If journalism is the first rough draft of history, journalists need to make sure that in the press of events, goodness doesn’t go unchronicled writes a journalist in an article in the Independence issue of a recent leading magazine. The issue is aptly entitled the good news of India. It was a breath of fresh air after all the grim issues that highlighted only the bad news. And it seems that more than one magazine decided it was time to share the good news as another leading one decided to shelve the politicians and big wigs and devote its Iday issue on highlighting the trials and tribulations of invisible Indians. Kudos to both of them. It is time this happened as we have been for far too long stifled by 'bad' news aka scams, terror, murders and more of the same.
Good news, it is said, does not get the aspired TRP rates and yet when we find a story of hope tucked away in an inside page, or the end of a news bulletin it is almost like the breath of fresh air we need to survive. It is time someone listened and chronicled it, if not for us then at least for history.
Some years back I got a mail from an unknown person. He was keen on knowing more about our work as he wanted to write about it. He was not a journo but the creator of a website called Good News India and his mission was to scout across India to find what he aptly called News from India : of positive action, steely endeavour and quiet triumphs ~ news that is little known. The site was a plethora of stories about Indians who make a difference. Way back in 2003 he wrote about Ana Hazare the very person India is celebrating today. Perhaps he knew intuitively that Ana would one day lead India against corruption. I am proud to say that project why was also one of the good stories.
We need to celebrate the little people, the ones that remain hidden and unseen. They are the soul of any nation, the ones that keep it alive and vibrant. On Independence day we too celebrated our very own: the special children. On that day they got sparkling gold medals to honour them. It is a sad that our society has never learn to appreciate and celebrate difference. Special children may not be quite like us, or so we would want to believe, but if you learn to see with your heart, they are far better human beings than us. They truly know how to celebrate difference as they accept us unconditionally and allow us to enter their world without reserve. They are always ready to shower us with wholehearted love. And yet they remain invisible, hidden by their families and loved ones, shunned by schools and rebuffed by potential employers. We try to bring a little balm to their hearts and light to their dark existences. But on I Day we decided to bring them all center stage and give them a medal just for being who they are: the very best! Needless to say their eyes were filled with joy and pride and we hope the medals will be displayed in their homes as a gentle reminder of their existence.
The invisible Indians referred to in the magazine are the very ones we pass by and do not see, as we do not look with our hearts. And yet they are a part and parcel of our lives as they more than anyone else make our existence better. I am talking about the one who does not bat an eye lid and gets into your drain to unclog it or the tailor who works hard at finishing your favourite designer's latest outfit that you will wear at the next do, and what about the innumerable construction workers who enabled your dream home to be completed? have you ever spared a thought for them.
I have my set of little people who I never fail to acknowledge whenever I see them. Come to think about it how much does a smile or a hello cost? There is my roadside tailor who has fixed so many of my clothes, the cobbler who repairs a broken heel in a jiffy, the vegetable vendor who sits late into the night and ensured you get the lemon needed for you sundowner. The list goes on: my sun in law's favourite roadside barber, the chai wallah who has been there for decades and knows us all, the ironing lady who ensures that all of us wear well pressed clothes, the little flower man who brings the puja (prayer) flowers every morning notwithstanding the weather, the garbage man who lands every morning with his cart to your rid you of your garbage, the kabadiwallah who takes away your old newspapers and empty bottles and even pays you for them. And what about your electrician, your plumber, your garner. Imagine life without them. No pretty! Yet how many of us know their names and have bothered to find out about their lives. And yet they have lives, lives that perhaps are not amazing enough to make headlines, but still lives that deserve to be heard and chronicled as they are also part of history.
I remember reading a collection of books in my youth. It was a French collection named La vie quotidien du temps des... (Daily life in the times of...) and it could be the Romans, the Middle Ages, the Ancient Egypt and so on. It made fascinating reading because unlike history books it documented the lives of ordinary people. I have tried in my blog to record some such stories as I have had the privilege in the past decade to live close to such invisible people and learnt to love and respect them. I need to write more!
Today let me just say Chapeau Bas to all the invisible people and a big thank you for being there for us.