I am blessed with a couple of friends who are doing something meaningful and very satisfying with their lives. I wish to share my association with my friends as a tribute to them. My friend let us call him BN, and I were colleagues for many years in corporate life. He is a bit older than I am but that never stopped us from becoming very good friends.
His wife, sons and daughters in law and a few friends and other members of his family, support my friend in this activity. Everyone who knows what they do are full of admiration and awe for their commitment.
Once his two sons were old enough and financially somewhat stable, he decided to quit the rat race to do something more meaningful with his life. This was after he had come in contact with some social workers deeply involved with rural education in one of India’s most backward regions, back in the 1980s. He visited their site and was highly inspired by what they were doing.
Before anyone could dissuade him, he opted for an early voluntary retirement from service and took off to his native state Rajasthan, to explore what he can do. For the past two decades and more, he has been involved in a rural upliftment initiative among one of India’s most deprived tribes in a remote part of Rajasthan.
In that time, living amongst these simple people, in simple accommodation and eating what is locally available, he and his lovely wife have brought about some remarkable changes in that village. They have brought about some semblance of education, basic health care, sanitation, local cottage industry, emancipation of women, improved agricultural practices, and the list is endless.
They reside for long stretches of time in that village. With just motivating the tribals to contribute in labor and kind, a transformation in the standard of living has been possible and both BN and his wife claim that what they have accomplished there has been far more satisfying than anything else that they have ever done before they decided to get involved in this endeavor.
They have used their own funds and contributions from their family and friends to finance their activities. They claim that, if they were to accept funding from any charities or government agencies, they get mired down in paper work and bureaucracy, which stymies their work.
This post has been inspired by the annual report that BN sends to his friends. I am truly amazed at how much has been achieved by one couple, in a remote part of the world with nothing else to back them but grit and determination.
It would be a crime not to mention something else about Mrs.BN. She has been a great hostess and caring friend to many people. She was a regular volunteer worker at the well-known institution providing the famous Jaipur Foot, in Jaipur, India.
I salute these two indomitable spirits. I wish that I could emulate them.