Being in the field of social work, I get an opportunity to meet unusual people across remote locations in India and each of them have something unique to tell me. Most of these stories are of those people who have had very little in life; no education, no access to the basics that we take for granted (food, clothing and shelter) and sometimes what seems to be a bleak future. Yet when my phone rings on a random day with one little girl from the far off land of Taraunkala calls me to tell her excitedly that instead of getting married at 18, her mother has saved enough for her to go to a nursing school, my heart swells in pride.
I have heard “A rupee saved is a rupee earned” all through my childhood but somehow I never believed in this concept. I preferred to live in the moment and enjoy myself to the fullest rather than penny pinch. When I started visiting different places as a part of my studies, I had to interact with a lot of Self Help Groups or Bachat Gat as they were locally called. And here the person who did not believe in saving had to preach exactly that.
I heard stories that moved me to tears. All had a common theme; they all said the same thing to me. So what if I couldn’t study, my children would never suffer for the want of money. My daughter will not be married off at a young age; she will study and do something with her life.
Why should I go as far as villages of Maharashtra? Let me tell you the story of the telecaller in my Dad’s company, Sunita. She is a wonderful lady who has big dreams for her two girls who are academically very strong in school. Yet when one of them managed to get a good score in her SSC exams which would enable her to secure admission in a great college, we could see worry lines creasing her forehead.
My house maid, who comes to our house every day with a big smile had started looking defeated just a few months back. She would smile sometimes but that would not even reach her eyes. She required money, urgently for her mother’s operation.
And me? Well, there has been one instance when I had felt an urgent need for money. I had been invited to go to Malaysia but I could collect enough cash in the week’s time that was given to me for my visa and I had to let go of that opportunity. I remember crying to bed every day for a week.
This is where I feel this beautiful video from Birla Sun Life Insurance would inspire me and these two wonderful ladies with its battle cry of Khud Ko Kar Buland.
Planning our future but at the same time not being obsessed about an unforeseen event is something that we need to incorporate in our daily lives. If I had planned better I am sure I would have come back with a camera full of wonderful memories from Malaysia. But am I going to let this incident affect me? Well, yes because I fully intend to start working towards a structured future which would have a safety net should I ever stumble or fall in life.