“… Amidst your numberless stars let me place my own little lamp.”
I believe “Life is beautiful…!” and each moment is so full of variety and wonders. Years pass with so many twists and turns which when one looks back upon over the time horizon seem somehow fit into a huge but perfect puzzle of life!
It was in one such twist that I ended up attending undergraduate and graduate college studies in Pune, India and came to read Kusum Nair’s book “Blossoms in the Dust”. It made a deep impression upon me. It also reinforced my own experiences of living and meeting with the village folks in India. Undoubtedly, one meets real India in the villages!
In recent years, “Imagining India – The Idea of a Renewed Nation” by Nandan Nelekani (who was formerly the CEO of Infosys from March 2002 to April 2007 and until recently served as the Chairman of the Unique Identification Authority of India – UAIDAI and head of the Technology Committee – TAGUP, Government of India) has only revived my dream of traveling within India and spending some quality time in villages and thus once again relive the experiences of warmth, simplicity and hospitality of the Indian village folks.
India is an incredible country! It also has almost insurmountable development challenges.
Looking back, it was during one of my college summer holidays in early 70’s that I had the opportunity of meeting Dr. Baba Amte, a Gandhian and a social worker, at his home for lepers in the deep forests of Gadchiroli District of the State of Maharashtra.
He posed to us, a group of students attending a summer holidays national social service (NSS) camp to help the leprosy colony, a crucial question at one of our pre-dinner conversations on India and its myriad and overwhelming socio-economic development issues: “If you cannot be nailed on the cross, why not at least walk in the shadow of the cross?”
There are various reasons for India’s developmental problems. Without going into much of historical analysis or subscribing to the views of any group of economists, sociologists, planners and politicians, I tend to focus on and try to see what I can do by devoting some of my otherwise non-working hours to two areas of India’s economy in the coming years:
I believe, “Life happens while one is busy making plans!” This is of course the story of my own life! It was in one such twists of life, which itself was a result of a series of many prior twists of life that I landed in America in early 80’s. Today, America is my adopted country while India continues to be my Motherland! Some relationships cannot be changed!
Best of my youth was spent in India. It is to the Indian culture, upbringing and formative education in India that I owe my core values and philosophy of life! Now it seems like the time to pay back!