Search This Blog

Saturday, January 18, 2014

A little anxiety, loads of excitement and unlimited fun!

With my routine work in progress, it was like a pleasant surprise. I was asked if I would be willing to accompany a group of ASHAs to Delhi to be on TV! And I blurted out, “I am more than willing to do so!” I sure got excited! The initiative was an idea to project the work done by ASHAs in general and share the innovations ongoing in Bihar at frontline health workers level. We were going to the program “Swastha Bharat” (Healthy India) hosted by our very own staff from CARE India, Amit Arora which comes on air on DD National, every Monday, Thursday and Saturday at 7:30 pm. It turned out to be a crazy time! Getting the profiles of the ASHAs from each district, coordinating with my colleagues for ID proofs of ASHAs and finally assuring they reach Patna on time! And then something even crazier happened; I logged on to find train status and find out that our train to Delhi was running 9 hours late! We would not be able to reach Delhi in time for the recording. And bingo! We got our flight tickets done! I had never felt happier traveling in flight; ASHAs were going to travel in flight for the first time! I remembered how exciting it was for me as a child to travel by air for the first time and couldn’t get over the butterflies in my stomach for them. From security check-in to tying their seat belts, was an experience in itself! One out of seven could tie her seat belt herself- ‘I know how to do this; I have done this before’ saying this she beamed at me! Traveling with them, I suddenly realized that the things we take for granted- picking luggage from the belt, opening a can of juice, making tea from an electric kettle, using a lift; were all experiences in themselves! It was a huge step in their lives and this they took on their own, without their husbands directing them or keeping their families in mind.
With a packed schedule, shooting for Aakashvani and then Doordarshan, the trip was a whirlwind of excitement! Going to the recording studios, watching news lady live on TV with huge camera sets was something which overwhelmed me; I thanked the ASHAs for giving me this opportunity too!  Taking them around Delhi was like being a guide to a group of excited kids- they wanted to see everything, know everything! Lotus temple, Qutub Minar and finally India gate, our tour around Delhi was much more than just showing historical places to ASHAs; it was a chance for them to explore a new world! They looked at the shops, houses and especially the women around them! One of them exclaimed, “They seem to have come out directly from movies”. With most of the excitement fizzed out the next day, craziest moments were yet to come for us. With 4 seats out of 9 in wait list, it was a big relief as we got them confirmed when the charts got prepared! We started for the railway station from the hotel in the morning to catch 8:30 am train. As we reached the station, I could not see our train number flashing. One of the onlookers informed me that our train started from Old Delhi and at 8:10 am we were standing on New Delhi Railway station due to confusion about the boarding station! The distance between the two stations were at least 20 minutes! Jumping into the taxis we dashed for Old Delhi! Continuous check on the phone showed the train departure at 8:30 am. I was hysteric, if we missed the train after so much difficulty in confirming the tickets, we would surely be doomed! I was wishing and praying that the train gets late by only 10 minutes! It was perhaps the first time I was wishing my train to get late! Skirting the traffic, we ran towards the platform. The security at the entry stopped us. I said to him, “Bhaiya abhi agar ruk gye to train chut jayegi humari, 9 log hai hum sab!” (Brother, If we stop now, we would miss our train!) I do not know what struck him, my aggressiveness or the desperation in my voice; he let us go! With no display about the train here too, I dashed into the enquiry room. A pleasant old lady sitting inside told me, “ Tu saans le le pehle, train abhi 30 minute late hai! Chehra to dekh apna pehle, hawaiyaan udi hui hain!” (Take a breath, the train is 30 minutes late. Look at your face, you look pretty blown off) A bewildered group of ASHAs along with us laughed hysterically as we reached the station bang on time, the watch on the station showed  8:30 am. With excitement filling us in, we had a long session of songs in the train travelling back. During goodbyes one of the ASHAs had wet eyes and said, “While getting ready for Delhi, we thought we would miss our families on this trip. But now we are sure we would miss you more than what we missed our families!” And the memories of the unlimited fun lived on……           

1 comment:

  1. Jaspreet - never knew that you blog too! Great piece of work. Enjoyed reading.