“Yeh jo des hai tera.. swades hai tera… tujhe hai pukara…” … as the song wafted through my laptop speakers. I was looking out of the window of my second floor room at Great Lakes Institute of Management. I could see the greenery around me… The beautiful green paddy field that was visible from the window of my room. The crop was swaying with the wind as though they were trained to dance to the rhythm of the breeze. “Mithi ki hai jo khusboo…tu kaise bhoolayega”… There was a slight drizzle and as soon as I opened the window of my Air conditioned room, I could smell the sweet smell of the first drops of rain falling on the parched ground. The feeling was great. It was as if my thoughts were being reflected in the beautiful song from the movie “Swades”. Here I was… in the green campus of Great Lakes Institute of Management. But what amazed me more was the greenery around the campus… Every morning, I would see the farmer of the field, moving around in his field, inspecting his paddy crop for any weeds and pests. How he would take care of them. It was like they were his little children. One day his children would repay him for all his toil.
As soon as you walk across the fields from the college, you come across this blue colored house by the side of the road. This is our “Adda” for Maggi noodles and piping hot Omelettes. After a long and exciting day of lectures, people usually go there to chill out and gorge on noodles and omlette. The cook at the house is a boy in his late teens. Though educated only up to class VI, you could see the enthusiasm in his eyes when folks from Great Lakes arrive at his place. It was on one such occasion that he asked me innocently. “ Indha college la catering course irukka, Enakku indha course la romba interest irukku”. (Does this college offer a course on catering, I am very much interested in it). Here was a guy.. deprived of education due to the pressure to earn money. You could see a twinkle in his eyes when you give him info about what the institute offers. He listens with so much interest, much more than the interest that you show in your lectures. I had a hard time explaining him what an MBA is. But at the end of it all, he quips, “Enakku padikkanum ni irukku” (I want to pursue further studies). There was a stark contrast between his life and mine. Here I was, 24 years old, pursuing my MBA, and here was this guy, in his late teens, having the desire to study further, but could not due to economic pressures. It was like two sides of the same coin. One side of the coin portrayed someone who was free to pursue his dreams. While the other one reflected someone who could not, portraying the backwardness of the same country. I wanted to help this guy pursue his dreams. But what could I do? I was a dependant myself. When I land up in a job, I would help many more like him, achieve something in life. I don’t know what made me think like this. But I felt a strong urge to do something for my motherland. I felt like a real Patriot. I don’t know what made uncle Bala to think of the name “ Patriots” for our batch, but I felt like one. The class of 2010 had everything that 24 odd year olds could ask for in life, but just a stone throws away from the campus, we could see many people struggling to make both ends meet. The karma yoga project exposed us to many such people. These people represented the real India. My motherland needed people who thought more about her than themselves. My motherland needed us now more than anything else. My motherland needed support. We cannot boast of a developed India without first lifting the scores of underprivileged people that inhabit our nation. We need to do something about it.
Avinash CR [firstname.lastname@example.org]