Evening at Zambezi River, Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, May 2015
and so does everything around... the situation, the people, the perspective, the needs.... and we too change.... the wise and courageous seek change.. because only change is constant!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

65. Re-Charging

Sometimes I feel very tired. I am aware that it is more mental than physical state.

I have just returned after a week long travel to Indore, Bairasiya and Bhopal. I was there to facilitate two workshops on ‘Women Development’ which included Gender sensitization. For last many years I am conducting these workshops, in different states, at different locations, for different persons. When I look back at it, it seems that neither I am growing nor others are learning. It is like ‘teaching’ ‘a, b, c, d….’ to different groups. It is a mechanical, repetitive work without much scope for innovation and creativity. It is not only physically draining but psychologically frustrating because nothing seems to be happening. It does not seem to make any difference to anyone except me.

Whatever I do out of compulsion is mostly boring and lacks vitality. If I stick to an idea without introspection, without adding value to it, it becomes frustrating. This type of workshop is clearly becoming one such situation.

After the first workshop I was completely drained and decided to give up the theme for few months. Sometimes there is more wisdom in giving up ideas, than sticking to it.

Next day, I visit a field area. The field office is very well kept – lot of useful display and demonstration material. The team enthusiastically shows me those and shares lot of experiences of how it is used. It is beautiful. Then we travel 20 kilometers to reach a village, where a meeting is organized. On the way, the vehicle stops at the roadside because a group of 20 people wants to meet us. So, like a political leader I get down. They welcome us – brief us about the work of the village committee. They are enthusiastic, want to work together. They invite us for next visit. I appreciate their work; wish them well for the future work.

We reach village Kala Pipala. The crowd of hundred women and men is eagerly waiting for us. They have arranged for a loudspeaker so that the meeting proceeding should reach to those who are not present in the meeting. The Bhajani Mandali is singing. They invite me to light the lamp and worship the image of Goddess Saraswati. I follow the instructions of a local lady.

Then the women come forward – with their purdah and sing a song. Bhajani Mandal youths sing with the harmonium and dholak. After one song, the chief singer asks me whether I would like to listen to another song. Their first song is so energetic that I say ‘Yes’ without thinking much about the time. Just as they are starting, I ask them to include women in their songs. I mean - the song invites ‘brothers of village to join development work’ – I ask them to also invite ‘sisters of village to join development work’. To my surprise the group understands my feelings. They immediately modify their next song. I am delighted. Ah! Everything is not wasted after all!

Then I am asked to address the meeting. I do not really know what to say. I congratulate the villagers for the good work they are doing. I congratulate women and men for working together for village development. It is a new work – just nine months old. Their enthusiasm may wane when the benefit sharing starts. The conflict generally starts when the initial enthusiasm does not bring in equitable results. I do not want to discourage them, but I do want to share my concern. I tell them the old story of a king and his subjects. The story has many ‘values’ which I do not approve of, but people like stories, they are generally effective.

The kingdom is facing famine. Someone asks the king to bath the village God with milk. This will please the God and rain will arrive. The king asks his subjects to bring a small pot of milk. Everybody brings water instead of milk thinking that others will anyway bring milk. Ultimately there is not a drop of milk, just water.

The villagers all are smiling. Their eyes are shining. Many are nodding. Some are mischievously looking at some other person in the group. They can relate to the story, which means I have hit the right cord. They get the moral of the story right. Everybody should contribute to good work. It takes a lot to create good work, and just a moment of laziness, jealousy, inactiveness can destroy the good work. After the formal function is over, an old lady approaches me. She pats me for telling a good story. She is very happy with me. Her smile is a reward, which I value. An appreciation from someone who is wise is indeed valuable. I know there is no artificiality in that response. It is spontaneous. For a moment, I am happy with myself.

This series of incidences kindles life in my tired mind. I realize that what I am telling to people applies to me too. People here have tougher life; their battle is lot more fierce than mine. They hardly get rewards, theirs is a thankless job. Still they work. A moment of laziness, a wave of inactivity, momentary loss of interest on my part would destroy what I have created. I cannot afford to take a break now. For that matter I can never take a break. I cannot have the luxury of leaving the things unfinished. I have to complete what I have begun. By leaving in between, I won’t betray only myself, but would betray all those who supported me directly or indirectly. I am aware that whatever would be the result, I have to continue working.

I get a new perspective regarding what work is all about. I am re-charged. Thanks to Kala Pipla women and men.


  1. are you at both spots ? I meant wordpress and blogspot ??

  2. Nu, no, I am just at blogspot. Why?

  3. Well articulated the basic issue in development. The initial enthuse and then....... number of things.

    Do we have a solution for such kind on monotonous trainings?

  4. good article. a good blend between development and psychology.

  5. By changing oneself and therefore inspiring the family, one can also inspire friends and then inspire the world.
    One's good work is never in vain. If one can make a difference for at least one life, you have gained your rewards.

  6. Going to field is always energising (for people like us)- it is a kind of "reality check"- Always useful.

  7. Kiran, the problem is we have to keep on modifying the solutions, but unfortunately we stick to age-old solutions.

    Puja, thanks.

    Gina, I guess the concept of 'reward' keeps on changing as we grow. That is the beauty of it.

    Sachin, yes 'reality check' as well as opportunity for learning.


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