I am extremely sorry readers for not been too regular in updating my blog since the start of the Navratri. Honestly, I must confess I am yet to recover fully from my depression and some of my personal problems have bogged me down a little. No, please don’t get me wrong but when you are in the real war zone, at times it can be really hard to fathom the harsh realities and wherever you look at, there are pains, sorrows and problems that one cannot just solve it in a day’s time. One thing is for sure but, my passion and zeal is as strong as before and I know it is a long-long way ahead before something concrete will be achieved in years to come.
The French girls – Perrine and Mathilde wanted to meet the widows I was working with, so on 19th October, we went to visit them. The first stop was Aruna Jivan Barade’s house. The harvesting season in Vidarbha starts from early October and hence she was not at home. Aruna has been working hard as a labourer in her own fields that she had leased to another farmer. How ironical it is that the land lady (of 2 acres) is working as a labourer in her own land from morning till evening to come home at 6 pm and earn her living... Sheetal, the eldest daughter welcomed us at home, made nice tea. The village children from nearby Sheetal’s house all came to see what these foreigners were up to. While Perrine and Mathilde expressed their desire to have a look at the house, Sheetal was kind enough to show them their small neat abode...
Perrine with Sheetal Ramji Barde
Perrine expressed her keen observation later to me by saying, “You can’t see miseries on people’s faces as such, however, there may be under current of pains connecting their lives. There is shortage of drinking water, hygiene and sanitation are missing in the village surroundings...no proper drainage system even though there is no space problem and we found villages were surprisingly cleaner than Bombay city. It was nice to see villagers were happy to see us but they were shy to interact... talked less but their curiosity and happiness were very real as compared to city folks. It was a moving moment for us to see how well we were served with water, tea and supari and saunf...in spite of their pains, poverty and sorrows. Their hospitality was warm and full of love, something we have not experienced in city homes.”
Having spent a little time to look around the village ambience, we went to the next house in Salod. Vaishali Sagare, the youngest daughter welcomed us warmly and insisted we must have tea at least. She informed us that mother and elder sister were working at the fields and would be home later in the evening. The first year is surely my learning period to know what all the villagers do during which month... and how their life cycle revolves all year long. After spending some time at Sagare’s house, we drove to Khurjhadi (Fort) and when we knocked at Ujwala Prabhakar Petkar’s house, we found she was lying in bed with fever. In spite of her sick condition, she woke up and welcomed us. I spoke to her and asked if she had gone to the doctor and had taken medicine... she said yes! She was resting as she had been sick since last couple of days from hard work in the fields. She was happy to meet Perrine and Mathilde and felt sorry for not been able to welcome them because of her health condition.
Perrine and Mathilde was touched to see her condition. From there we returned home with a heavy heart. Perrine appreciated my small gesture of giving the villagers copies of their photographs that I had clicked during my last visit. In fact, she told me, “It is much better than giving the villagers sweets because these photographs will always remind them of you. The happiness that these photographs brought on their faces was so real and touching to see them enjoying the beauty of their own pictures. You have indeed touched the right chord and build a good bonding with these families. Keep up the good work Johnny.”
In fact, even I noticed how happy the children were to see their own pictures and to get copies of the photographs. Perrine and Mathilde were amazed how these widows were fighting life to work so hard to see their fatherless children grow into beautiful citizen. In the evening when we came home, I received a call from my friend Anupama, who invited us to visit their 37 acres Organic Farm at Naigaon – Bk! Tomorrow is another amazing experience... keep reading!
Wish to thank one and all for all your kind support and encouragement. It is what makes me strong to keep pursuing the goals of the world!!! Cuidate!!!