the-common-man {The Common Man}

It’s quite annoying to be an audience to the same old predictable pieces of conversations swirling around the work tables, at the airport lounge {while killing moments remorselessly waiting for the aircraft to kiss the surface of the fagged out airport}, in the flight, on the escalator, at the taxi stand….pieces of conversations carrying that mindless restlessness about how to celebrate the arrival of a new fresh year, which watering hole to hit, what’s that one new thing to do on that fabulous earthy hour of the night when the goddamn old year is shown the door, and arms {cocooned in woolen cardigans, let’s not miss this fact!) reach out to hug the new arrival – A fresh New Year, a moment when people are expected to list down some stupid resolutions – Resolutions with No Sweat please, which invariably would be forgotten the next day or the next week. The New breed of Sensationalists, i.e. TV News Channels, guys and gals in the Monkey Business, flaunt, with some hideous sense of pride, the clips of the same old party scenes pan India – Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, ….humans swinging their bodies – legs, arms, hips…to some junkie music! Amidst this nonsensical organized cacophony, I came across something in today’s The TOI , “REAL, AUTHENTIC AND PROLETARIAN INTERNALISM”. There are a few individuals, very regular people with a mission,  who amazingly have already taken a leap into something precious, i.e. do that bit for the society, which  we always think of doing, we always talk about during those Fag or Coffee breaks, you know it’s fashionable to nurture certain a degree of  “Social Conscience”, at least while holding conversations with others, that twisting pinch of which we feel most times… How shallow and superficial we could be ? disgusting!  And how meaningless are our lives?

This TOI article talks about some Indian Idols ….it reads “In an I-me-mine world, the workaday hero holds out a comforting reassurance that all is not lost, that greatness does spring out of ordinariness…”

Babar Ali, the article says is an unusual teenager. While his peers are immersed in their own lives, this class XI student has decided to do his bit for others. After his classes get over, this 16 yr old turns the small courtyard of his house in Berhampore, West Bengal, into a makeshift school for nearly 600 children. Moved by the plight of some parents who could not afford to send their children to school, he took it on himself to teach them. Some of his students walk as much as 4 kms to reach his house. Besides lessons, the children are drawn by the free rice distributed at the end of each month. “Attendance was falling drastically. That is when I hit upon this idea. As my school is not recognized by the government, I could not have got free rice. But government officials helped me”. Ali has big dreams for the future…he dreams that his school would grow and expand to other parts of the state and country where children want to but cant go to school….

Jayati Chakraborty, every morning, wakes to the sound of drums from a distant santhal village. She walks barefoot to a nearby field. Every morning, she waits till they start streaming in through the green iron gate that separates Bhalopahar from the rest of Bandowan in Purulia on the Bengal-Jharkand border. This area is infested by Maoists and inhabited by adivasis on the edge of survival. She gave up a secure job with Tisco “to build something new, create something that would be of use to others. Honestly, I did not know what it could be”. She happened to visit Bhalopahar, an NGO run by another former Tata employee Kamalesh Chakraborthy, got inspired by his developmental work in the area….faced down appalled friends and family  ”they found it hard to believe that I would be better off working with poor people in a godforsaken village”. She tried new things – Linseed and Tomato farming, converted a hall into a classroom and started with 66 students in 2001. It seemed  the school was waiting to happen,” she says.

Dinesh Goswami, who learnt about the fate of Whale sharks in a documentary by environmentalist Mike Pandey, decided to make it his mission to save them. Every time a Whale shark gets caught in a fishing net, he rushes to the rescue. Even if it means giving up his daily wage of Rs 160 at a private company in Sutrapada taluka of Junagadh district. Most times, it’s not an easy mission. Rough weather and a choppy sea make it a risky affair. But a saved Whale shark is worth all the trouble, he says, who has rescued as many as 50 so far. Describing his most dangerous rescue so far, he recounts, “State officials called me after reports that a shark was trapped in a net. Fter we set off, the sea got very rough and every minute, we thought the boat would overturn. Thankfully, we managed to save the whale shark and return safely”. He now runs Paryawaran Mitra, an NGO for the protection of sea animals.

The former Physics professor Sekhar Raghavan is passionate about saving and harvesting water. He taught himself all there was to know about rainwater-harvesting and then spread the word. Chennai based Raghavan worked for the Centre for Policy studies, which examines traditional ways of living. He says, he found “we had the complete records of Chengelpet district for 200 years and realized rain-water harvesting is not new. Its just something we had forgotten”. His Akash Ganga Trust eventually led to rainwater harvesting becoming compulsory for all buildings in TN 2002.

Hemant Goswami, in 2005, when the Right to Information Act (RTI) came into force, decided to use it to make Chandigarh the first smoke-free city. He filed over 300 RTI petitions with all government departments and offices, raising questions about their adherence to Tobacco control laws. In a year, morte than 1800 signboards warning people of the health implications of smoking were up in all government offices. Educational institutes too fell in line. He lobbied with the Chandigarh police which agreed to initiate enforcement drive as well as rain policemen on provisions of the law.

Simple Real human tales with solid and inspiring thoughts….I salute them. And it’s time for me make a conscious effort to draw some inspiration from such true human beings. I {link :am not certain what I am going to do, but maybe this, to begin with {Feed Cows- Abandoned, Neglected} 






Bachhu - my friend who loves Bananas and chapatis

Bachhu - my friend who loves Bananas and chapatis

What they are doing is beyond all that meaningless existence laden with materialistic pursuits, which most of us lead.

{this TOI article is a collection of reports from Arnab Ganguly & Subrata Mukherjee in Kolkatta, Himanshu Kaushik in Ahmedabad, Shruti Setia Chhabra in Chandigarh, Prithvijit Mitra in Kolkatta and Shalini Umachandran in Chennai}  

And I have to mention Mr Tukaram Omble here, who held onto the gun barrel of the terrorist in the Skoda at the Chowpatty and took all the bullets in his chest but did not give up.  {Mumbai 26/11 Carnage} mumbaicarnage

{Link :When the terrorists’ bullets exploded into Tukaram Omble’s stomach, he was not wearing an NSG commando’s uniform. When he challenged two terrorists at Girgaum chowpatty, where their run on a hijacked car was stopped, Omble was armed with only a lathi. Yet, Mumbai learnt later that he had another weapon that few Mumbaikars thought an assistant sub-inspector like Omble would carry: courage that outstrips the collective bravado of all the Indian six-pack jocks. While some fled from the scene fearing death, Omble looked in the eyes of death and embraced it.}