I met Babita at Government school of a village called Vasdev. We usually go to government school to do career counselling and identifying good talent. We interact with the students to know their interests and hobbies. It was such a meeting with students of 12th standard in Vasdev.
Babita was sitting in the front row and I casually asked he along with some other students “What sports do you play”. I focused on Babita to ask and I was literally shocked to see that she started crying.
I was puzzled that what I have asked ? The teacher standing next tome whispered in my ears “ सर यह लड़की दिव्यांग है. इसे पोलियो है “ Sir she is differently able, she has polio” .
I immediately understood the situation and asked her not to cry and meet me after the session.
She told me about her family situation and with a very firm head told me “ I want to become something and help my family”. In the very next moment she was also doubtful that how will it happen. As the nearest place where she can get higher education is far off and she cannot travel.
I assured her that we will help with transportation and education If you will work hard and will try to achieve something in life. She got admission in BA in our college.
She started coming to college on a regular basis and 3 years passed by and she successfully completed her graduation with first division. She really worked hard and was sincere.
I somehow was not able to meet her at the farewell of BA. Few days later I heard that she got a Job as a teacher in a local school and was also doing tailoring job from home. Meanwhile her sister also joined our college as a student. I was getting generic updates about Babita.
I was content but not happy. About a year passed.
We were busy in preparation of documentary of SSISM. As we made it about 2.5 years back. Now was the time to revisit and cover many success stories we had.
Babita was covered in the first documentary so idea came that since she is working now we should cover her story to encourage others as well.
Unfortunately I was not able to go during the shoot to her house. The shoot was done. After about a month final edited documentary was delivered and when I saw it I got a feeling that we could have and should have done more for Babita as she has more potential than what she was doing.
A Bangalore Trip was being organised for students who are in need for a job. I along with Siddharth started working on people we should take along with us for Unnati Skill Training (http://unnatiblr.org/).
This was kind of an experiment as we had taken many students to Bangalore usually for IT training and trips, But never BA students for a skill based training and job that too for students from very humble background.
I called Babita to come to college and meet me. I asked her that “Are you happy ?” initially she said yes but after persuasion she opened up a little and started sharing her problems both personal and financial. I told If you want to prove it to the world and to yourself that you can also support your family and work in a Metro you have pack your bags and come with me to Bangalore.
Going to Bangalore or any other city for a girl in rural India is not at all encouraged from society and parents, on top of it if she is differently abled it is a strict no. Her parents and so called big brothers were completely against it. She called me and told me about the situation and also a affirmation that “सर यह लोग चाहे कुछ भी बोले मुझे तो आपके साथ चलना ही है चाहे कुछ भी हो “(Whatever these people say I will come with you to Bangalore whatever happens).
Next week we were ready for a Bangalore trip along with 7 students 4 girls and 3 boys. She joined us early morning at 5.30 on the Highway to Itarsi. She was ready with a small backpack with no sweater(It was November end). I asked her no sweater ? she said she will manage.
I was sure that time that this girl is going with a mission and will go far.
We boarded the train. Babita was the eldest amongst the students. I told her that “You are the eldest so you need to take care of other girls as well”. She played the part during the complete stay of 50 days. I was becoming more and more confident of my decision that she will for sure achieve success. It becomes difficult for a person to come out good where he/she is reminded of her disabilities on a regular basis. Somehow that’s how our society is built that it becomes very difficult to forget about your disabilities be it physical or social taboos.
Only your firm belief and grit can overcome this unnecessary fear.