Yestetday I went to the exact place in NOIDA, where around 40-45 shanties of rag pickers turned into black ash by a fire mishap.

Firoze and Nasir, the 10-12 year old boys, who I made friends with, gave me  clues as to how the fire started. They told me, ” aunty 2 lakh of rupees are also burnt, gold got melted, one goat was burnt alive….. “

The other one said, “my nani’s hut is also burnt. See there, she and my mami are collecting the left over from the black ash…..”   Their childish smiles and carefree, light, intractions helped me understand the scenario. I felt relieved to see that they all have a closely knitted circle of their own. Everyone belongs to someone. They are close relatives and their support system is strong. Especially emotionally they are well protected.

Then some talk with Sabina, who was holding her baby in lap.  She introduced herself as the wife of that red shirt man who is the owner of area. Later on they amended their words and said they are the main incharge, or say representative of that particular group who has suffered from fire. The red shirt man had a very vibrant red self esteem (ego) even after having lost all material belongings. 

Who says good materialistic life is at the top of list in kaliyug???   Even a beggar is a king here!!!!, 😀… Just joking.

Just 15-20 minutes were enough to understand their immediate needs. They didn’t want to exert themselves to go to District Magistrate’s office and ask for govt. funds. (Later on I sensed the reason behind this reluctance).

The men are all rag pickers and majority consumes daru, ganja, tobacco on daily basis. None of their kids goes to school and none have any desire even.

I found a way to help the ladies and kids. Just on the other side is a small kiryana shop. I took some of them along and paid for what all their immediate needs were – ranging  from a toothbrush, tooth paste, coconut oil, soap, to milk, biscuit, kurkure……

Two times food is being provided by NGO/ govt.

I spent an hour with Samiksha, who and her husband run the tiny daily needs shop. She has been in direct touch with these people since 2-3 years.  She gave me the true, first hand picture of the situation.  After satisfying myself, I deposited some cash as advance with her for the next day needs of ladies and kids.

Samiksha told me that these are all Bangladeshi muslim migrants. Their women suffer the most. She said that my approach to help them was right. Their men folks even trick this shop for cash need. What they do is to buy wheat flour bag or mustard oil for say 100/-rupees, and get it entered in their credit accout (उधार खाता ) with the shop. Just outside the shop, they find someone to sell it at 90/- rupees cash and their need for NASHA is met with. Next month, the poor ladies have to take care of this उधार खाता.

Samiksha was happy that she is better placed, being a migrant from a village near Mohaba, near Jhansi, U.P. Also her husband takes much pride in being a BUSINESSEMAN than doing a job as a guard . Their monthly earning, in any case, is same – around 15-16,000/- rupees.  I noticed that a sense of pride ( call it ego)  overpowers anybody’s financial weak position. Everyone has something to feel proud of, you know.  

The two hours spent with Sabina, Samiksha, Firoz, Nasir and others helped me understand few things. It helped me prepare myself for future social work.

The most important learning is –  Anu, just play this game of so called ‘social work’ for your sake. More than them, YOU need it more in your self healing process.  Just be God’s agent and in His name contribute whatever you are capable of and leave the rest to HIM.