The green hay prettily nods her head to get my attention. Like that girl fresh into puberty eager for men to look at her in awe. I am awed, my dear, by your freshness, by how tender you look, how alive and how happy you are by your birth and age. But I cannot help look at the men and women tending to your whims. You are the reason they are going to sleep with partially full stomachs tonight, under the stars , under the trees, close to you. To you they have to return.
The scene shifts from the grass to the people around her. Most were daily wage labourers, Paid paltry sums of money and probably a grain of paddy at the end of the season. Some of the paddy, I am told, they�ll save, the rest they�ll barter. Idyllic? Maybe not.
I enjoyed my trip thoroughly. Then came back and read a study done as part of the project? Not even close to idyllic. Food and health is still their priority. Good health, work, education, water, is still their worry. How will these computers and video-conferencing help them? Can it? In a land where the great godavari flows showering them with nature bountiful best can you imagine that clean drinking water is a matter of great concern.
I am brimming with ideas but I don�t know how applicable most of them will be. But the tints are off from my glasses. I see things plain and clear. The exhilaration about nature continues but for the people my heart aches. Will the project help them?
I can see Rama, the lady who is a panchayat member. She uses the edge of her sari to wipe her face as she walks besides me. Radiant at being by my side, hiding a smile and not succeeding much at it. She is tickled by my attempts to block the sun out by pulling my dupatta over my head. She has two children (but she cant be much older than me!) They go to a convent school (the village school government school is not good enough. I can vouch for the infrastructure part of that after visiting the school). There are toilets in some houses (of course in the homes if the richer guys. The poor I could visibly see live in the fringes of the village and have neither light nor a toilet), but there is no drainage system in the village. Also the school has no playground, she whispers. Can you help fill the swamp in front of the school? That was the allotted land for the school playground she informs. Now only flies, bacteria and hundreds other germs frolic there, I can see.
How on earth is a computer to help them do that? Isn�t the government supposed to do this I cant help but wonder? Maybe the project could also include a grievance redressal system. Help them talk directly would the local government. Would they listen? What on earth is the panchayat doing with the money? Hey lady sarpanch, Are you listening?
The deeper I look the more questions there are. Computers may help them, video-conferencing may help them. To what extent, I�ll have to wait and see. I have to hold onto the faith that some good will come out of it all. I just hope it helps those tiny tots at the government school who fought so viciously to pose in front of the camera…