NOTE : I’m completing this post, a long time after I’d initially begun. So yeah, references to the date(direct or indirect) may not be accurate.
Today(Sometime in Dec 2014, IIRC) was unique, in many ways. I can tell you clearly, It’s not the kind I like to see often. However, it did open my eyes to a few harsh realities. Since, I’m short in time I’ll try to wrap it up ASAP, and ignore any grammatical mistakes.
Much to my surprise, today was declared a holiday and we, a group of six, set off for our SSR(Student Social Responsibility) project. It’s an initiative by the college where the students are encouraged to undertake projects that have a social benefit. The overall development is what we’re chasing, after all.
We made our way to Oachira Parabrahma Kshetra Temple, which as you would’ve guessed is in Oachira, in southern Kerala. This temple despite being so famous(it’s also known as the “Dakshina Kashi” – The Southern Kashi when translated) was – and I’m gonna be brutally honest over here – shambolic in the way it was being maintained. In fact, using shambolic is rather flattering. I lack photos of the place at the moment, but I can show you, and you’ll understand just why I say so. This place is unfortunately home to a scores of homeless people. Most of them are elderly citizens, who were deserted by their own off-springs. The story of many more remains untold. Indeed, only a stone hearted man would have the strength to hear every one of their stories. I don’t fall into that category.
We proceeded to interact with a some of them, to know the troubles they faced and if we could, in anyway, help them in finding a solution to their troubles. We began going around the place looking for a place and a person to start interviewing. We were intially a bit hesitant, but once we started, it all fell into place. We had the opportunity to interview a a good number of homeless people. They were very open and willing to share their troubles with us, whom they were meeting for the first time in their life. It’s probably an indication of just how desperate they might have been.
Some of the stories we heard were quite bizarre. We even had a few people saying that they were happy with their lives, even if the witnesses felt the other way. You can’t really help in such a case. You wonder if they are being influenced by a mafia or something worse. Whatever, it was, there wasn’t much that we could do in this regard. We carried on with our work, interacting with more people. In some instances, a few people didn’t like our presence too much. We even had to hear some unkind words, if you will.
Regardless, we did what many thought was impossible. The Student Social Responsibility project, that we took up was very unique, in itself. There were many teams from our college, who completed this project. Most of the topics were your usual stuff like, Road Safety, Organic farming, Cyber Security etc. I don’t intend to undermine the importance of these, but I was quite shocked to see that no one else, at least to my knowledge, considered taking up this issue. In a country like India, I think homelessness and illiteracy are something that can be found in just about every place, there have been numerous plans put up by the government agencies, and despite some improvements, they still strive in our country. I think people’s negligence also has to play a part in the same.
P.S: I shall upload the pictures(probably a gallery) soon !