REVATHI BHASKER

Fantasy Inspirational Others

4  

REVATHI BHASKER

Fantasy Inspirational Others

Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam - The World Is One Family

Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam - The World Is One Family

9 mins
41


Sumitra was leaving for office when her phone rang. She glanced at the screen and saw that it was from the Old Age Home where they had recently left her mother-in-law. It was with great deal of difficulty that she had convinced Sujit to shift his mother to the Home where she argued that she would be looked after well and will have company of seniors like herself. Sujit gave in as he also wished to dispose of the ancestral property and buy himself a new home.


Sujit and Sumitra had recently visited Vimmi when she had fallen ill. Vimmi had not been keeping good health and needed hospitalisation off and on. Sujit had arranged for a caregiver to look after her, but no caregiver would stay for more than a month as he would not pay them their dues regularly. It was Vimmi who had to suffer as a consequence. Before his visit, both Sujit and Sumitra had made enquiries and decided on the cheapest Old Age Home where they shifted Vimmi. The couple ensured that they got all documents relating to the house and other assets transferred in their name before Vimmi was packed off. They made a lumpsum payment to the Management of the Home with strict instructions that they should not be disturbed, even if her end would come.


Sumitra was in two minds, whether to answer the phone or not. Ultimately, she did pick it up and the voice at the other end said that Vimmi was very sick and was not likely to survive. Sumitra merely told them to handle the situation and disconnected the phone. Sujit, on his part, sold the ancestral property, car and jewellery and came into a lot of money. He purchased a huge bungalow and both of them started to lead a very lavish life. They had totally forgotten the existence of Vimmi.


Years rolled by and one morning as Sujit was reading the newspaper, he was excited to see that a certain Mayi from his village, Maroshi was named as the recipient of the President’s Gold Medal for Social Service. He read out the news item proudly to Sumitra and both of them decided to spend a weekend there. Their only son was in a boarding school and they had no problems planning their holiday. They had packed a tent and other materials in the car and drove off. Sujit faintly recollected the tall palms on the edge of a lake and small dwellings in the village. He was confident that he could establish some bond with the locals there and arrange for their stay. As a back-up plan, he had the tent with him, and they could experience spending the starlit night in their tent.


It took them a good two hours for them to reach the village. All along the way, there were huge arches and posters congratulating Mayi. A few minutes into the town, they passed by a large mansion where several cars were lined up. They were told that it was Mayi’s house. Curiosity got the better of Sujit and he went up to the security guard wishing to know if they could meet Mayi, the celebrity. They were disappointed to know that Mayi hardly stayed in this house as she was busy with the arrangements preceding the inauguration of Mayigram which was scheduled for the next day. It was rumoured that the President may also pay a visit to felicitate Mayi, while the official confirmed news was that the Governor and Chief Minister would surely grace the occasion. Sujit then asked for directions to reach Mayigram, which was just a few minutes away. He later realised that he need not have stopped to ask for directions as the roads were lined with welcome messages!


Here too, they were disappointed as they could not catch a glimpse of Mayi. She was busy in a meeting with the Chief Secretary, finalising the arrangements for the next day’s programme. However, they were met at the gate by a couple of volunteers who gladly welcomed them and offered the accommodation in their Guest House when they came to know that Sujit belonged to Maroshi village. Sumitra too was impressed and both of them were only too happy to accept their kind offer. Soon they were shown their place of stay which was very comfortable and had all the comforts one could find in a city. They were also treated to a sumptuous lunch which was served by the volunteers under the supervision of one of the members of Mayigram’s governing body.


After their long drive and a heavy lunch, both of them decided to rest and then go about the place. The gardens were very attractive with a variety of flowers. There were many fruit-growing trees which housed birds such as parrots and mynahs, with squirrels running around and an occasional peacock strutting about. Further down, they could see the paddy fields with corn lining their borders. A huge tank was getting filled with cool water being pumped from the nearby bore well. They also came across a shed which housed several machines which they were not familiar with. The lush green fields and the fresh air were breathtakingly lovely and Sujit and Sumitra were happy that they chose to spend a few days here. There was a small creche cum primary school and adjacent to it was a tailoring centre for women.


They came across one of the volunteers who took them around Mayigram in a battery-operated car. They were astonished to see a physically challenged person driving them around. They also met Nikhil, a transgender who was conducting training in mechanical engineering for a group of young boys. In one of the rooms of the building, a group of trainers were training a new batch of trainers to impart computer education. Most of the electrical fittings were powered by solar energy, which was amazing. 


There was a pottery section where a number of children were learning to make small cups and vases, while another group was engaged in making footwear. The couple could not believe their eyes – the place was buzzing with activity and what was striking was that the Gram was well laid out and planned to ensure self-sufficiency by the revenue yielded within the gram to sustain it. There was a Worship Corner, where in a single large hall, people from all religions could get together for worship. All of them mingled with each other and learnt the Gita, Bible and Quran irrespective of the faith they followed.


