|On turning my eyes upwards I saw a pollution-grazed sky and a fierce sun glaring through its netted haze. I was sweating in my T-shirt and jeans although it was winter. Was this the 'beautiful' Tunda in Kutch so avidly endorsed by Amitabh Bachchan on TV promos?
Well, here I was at any rate, undergoing my fieldwork segment – an important component of my PRM curriculum – in a fuming village sandwiched between two high capacity power plants, constructed under the Ultra Mega Power Projects Scheme. Going about gathering material for my theme paper I was opening my eyes to new realities every day. To put it mildly, I was getting a ringside view of things you only read about in papers- caste prejudices, overt sexism, lack of basic civic amenities including those crucial to health and education. Yet all this taught me some great lessons, lessons that I will cherish throughout my life.
I learnt about the joys of survival, finding hope where none seemed to exist. Travelling in a dumper, a six-inch space inside a crammed rickshaw, and even more over-crammed toofan taxi I learnt to make the best of everything. That's when I learnt the greatest lesson of my life: that possibilities do exist no matter how bleak the scenario; you only have to go looking for them. When I understood how this realization could get translated into bigger dreams and projects, well... it simply blew my breath away. I understand the IRMA dictum better now, that furtherance is more important than personal enrichment.