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Make it Happen!
It was a warm afternoon in the winters of 2012. I was at my desk with multiple tabs open on my computer screen, each of them acting like pathways to the upcoming opportunities in my life. Yes, I was done with my MBA entrance exams and was frantically writing SOPs for those coveted institutions where every MBA aspirant wants to be. I kept on glancing at those numbered questions on the screen and then I stopped at the ‘Purpose’. The line I wrote was “To be at a position where I could positively and significantly influence at least hundred people’s life”. After that, I spent the next two years in one of the most coveted institutions completing my MBA and then came the job interviews. One of the interviewers again asked me….What is your P? I repeated again “To be at a position where I could positively and significantly influence at least a hundred people's life”. I got the job.
Hailing from a small town, I was not very used to crowded buses and mostly walked to my office in Bangalore. On my way to the office, there were plastic tents where a family from Rajasthan used to live and sell colorful earthen pots. Though I always wondered why not many people bought such beautiful handicrafts, they never caught my attention so strongly until one day when I spotted a cute little girl playing there. She was lively and had an innocent face. Somehow, I felt connected to her as she reminded me of my childhood. But there was a difference between us. As a child, I was blessed enough to have proper accommodation and education and hence, I could dream of a white-collared job as I grew up. And here was this angel far from the shadows of education, far from the worries of her future playing merrily.
I felt a strong pull towards her. There was something captivating about her but I did not know for sure what. Maybe, it was just her big bright eyes. I bought a few chocolate bars from a local shop nearby and went to meet that girl. Initially, she was a little hesitant but soon we started talking and I came to know that she did not go to school. While I was talking to her, her mother came and stood by her. I told her that her daughter is very sweet and I would like to teach her. She was a little puzzled and asked if that would be possible. I said I would come to their place every weekend to which she agreed. I resumed my daily walk to my office but that day was really different from my other routine days. My every step on the road was filled with a new sense of confidence and joy. That day I went to the office happy and contented as if I was on a new mission, a new life to my monotonous Bangalore days.
While returning from the office, I bought some books, notebooks, and stationery for her and was impatiently waiting for the weekend to arrive. The first Saturday I met her was mostly spent on building a comfortable relationship with her. I came to know that she had attended school for a year but then she was pulled out of school as her father forced them out of his house and life. So to make a living, they used to sell those beautiful colored pots. She was very good at reciting rhymes and her innocent questions used to amuse me.
The pampered little kid inside me started to feel more responsible and matured now. I used to share her stories with my friends and within a few days, they too started bringing gifts like t-shirts, socks, hair clips, and chocolates for her. I used to hand over these to her every weekend only if she would complete her assignments given by me. My weekend mornings in Bangalore became more meaningful and joyful.
One day my friend came up with a kind proposal of sending her to a school. She told me that the CSR department at her organization runs a small primary school for underprivileged kids. We agreed to this as we thought she would learn better and faster in the company of other kids. We talked to her mother and enrolled her in the school. However, we continued to monitor her progress from time to time and she began doing well. She would come back home and teach her mother too.
One day, while I was walking to my office, I suddenly stopped. There were no more tents there and no more colorful pots lined up. I enquired from a nearby shop owner and came to know that they shifted back to Rajasthan. I was shocked at this. Since then, I have not heard about her. However, she has become one of the most beautiful parts of my life. She not only helped me make my Bangalore days more meaningful but also helped me realize that to contribute something to our society, we need not have all the power and riches at our disposal. We can help each other in any capacity just by sharing with others what all we have to offer for a better society. Even today when I think of her, I feel happy and contended somewhere thinking that I helped her to have some beautiful and encouraging days of her childhood and some basic education.
Since then, my life has changed for good. I learnt that you need not be at a ‘position’ to make a positive impact. Every bit counts. Ever since, I have been proactively involved in spending time with the elderly listening to their stories and learning from their life experiences and being with the children mentoring them, teaching them dance and life skills to aim for a better future for themselves and society at large.
I always wish and hope that wherever she is, she would do great and would be striving towards fulfilling all her dreams which were there in her twinkling eyes a few years back. I wish that she remembers me somewhere in the faint memories of her childhood. I just wonder sometimes why not all of us, who are privileged ones to have education, aim to help at least one child or an individual in attaining basic education. We dream of a ‘Great India’. There is no time than now to ‘Make It Happen’. And yes, that beautiful angel has a name, ‘Meena’.
Shishir is a professional with experience across industries like Private Banking, Corporate Banking and Information Technology and currently works for Google. He hold an MBA from the Indian Institute of Management Bangalore and a B.Tech. from the Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur. He appreciates the power of design thinking and enjoy exploring challenging business problems to come up with creative, simple and effective solutions. He believes in ‘leading by example’, love being around people and be a positive influence. Besides his work, he is a dance & dramatics enthusiast with an equal and unbiased love for basketball and cricket. He also loves to engage in philanthropic activities.
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