Have you ever wondered what the difference between heaven and hell is?
Well let me tell you a story. Once a human being met God and requested him for a trip to heaven and hell. God agreed and gave him the chance to visit the paradise and the devils residence. When he came back, God asked him about his journey. He said, “God I first went to hell and meet the devils. They were kind and invited me to lunch. I noticed they had a very long table with large bowls, full of the most delicious cuisine I have ever seen. The table was laid with large giant size plates, glasses and spoons; but people just sat there and stared at the food as they could not eat it with those gigantic cutleries. And I traveled hungry to heaven; wondering how could anyone eat with those giant cutleries. Then when I arrived in heaven I was greeted by angels. They insisted that I had lunch with them as well. I was amazed to see the same table with same cuisine and the same giant size cutleries in heaven as well. But people in heaven merrily enjoyed their delicious food; they feed each other with love and care. They shared with each other and cared for others well being. I now truly understand the difference between heaven and hell.”
“Being unwanted, unloved, uncared for, forgotten by everybody, I think that is a much greater hunger, a much greater poverty than the person who has nothing to eat.” said Mother Teresa
The general perception is that, people who can’t fulfill their basic necessities, that is food shelter and clothes are poor and unhappy. But more unfortunate are those who spent there life without being cared for.
Though most people would disagree with me, but in my opinion love and care are basic necessities of life which come before cloth, shelter and food. Ever living creature right from plants to animals to human being need utter most care and unconditional love to survive. Seeds need the ‘unconditional love’ of water and the ‘warmth’ of the sun to grow into a plant. In animal kingdom the female of very species showers unconditional love, care and protection to there young ones; human babies cry when taken away from the warm and caring arms of their mothers. Hence money is not everything in this world. But people belonging to the 21st century feel it otherwise.
Today’s time sing another tune. The materialistic world, the showman world, money enslaving human, Paisa phako or tamasha dekh are the notes of the 21st century musical concert. People are blindfolded with the green notes. They forget that, they have come into this world empty handed and will go empty handed.
If you ask them for whom are they minting money? The reply will be spontaneous ‘loved once’. Ironical the ‘loved once’ need money and not love to feel loved. But as it is said that this is an individualistic world! And everyone is free to there own thinking.
Does this makes human a ruthless, mean, and insensitive money minded devil?
I recall this survey done by Reader Digest, declaring Mumbai as the most heartless city in the country. This article also found its way into Mumbai Mirror. Soon it became a subject of debate among editorial of leading Mumbai paper. But as disasters struck, (flooding in Mumbai and serial train blasts on the central and western railways line) the world was shocked to see the other face of Mumbai, which the survey did not take note of.
Out of my personal experience- I was traveling in the bus from Peddar Road to Colaba; an old man in front of me collapsed and started having fits. Everyone was stoned at there places as they didn’t know what to do. Suddenly this young girl took control of the situation. Everyone assumed her to be a doctor but she was a student and was completing her second year in college.
Soon the man felt better and narrated his tragic story.
He had come to Mumbai in search of job along with his partner. His partner being a crook stolen his money, leaving him at mercy of dark alley of Mumbai. The man hadn’t eaten anything for three days and had fainted due to weakness. The generous bus passengers collected Rs. 550 to help this unknown man get back home. Two girls volunteered to drop him at VT station, from where he had to catch the train to his home-town.
These people weren’t business men or jewellery shop owner and neither were they wealthy builders of the town, they were indeed clerks, secretaries, corer man, security guards and college students with limited pocket money; yet they did not hesitate before contributing money for this man. Everyone contributed as much as they could and at that time ever Rs 5 made the difference.
This made me realize two things. Firstly one doesn’t need to be rich and shell out six digit number to a charitable trust in the name of social work. People needs to be sensitive to life, as sometimes the smallest of things are more important that most of the biggest things in life. And secondly that humanity still existed within the ‘heartless’ Mumbai.
Nelam Nayan Jhajveri further strengthens this believe. Nelam is a house wife and has been doing voluntary social service for 20 years now. She turned 51 this year. She has two children, a son, who is handling the family business and a daughter, who is a doctor. When I asked her what prompted her to shower her love and care for the poor and deprived slum children, she honestly replied that, she has no idea why she volunteered for social service.
She confessed to her bias. She was under the believe that there was no illiterate (people who can’t read and write in there native language) Gujarati family in Mumbai. But the mirror shattered when her friend forced her to go and look at the condition of the BMC School. She found that there were quite a few Gujarati families living in slums who did not have enough money to support there child’s education. She then decided to work with BMC as a partime tuition teacher. Besides teaching she also gave home made lunch, books, clothes and traveling allowance to the students. Nelam soon discovered the loophole in the public sector. She discovered that the teachers were not teaching the student. They took attendance and sent the children back home. “They did nothing except stretching their leg on the government table” she said in anger. Therefore she decided to expose the system and knocked at court’s door. Eventually she won the case and the BMC School was shut down.
With closing down of the government school, the children’s hope for pursuing studies also became extinct. Hence she began to teach them at home for the time being. But this couldn’t continue for long and as reality stuck upon her, she realized the need to find a permanent solution to it. She then decided to shift the whole lot of nearly 100 Gujarati students to private schools like Ashoka School, Grant Road School, KDO, and Gujarati School etc.
According to Nelam her work doesn’t end there. She not only provides them with opportunity of growth, but she gets involved with them. She is aware of the fact that their parents aren’t qualified enough to guide them hence she acts as there guiding angle. She cares for them and personally looks into there studies, thus guiding them to the right path.
Social work is not about doing big things for society but it starts with a small issue ignored by the society. You don’t have to be associated with an NGO to help the world become a better place to live in. “Do not wait for leaders; do it alone, person to person” as Mother Teresa said.