His View…The Beginning

January 11, 2010

 So I have been instructed to start at the beginning, easy, or so I thought.  I cannot give you a date or even a place I was at when I consciously knew the process of my life changing had begun, but I can tell where I was when I realised I was in the middle of something that was much bigger than myself (this does not happen very often) and that my life had already been changed irreversibly. 

Walking along a muddy track in a remote village in Bandhavgarh India, an infant no more than 3 years old was standing in front of his family’s home.  The home I had pictured although small would have four walls and a ceiling with windows and a cosy little kitchen where mum would be making chapattis.  The reality however, was very different and the child standing out in front of his family’s mud hut which was carpeted in wet dung stared back at me not at all perturbed with the dung oozing between his toes and the flies buzzing in and around his face like rush hour at Piccadilly Circus.

In his hand was a toy made from what the technical term is rubbish.  Questions immediately sprang to mind; is the future for this little man already written in stone? Would he learn to read and write? Would he have medical treatment if he needed it? It wasn’t long before the questions came back to me and orbited my life, what if that was me? Would I be the same person I am now, if I had been given the start in life this child had? Would I even know the world I had come from? Would I even care?  The only certainty in my mind was that if that was me, or my brother, I would want someone to help, to do something, anything to make my life a little easier.

I had been raised on stories of my dad, and his family’s struggles in the slums of Bombay and so I grew up always conscious of how lucky I was to be born and raised in a country with so many privileges, blessings and opportunities.   Looking back now, there has always been a part of me wanted to give back, to use my education and time to do something for those who were not as fortunate as me and my family.

I was given that opportunity when Laura, whom I am forever thankful to, told me of an opportunity to teach at a School in Tala, Bandhavgarh, India. Now, I’d be lying if I said I jumped at the opportunity.  It was more greeted with trepidation and questions most of which revolved around my safety; would the wildlife put my life in danger?  What if I get sick? Hadn’t there been stories of bandits in remote Indian villages? Will there be hot showers?  What factor sunscreen lotion should I pack?  These questions went down the pecking order in my agenda as my agenda became bigger than me.  

Going and doing something in the Summer of 2008, did something to me.

If you are reading this and thinking, everyone says this and the paragraphs are stuffed with clichés, you would be right, but clichés are clichés for a reason.

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