Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Eternal Hope for a Better Life

In one of the mobilization drives in our skilling center in an Industrial town of Haryana... I got to visit the home of a potential student.  I must admit I was not very enthusiastic in the beginning about going there in the evening as it was time for me to return to Delhi. But looking at our Center Head's enthusiasm, I agreed.

Then as we started negotiating the way towards the colony where the boy lived – I felt more and more out of place. Finally, we reached the place and found that the boy’s parents were not there. Somehow the mother came and I didn’t quite know what to do or say – so our Center Head led the conversation (like an expert I must say). However, the mother was non-committal about the son taking up the course and kept repeating that the father will take all decisions. All this while a picture of the boy’s life was emerging.

The boy’s parents had come to the town 22 years back, as a young couple, from a small village in Eastern UP to make something of their life. Father got employed with clothes/woollen factory then. Over the 22 years, 4 children were born. They kept living in a one room place in the slum all these years – they still are at the same place! 

The boy, eldest of the 4, dropped out of school after 10th class to support family income doing a 2k/month job. He said he wanted to support his father to get his sister married off.

Now, two years after the dropping out of school, the sister was married off and also the family had spent all their reserves in building a house in the native village. The boy had re-joined school and will be completing 12th this year – he hoped. He also hoped, with a sparkle in his eye that he would be able to do a course with NIIT and get a worthwhile job.

I held back my emotions as I wanted to immediately help the boy. I tried to stay objective here and keep responsibilities with the right people.

Then the father also appeared – he looked like a sixty year old person though he was probably around 45. He said he wanted his son to have a better life than him and would be willing to spend on his training after he finishes his schooling - which was just 30 days away.  This sounded just right.

Then what the father said ... flipped me completely.  He said that they have a marriage in the native place in July and they would be leaving for it in June and be back in August -- so the boy cant do any course till then!  They will review post August.  Our course cost was really low and on top there was a scholarship and also job guaranteed at the end of it in a short period of 4 months. All discussions and arguments were stalled beyond this.  This was it.

Did he really want a better future for the boy?  He has spent his entire life savings building a house in the native place ... where he goes once in two years for 1-2 months and at the same time continues to live in one room shack with 5 more bodies ...

His younger children one more boy and girl ... seemed to be without any direction or hope ... or let me say were destined to live as per 'destiny'.

It seemed like they were all living on with a hope that sometime in eternity the life will automatically be better ...

Living with hope is important - nay its necessary but without change in approach, mind-sets, and appropriate action ... its hopeless!