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Wednesday, 4 March 2015

OF HOPE, OPTIMISM & INSPIRATION: EACH OF US HAS A STORY TO TELL!

Everyone has at some point of time in their life envisioned a Utopian world...a world where food,clothing and shelter is the mandated right of every citizen.A world where equal opportunities prevail and free access to education,clean drinking water, hygiene, sanitation and basic health-care is the duty of the governments we elect who ensure in the well-being and welfare of their citizens.At least this is one of the recurring dreams I've had where I'm surrounded by many smiling faces brimming with joy,filled with contentment and happiness!

However when I wake up from that dream and I'm exposed to the happenings of the real world that's marred by greed,discontentment,cut-throat competition,unhappiness,corruption, crimes etc. is when I begin to realize that the idea of Utopia is a distant reality!

Be it newspapers,television channels or personal experiences-at some cross-road of our lives when we read, watch or come face-to-face with such situations taking place in our society;it shocks the daylight out of us that further diminishes our hope that anything good is even remotely possible in the world that we live in today! 

However when I turn to the fourth of fifth page of the newspaper,it is here that I once again re-discover that all is not lost...not yet!

Thus when I read about an innovator like Christian Sarkar who builds homes for just $300 when he offers a sustainable,renewable and an end-to-end housing solution by providing mosquito nets, solar panel,tablet PC,built-in furniture,solar cooker and water filter - it brings a smile back on my face! I'm then filled with optimism that there's at least one man (and many more like him/ her) endeavoring to make a difference!


Then when I come across Cynthia Koenig's research in a journal about her Wello: WaterWheel project aiding rural women in their daily chores to stroll in water (like a pitcher strolley akin to a luggage strolley) instead of carrying litres of water on their head which saves time and averts a health problem in the long run, I am inspired and awe-struck. 

Their ideas, innovations and inventions inspire us to reach the pedestals of glory that we aspire to reach in our very own lives.

Today,when I was watching on television a discussion on NDTV about  the documentary titled, India's daughter(based on the Nirbhaya gang-rape case which has met with controversy and the inevitable ban it faces in India) directed by British film maker,Leslee Udwin I was inspired by her commitment towards investing two years of her life in order to give the world a glimpse of the mind-set of the perpetrators of crime by actually going to their prison cells and interviewing them. And being a rape survivor herself, she was undeterred from taking up a documentary on this subject considering that it would freshen up her own wounds in the process is definitely the quality of the brave and fearless. On two levels she has inspired me-As a woman,being a victim of a heinous crime as rape herself and unashamed of the crime committed on her,she has given women around the world faced in such a predicament a window of hope,an identity, an opportunity and a voice. And through her documentary she holds a mirror in front of us all to show us our failings as an individual, as a society,as citizens and as a country on the whole where gender inequality and our patriarchal hierarchy has brought this calamity upon us.Through her documentary,she is educating both men and women to keep vigil about these prevalent thought-processes around us as we learn to shield ourselves from them.In her own way...she is inching towards making a difference in the lives of many young girls and women around the world...today it's a lone voice...tomorrow a debate and the day after it would ignite a movement for change and review in our legal system!


No one can forget the story of Dashrath Manjhi known as the "Mountain Man" who single-handedly carved a path from the narrow and treacherous mountains in the Gehlour hills of Bihar so that everyone his village could have easier access to medical attention after his wife died from the lack of it.People like Dashrath Manjhi are those who awaken the conscience of the people by motivating them to do the task themselves rather than waiting for the next passing person to do the job. 

The examples cited above are about people from different walks of life whose works speak volumes about the dreams they envisioned - be it through their innovations (like Christian Sarkar or Cynthia Koenig pioneered) or projects (like Leslee Udwin's documentary or the mammoth task that Dashrath Manjhi undertook).The bottom-line here is that these people are shining examples of optimism and hope because each of them in their own little way is contributing towards making the world a better place to live in!

Now, there are many people around us too whom we tend to overlook but they too silently nurture and pursue a dream like many of us do. And when they achieve it, we are inspired... some how their victory gives us hope that we too could conquer what we have set before ourselves.

Each of us has a story to tell!
I remember this particular incident about our domestic help- a very hard-working man who does a day job at our house and a night job as a regular security guard to make a living. Though in my eyes,I always felt that he was over-working as he hardly ever took a leave of absence from work to go to his village and meet his family until some months later it all changed.He would frequently go on a long leave of absence,not for days or weeks but for a month together!Though it put a regular joint-family household as ours in a lurch as we were all so dependent on him,but being a loyal domestic help we overlooked it until we discovered that he had been collecting his earnings and Provident Fund to build a concrete home for his family back in the village.I was so happy to see his efforts,optimism and resolute of making a home for himself and his family a reality!And to this day he works dedicatedly twice as hard as before to conquer yet another dream that would once again give us great joy and makes us proud of him!

Coming back to my child-hood days,I remember my house-hold help who was widowed at a very young age and had four young children to fend for.Being the sole bread-winner of the family,she worked very hard in her youth - she took up multiple jobs in several households not just to provide food for her children but also empower them with an education.Today,she is old and more relaxed than what she was before.Recently when I met her,she was overjoyed on seeing me in all those years and during our interaction I observed those fine wrinkles on her face-in them I saw her sweat, tears, hard-work, pain and sacrifice she had made in not just making a home for her children but independent self-reliant men and women she had made out of them.Today,when her children are well-employed,married and settled,I see that glint of joy and pride beaming through her eyes at their accomplishments and progress.

All in all,these are stories of ordinary men and women whom we look up to because like us they too cherish a dream.But with their actions,they conquer the marquee when they turn their dreams into reality and thus become extra-ordinary in our eyes.These are real stories about real people of real emotions that inspire us,touch us and fill our lives as they shine on as beacons of hope for the future! 

All these in turn re-instates my belief that wonderful things are happening around us,be it in small measures are adding significant value to our lives,in some way or the other,directly or indirectly.They are like precious droplets of water which maketh an ocean!

Regards,
Sonaal

This post was written for the #LookUp Stories Campaign at Housing.com

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