– IFD Adarsh Bhat (Batch 2012-13)
An incident that inspired me was a visit to one of the villages to facilitate PRA activities. As we were going about the exercises, the boys with China-made mobile phone blasting Hindi movie hits from the 90’s came forward and asked us how these activities were going to help them increase their income and other questions along the same line. We came up with answers for those. Then a young woman dressed in traditional one-piece sari, baby hanging off her body in a make-shift bath towel hammock, came forward to participate. Among other questions, we asked her about her annual income. She answered “Some 5000-7000 rupees.”
But it was the expression on her face that caught my attention. It was one that clearly suggested that the money really had no value in her life. She could very well do without the concept of money at all. Later on, we said that the PRA will help her see the shortcomings that exist in her society and help her improve her income and lead a better life. She had something to say.
She said in Odiya “What will I do with more money? I go collect “katho” (firewood) from the forest; we also have fruits that we get from the forest. Pumpkin grows on the climber that runs on my roof, along with other vegetables in my yard. We also have quite a few hens that will lay eggs. We get rice from our farm and sugar from the PDS shop within my 5000 rupees. My son takes the goats and cattle to graze. And I wear flowers in my hair every day from Budri’s(neighbour) garden.”
This was an inspiring moment for me because it clearly told me that I have given value to the wrong things in life. We have given money so much value, far ahead of the basic things in life. Her life was so simple and yet she was completely content with everything. One might argue saying, she hasn’t seen the world, and thus she is like a frog in the well. But I would like to ask, “Does she really need to?”