We may think owning a wi- fi connection or a large library will make us the most well informed persons in the world since the universe of knowledge is a our fingertips. We may also listen to all those prime time panel discussions by so called social scientists and intellectuals where they quote all the numbers and statistics. In both the cases ,we are delusional. The reality is somewhat different and I had the chance to experience it yesterday. A rickety auto rickshaw took me to the Dewali village where I went to the locality of Neemach Khera. The neighbourhood looked quite well off but upon walking for a fairly long time, I saw an array of kucha houses at the very foothills of Neemach Mata Temple. My purpose of coming here was to challenge my notion that poor people don’t invest in the higher education of girls. But as I walked upwards the slope I realized that I didn’t want to prove or disprove anything. I will accept whatever comes and keep the stereotype in a corner for right now.
May be because I had a lost expression on my face, I invited a few amusing glances from a group of men playing cards near a tea shop. As I took a left turn ,I saw a young lady in a yellow saree sweeping her courtyard. She smiled and welcomed me to her house. A set of muddy stairs led to a sparse room with no electric appliances. The bed was faintly visible over the heap of colourful fabrics and clothes. As it turned out her family made puppets and ghagra cholis for a living. She had three children ,two boys and one girl. They all went to the nearby government schools. I met the small girl who incidentally was my namesake.
She had came back from the school a few hours back and was now helping her mother in the household work. I never imagined I would learn about the brutality of caste system from an innocent little girl. “They don’t give us notebooks because we are from a lower jaat. They impose unnecessary fines on us because of our caste”. I was appalled and numbed by the mechanical confessions of the girl. Her mother clearly stated that she would pull her out as soon as the money runs out but she wished her daughter would continue her studies. The little girl showed me to the next few families living in the neighbourhood among which all were sceptical upon giving proper education to girls. The whole experience was an eye-opener for me and left me pondering about different aspects of life. I thanked the almighty for giving me everything I had in my life.I mentally felt embarrassed about all those times when I complained over petty issues. As I said good bye to everyone, the expectant look in the eyes of the little girl made me feel so vulnerable and hopeless. But I could feel a sense of resolve washing over my soul.
*Sometimes you go looking for a few pebbles and find a reluctant avalanche.