable setbacks and looming temptations, the tug is still very much there. No magical wand is going to create a perfect social system no matter how committed an administration we have. The magical wand lies in our ability to awaken the charitable side that lies dormant in each one of us, so that a network of support is created at the micro level and takes care of its own - the poor, the handicapped, the old, the sick - and ultimately this is the network that will create the bridge between national programmes and the end user.
How, is the question, and my answer remains the same: the one rupee a day model, where the one rupee could be translated as free space, time, skills and resources.. If each of our outreach programmes could be handled by the local community, we would see a quantum leap in the number of children helped..
I have always held that India's solutions lie in addressing simultaneously the macro and the micro level till the day the meet and synergise.
Will that day dawn in our life span, I do not know, but in the spirit of what has been said, one has to continue with conviction in what one feels is right.
Deepak needs a new heart that is today's challenge, tomorrow's is to ensure that we are still around for all the other Jyotis and Deepaks in waiting!