A misty dawn crept over the sleepy town of Bodinayakanur. Light rose above the hills and the frigid winds were soon replaced by crisp morning air. Thin plumes of white smoke unfurled in the sky as women drew rotational symmetric patterns of Kolam outside their homes with rice flour. Soon, blaring horns broke the serenity of the hills and we made our way to our usual breakfast stall.
After eating our hearts fill, we decided to head towards Khaja’s workshop to get some work done on the jeep. When we reached the garage, we spotted Mari hunched over staring intently at the engine of a car that was brought in yesterday. He scrambled to his feet and stumbled back to a tiny room to pick up some tools. As he walked back to the car, he gingerly picked up a spanner lying on the floor of the garage and placed it aside. Their resident labrador Jackie yelped in excitement, his tail wagging vigorously, as he caught a glimpse of us walking towards him.
Khaja explained to Mari the inner workings of an engine and went into specific details about different suspension parts. Mari’s face lit up as he listened with keen interest and nodded every time Khaja asked him if he had understood what each part was meant for. His curiosity was piqued and he wouldn’t trade this moment for anything else in the world.
According to the general consensus, children who do not go to school remain illiterate and as a result it deters them from making a significant contribution to the community apart from limiting their ability to acquire any knowledge or skills. However, in Mari’s case, not only was he gaining from his experience but his interest to learn further was encouraged by his mentor. Today, Khaja has provided him a means of livelihood apart from subconsciously creating a sustainable education model for a child who genuinely wished to master the art of handling automobiles. And, if this was taken away from Mari, it would crush him and his family. Perhaps, he would lose all desire to strive for a purposeful life. The garage has now become Mari’s playground and school. Deprived of an ordinary childhood, here was a child who nurtured his inner spirit to channel all his energy towards pursuing a craft that appealed to his heart.
“This is all he wants and this is all he wishes to learn,” said Khaja with a smile as he added, “Sometimes, I feel it’s probably the only thing that fuels his desire to live, to accomplish something in his life. May be it gives him hope, after all…”
Project ‘Rest of My family‘ is an attempt to connect back, re-discover our relationship with and understand our responsibility towards the larger family that we are a part of — the rest of our human family. Hence, it is titled Rest Of My Family.
Through #RestofMyFamily, we will focus on highlighting social issues and human interest stories, documenting the triumphs of the ordinary man despite all the hardships they face constantly, and help these stories reach a larger audience and wherever necessary extend support to the individuals and communities that we write about. We hope to make a direct impact to the lives of those people we meet and find suffering due to various social issues; to connect the ones who need help to the ones who can help….
Find more about the campaign here: http://igg.me/at/restofmyfamily/x/539502