Sujit was beside himself with joy and praised his parent village to Sumitra, who also appreciated the smooth functioning of Mayigram. Tractors made several trips to the warehouse and the nearby markets, and they also hiked a ride in one of them breathing in the cool rustic smell in the air. 


When they returned, a flask of hot coffee was waiting for them in their room. A girl came out of the guest house, having cleaned the toilets and bathrooms. Sujit remembered having seen her in the kitchen in the forenoon making chapatis. Seeing the quizzical look on his face, the girl smiled and said that all work in Mayigram had to be performed by everyone irrespective of caste or creed and they gladly took their turns to discharge the duties allotted to them. Sujit and Sumitra were spell bound and were more keen now than before to know about Mayi, who had brought about all this change in a small village of Maroshi. Their dinner again was simple but wholesome and included the freshest vegetables grown in the kitchen garden without any chemical fertilisers. They waited excitedly to attend the Inauguration Ceremony the next morning, to meet Mayi and congratulate her. 


The programme was to start immediately after breakfast and Sujit and Sumitra were among the first to occupy the chairs in the second row, the first being reserved for the visiting dignitaries. They had come well in advance and were eagerly looking at all the decorations so aesthetically made with mango and palm leaves interspersed with marigolds and roses. Soon there was a flutter and all eyes turned around to see a man limping to the podium, carrying a bunch of shawls. These too, they learnt were made by the traditional weavers of Maroshi.


At the dot of 8, the Guests of Honour and the Chief Guests arrived, escorted by none other than Mayi. They were all pleasantly surprised that the President too had made it possible to attend the function. Without much ado, after the customary prayer song and lighting of the lamp, the ceremony began.


The man with the limp introduced himself as Parthiv, more popularly known as Langda Babu. He briefly narrated the evolution of Mayigram. It was on a rainy day that Langda Babu was trudging through the slush towards his home in Maroshi, that he came across an old lady sitting in a car. He could make out that the car had stalled and she was in a fix as she was alone and it was growing dark. He tapped at the window offering help, which was gladly accepted and soon the car was set right and Langda Babu took over from the frail lady and steered the car to a dilapidated old house. Seeing that the lady would not be able to manage on her own in a house which had not been inhabited for quite a while, he stayed on to help her and since then a bond developed between both of them. Langda Babu was a master of all trades and with the lady drawing the plans, he executed each and every design perfectly. It was ten years to the day that the foundation of Mayigram was laid and he was proud to felicitate the dignitaries who had come a long way to honour his mentor.


The Guests spoke at length about the accomplishments of Mayi, who pooled all her resources to make her dream come true. The team supporting her in this humongous staff were also individually recognised. A short film on the various facets of Mayigram was filmed and it was nothing short of a miraculous transformation of a deserted place into a dream village.


Finally, Mayi rose to speak. She looked angelic in her silvery hair and a pink sari and her smile radiated cheer all around. She looked around and then said that she had only one person to thank for, in creating Mayigram. She had not wished that the Gram should be named Mayigram, as she was known as Mayi to the residents, but she had to gracefully yield to their wish. She then pointed out to Sujit from the dais and called him. Sujit could not understand what was happening, but eagerly sprang up and rushed to meet her. His face fell, when Mayi said, “All credit goes to Sujit, my son who abandoned me in an Old Age Home some years back. Fortunately, I recovered from my illness and shifted to this village, where my grandfather had left his home and several acres of land in my name. This is Mayigram for you and I am Vimmi, Sujit’s mother”. 

Sujit lowered his head in shame.  The frail old lady he had left behind in the Old Age Home was very much different from the Mayi he met today.  The anxiety filled face was now replaced with elegance and grace, stemming out of self-confidence.  It was truly a blessing that Sujit did not recollect that Vimmi was the sole surviving heir to her grandfather’s property.  Had he remembered it earlier, this would also have been taken away from Vimmi.  It was a sheer stroke of luck that Parthiv had met her when she was on her way to the ancestral home and this was the turning point in her life.  Parthiv reconnected her to her contacts the world over through social media and it was not long before she had visitors from all over the globe getting in touch with her to realise her dream and take care of automation and innovations.  At first, Vimmi had planned only to provide for a Retirement Community to house people like herself who had been left high and dry by their children, but soon, she broadened her vision and mission, which took shape in the form of Mayigram.  At the end of the day, it was a very satisfied Vimmi, who had succeeded in overcoming barriers of caste, creed, haves, have-nots, creating a borderless society.  Sumitra and Sujit felt ashamed of themselves and sought Vimmi’s pardon, and Vimmi, being a mother at heart, wished them well, but told them in no uncertain terms that Mayigram was out of bounds for them, though it would otherwise be a “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam”.


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