Mum called out this morning and asked if I would like to get up and go for a walk. I was sleepy. I wanted to get up. So I just did.
So we were walking and talking. We made our way to the public toilets that the people we met yesterday were perhaps talking about. It is a decent facility and at 6 am had plenty of users. The guy at the door saw me approaching and asked me if I would like to use the facility. You pay Rs. 5 to use the toilet and Rs10 for a shower. There was one woman amidst all the men. Apparently the guy runs it privately and paid Rs 3 lakhs plus to operate it. This is the annual fee. We reckon people may not feel they can afford to use it everyday. We also walked past a woman on the way, bathing out of a small bowl on the street… washing herself quite nicely with soap. She was wearing a skirt though. So reckon she would welcome the opportunity for a personal shower.
So my mum has offered to speak to her friend who has built a temple nearby to consider building some shower and toilet facilities that the people can use. Perhaps then I can try and secure corporate sponsors who will pay for operating the facility so it is free to the users.
Self regulation … I am so sure this will work.
As we were walking, we drifted into various topics and I started reacquainting myself with the electrician who does odd jobs for Dad. He was crying a few years ago when he was with Dad because he had not been paid his salary for a while. My Dad asked him why he does not start working on his own.
This from my Dad, who has served as a senior police officer in a very corrupt bureaucratic environment and didn’t think he had any choices!
So, long story short, Dad gave some support, encouragement and perhaps some nagging and he started off on his own 🙂
This young man is earning Rs.20,000 a month today. A year or so ago, he wanted to buy a scooter and asked my mum to speak to her friend who may help with a loan etc. Spontaneously mum offered to loan him the Rs.20,000. That too was repaid in a few months saving the man Rs.7000 in interest.
And why am I sharing this? It is because I am constantly wondering and grateful that my parents, who live in Vadodara with both their daughters 14-24 flying hours away seem to be surrounded by people who come and help them and fix their things at the drop of a hat. I am grateful for that.
More than that, I am grateful for having grown up observing and contemplating many such acts over and over again.
To be able to put away what you are doing, what is bothering you or you are absorbed with and connect with another person is a gift. Each one of us is capable of using that gift.
And it starts with me. Especially me. Because I have seen it over and over again in both my parents.