A few days ago, I met Isha in the morning. While we were taking a walk together she asked me about the topic for my next article. While discussing about the topic she abruptly said, “At times I feel, maybe you could have written about journeys of some well-known personalities rather than about us. We are simple, very ordinary people. Writing about towering personalities would have fetched you better readership.” I said, “Maybe, I could have. But the idea was never to portray the journey of a famous person, but to gather inspiration from the struggles and successes of people around us.” The people whom the world considers ordinary or irrelevant, are the ones who manage to take some time out of their existing commitments to envision and conceptualize that which many of us fail to see. We fail to notice this, not because we don’t have capability to do so, but because our mental space is occupied with a lot of run of the mill things. In the pursuit of desired goal they withstand all odds with conviction, integrity, grit and focus. Even though I admire the famous personalities all over the world, but the people around me inspire me the most. As they are one among us, leading similar lives, it encourages me to think if they can do it why can’t I.
Quite often, during the morning assembly, the principal of my school would tell us, “Children, you are the future of this country.” Back then I couldn’t fully understand what it is to be ‘the future of this country’. I thought one needs to be a force to be reckoned with as per the societal standards to become one. I never really understood the real meaning of the statement until I was bestowed upon with the responsibility of moulding a tiny, delicate and impressionable being. One who has the potential to gradually became an individual, able to find her ground in this world, while holding her beliefs, integrity and self respect closer to her heart. Isha’s green movement provided my daughter with ample exposure. As a result, we are able to witness a streak of sensitivity in her. She now collects seeds from vegetable peels to sow them in a mini kitchen garden that she maintains. She waters her plants and watches them grow. The realisation that even a rejected thing like a seed (whose fate could have taken it to the garbage bin), if provided with favourable conditions could flaunt their real potential and grow into a plant, is unbelievably beautiful. How fascinating are the ways of nature, as anything which has life or can possibly continue the chain of providing life, have been gifted with inherent potential to grow and blossom. All one needs is a suitable environment, rest the nature can manifest itself. This very experience left her delighted and thrilled to watch a seed germinating into a seedling and into a plant thereafter. On the other hand, the way Ratna advocated the need for correct disposal of wastes had led her to bring home her trash to be put into our recyclable bag instead of throwing away the garbage anywhere. Surprisingly, her world is no more confined between toys and play house. Instead she is growing into an opinionated individual, who prefers to decide her own topic for her painting, showcasing the need for tree plantation and waste management. I am immensely thankful to people like Isha, Anant and Ratna and many more unknown faces like them for being instrumental in transforming so many lives. Especially the young individuals who would comprise the future generations of the world. According to the traditional African proverb, “it takes a village to raise a child”. I realized that no matter how much we try as parents, but without these responsible adults around, without these exposures, it would be a bit difficult to give shape to our children’s character.
William Shakespeare famously wrote: “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose, by any name would smell as sweet”. While writing I choose not to use real names of people as I believe a name doesn’t define who we are, but the actions that we take and virtues that we possess does. In fact, even if one remembers the name generations after the event, the name of the person becomes less significant. Instead, the actions that were taken hold greater importance as it is the actions that define our future. Over the years, our genes have got structured in such a way that when our sense of existence is pushed to the brink, our survival instincts compels us to rise to the occasion and challenge the situation with all our might. The idea of survival, the threshold of tolerance, aspirations, purpose in life, sense of contentment varies with different individuals. While Isha, Ratna, Anant and many more like them choose to do something for public welfare, there could be others who feel more accomplished by attaining their personal goals. Our soul shows us the way where it wants to reach, we just need to listen to our inner voice and embark on a journey for self fulfillment. The power to excel is so deep-seated within each one of us that if it is nurtured with sincerity and hard work, it could take us a long way in transforming our lives, societies, nations and the world.
Not only these inspiring personalities, we all have a flame burning within us. We just need to inculcate willingness to walk that extra mile to accomplish what we want to achieve. This willingness act is like a fuel to the burning flame. In a way, we are all like those tiny glow worms having potential to become luminous and spread brightness wherever we go. One glow worm may not be able to lighten-up the whole area, but at least it can show a ray of hope amid despair and gloom. Furthermore, if a few glow worms forms a cluster, together they can definitely illuminate the whole area. When in doubt about the strength within, let’s remind ourselves “Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle”. This is the power of one.
– Aradhana Basu Das