Sr No. 190
The trust factor.
I am away from social media for ten days. So, I decided to leave you lovely peeps with something to ponder on, if it inspires you in any way, for those who care to read my rants and thoughts sometimes 😉 , with a little story about a donation made by my 3 friends last month.
In the process of making an audio book (of my print book Directors’ Diaries) I came across an audio library in Mumbai for the visually impaired – Talking Books Center, Worli, run by the National Association for the Blind. I met some visually impaired teens at a school for the blind who suggested to me that I make my printed book into an audio book for them to hear.
(Because they too were interested in filmmakers and how films are made even though they only hear them. They had asked me ‘… why did you not think of making an audio book for us, or one in Braille, when your book was published in print? I had no answer for them, and immediately began to find out how I can make my book into an audio book for them.)
When I visited the recording studio of Talking Books Centre, to find out the process to convert my printed book into an audio book for them, I happened to randomly came across a lady, Shubhangi Ghag, a voice artist for their audio books since more than a decade. I found out that giving her voice for their audio books is just a fraction of what she does for the visually impaired.
When Shubhangi comes across worthy cases of the visually impaired needing financial assistance, (there are an estimated 1 crore visually impaired in India) she seeks her friends, acquaintances and relatives for monetary assistance to help them. And she is rarely denied assistance.
And unlike me, us, she does not blog about her persistent efforts. So I wanted to assist her in our own tiny way.
I told Shubhangi to call me if and when she comes across a worthy & potential beneficiary. I knew she would, because I found out many visually impaired people face many financial hardships because they have far less opportunities for high income employment.
Suhans was one such person.
Shubhangi introduced me to him. His wife works as a domestic help (I think) and ever since landline phones have become less popular, his income is suffering; because PCO booths have disappeared from our streets. But Suhas has two children who are studying in school, a boy and a girl, and he urgently needed some money to get his son admission in the 5th class.
The amount was not much for us, but a lot for him as he is finding it a challenge to educate both his children. He is very keen to educate them till college. He does not lack food, as his wife earns too, and he has some rental income from a small commercial outlet (earlier his PCO booth, I think) given to him (the visually impaired) by the government.
If you watch this video I have posted, (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dMak8mIUaTQ) you can gain some amount of insight to why we felt we should assist Suhas. However, what is missing in this video is his reaction to our tiny assistance; two things that made an impact on me were:
1) Suhas told me, he does not want our ‘help’, he wants our Assistance. Help made him, I think, feel loss of his dignity. We wanted to maintain his dignity, so I assured him we will assist him in sending his son to class 5.
2) After my three friends has remitted their monetary assistance to him (via bank transfer) Suhas sent me a message.
It read, “…. thank you is not enough to express my feelings/sentiments towards your donors, for the timely assistance they provided me, because of which I could admit my son Akshay in class 5. The really big thing for me is that they trusted me, that they had faith in me, because of which they assisted me monetarily.”
It is for the latter, the ‘trust’ factor, that Suhas feels indebted to our three donors.
His emotions and immense gratitude made me reflect.
I have often experienced this, again and again, thanks to always meeting our few beneficiaries myself, ki ek gareeb inssan ke liye, uss par vishwas karna hi uss ke liye bahot badi baat hoti hai! Bhale woh humare liye badi baat na ho.
A person who perceives himself as poor is always touched when he is trusted with money meant to help him lift himself above his circumstances.
To support my belief, I will quote Noble prize winner Muhammad Yunus (Gramin Bank, Bangladesh) “Even though our bank lends money (micro financing) to the poorest of the poor without asking them for collateral, we rarely have defaulters. Our bank’s loan default rate is far below that of government and private banks.
You know why they usually always pay us back and pay us in time? It’s also because they feel indebted to the bank. Indebted to someone who trusted them with money in a world where banks lend money only to the rich and or poor only against collateral. So our borrowers feel highly responsible to pay us back, and pay us in time.”
I think their gratitude and their dignity, which the bank helps keeps intact, ensures they don’t default on their micro loans. I hope Mr Mallya too reads this.
I have posted screenshots of Suhas’s text message to me below.
Thank you Deb and Beni, Archana Bhatnagar and Parag V Parek for volunteering to assist Suhas’s son Akshay. For trusting him with your assistance.
Bye bye ta-ta for ten days. Will miss you lovely peeps.
#RakeshAnandBakshi 🎶 https://twitter.com/RakBak16
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Beneficiaries of help: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=oa.357090647765413&type=1