Have been thinking for a long time that I'd interview a person and post the results in my blog. Its my first interview , and I know I hardly have two or three readers who read only when they get time. But one day I am sure when the count increases, when people come across this interview, they shall find it interesting. And I hope they get motivated towards the word called Seva.
So I started my search for the most deserving person whom I can ask right set of questions and get answers which are unexpected and they surprise me.
And at last I found the right man. He is Sandeep.
About : Worked as an Information Analyst, Consultant for huge MNC's. A mind blowing guitarist who could play chords which make you go crazy. He tried his hand on journalism too. And currently he is a senior social worker at Spoorthi Charity works.
In an accident which happened recently , he lost his right hand's index finger. The finger which is a key for most of the day to day applications. Like typing on a keyboard, holding a strong thing in hand with proper grip. And some rude ones use it to point out others mistakes. The most unfortunate thing was , the same finger he uses to play guitar. His life time passion. On which he setup many goals on. But he could not do it any more. His dreams were trashed. Most of the opportunities he got were gone now. His new guitar now is in his store room with heaps of dust on it. So?
He did not give up. He figured out a way. Please read on..
Q) Hey Sandeep. Heard a lot about you. How are you?
Response : I am fine Sri. Thanks a lot. Leading a very peaceful life. Its good to be a smile on innocent faces.
Q) Could you kindly brief me a bit about your foundation?
Response : Sure. Sphoorti is our platform to make a difference in the lives of children in need and distress. We also have a website. Its sphoorti.org. We teach them skills necessary to transform them into responsible citizens.
Q) Children in need and distress, could you please elaborate on it?
Response : Sure. Most of the children over here, they are orphans. But at spoorthi we have orphans who are disabled in way that their day to day life becomes miserable. And most unfortunately they lost their vital parts of the body in a very unexpected accidents which happened in their life.
Q) Oh, I am so sorry to hear that. So what did Spoorthi come up with?
Response : That's ok. Usually at rural areas , people who fall into such situations, commit suicides , thinking they cannot lead a disabled life any more. They are usually people with weak mind. At spoorthi we have similar kind of people. Especially they are children. We search and find them out, bring them here, understand their mentality first and then teach them ways to move on with regular life. We teach them alternatives. That's the key. At the same time, we entertain them a lot and comfort them in a way which makes them gain their interest back on life. And once we get confidence that the boy or girl is now confident enough to face the outside world, we let them go win the world.
Q ) Thats fantastic. So where did it all start sandeep? I heard you were a guitarist?
Response : It all started with an accident. But I am still a guitarist. In an accident I lost my index finger. And that was the high time. I was in middle of many film projects, Adds, contracts etc. And I lost all those opportunities. And I had to infact pay them back as a penality for wasting their time. I was very depressed. Doctor confirmed that the finger would't work any more. Its just boneless flesh and its a permanent damage. I felt very depressed and lost hope. It became hard for me to work with rest of my fingers. Even at work, in the software industry, I have had to face depressed situations.
That is when I thought of finding out or figuring out an alternative. Using index finger I used to play some super fast chords and strings, which is almost impossible to play with any other finger. But I practiced harder. I tried and tried. Was not 100% successful. But was 50% successful in using my other fingers to play the guitar in the same pace. Initially when I failed it was hard to digest. But eventually when I started seeing results , I started feeling good and a new ray of hope struck my mind.
And that made me think. For just an issue with finger I was depressed so much. How about people who have lost vital parts of their body? An entire hand or both the hands, both the legs etc. Their life is a punishment.
Me : Indeed it is Sandeep. Hard to even imagine. But they are leading it.
Sandeep : Yes. That is when I visited a few charity offices and hostles. Have seen people living with it. In a hardest way yes. But one thing is for sure. They cant do it alone. They need support. I took time, thought about it. 100's of times. And at last I said a good bye to my personal selfishness and have decided to baise my life for these people. I belong to them now. I joined Spoorthi.
Question : Absolutely. What personal qualities do you think are necessary for this type of work?
Response : Patience is the most vital factor. Results dont come rapid. People dont feel their life is worth it so easily. And above that they are innocent children. So we have to be very very patient.
Nextly, work life balance. Luckily Spoorthi has good amount of funds. Most of them come from NRI's. So we are able to concentrate on children properly and spend the entire time with them. But even though we are in trouble, we try to make sure that we are having good amount of concentration on children and we make sure we are holding our nerve.
The above are the two important factors.
Question : What is a typical day like?
Response : Its when we get a bunch of new kids with fresh wounds. Its hard to manage two to three children at a time. But we have figured out ways to make them feel better the very first day. We teach them alternatives. Like a kid who lost his right hand, we teach him to write with his left hand. And the person who lost both, we teach him to make use of his teeth. We atleast teach them to put their own signature.
Question : Thats a very tough task. You are doing a great job Sandeep. If you could give one piece of advice for beginning social workers, what would it be?
Response : Do it with a clear mind. Not for fame. Not to start your political career. Do it only if it makes you happy. Dont do it , because you have started it.
Question : What do you like about working with this population?
Response : I like when they progress. I like them any ways. The biggest achievement I have had was when a kid who lost his both hands, learnt to write with his right leg. He writes very well. Recently we made him join a school. He does pretty well. We are thinking we will make him learn to play foot ball. Hope it works.
Question : I think he surely will. You thought him skills to figure ways out. He will certainly make you proud. So last question, how old are you?
Response : ( Laughs ) I am 24.
Sandeep recieved many awards for his charity and motivation skills. One of the very decent men I have met recently. He is from a very wealthy family. son of a huge business tycoon. He lost his finger riding a heavy sports bike. He was like a guy next door, with a heap of curly hair whom we see in city rock bands. But he left everything and spends his entire time with children now. And earns 8000 rupees a month through that foundation. And that is what he uses to live. A simple life. Good people still exist.
Lesson learnt : I personally like to relate it with life analogy. We have many problems in life. Like a heart break, pain of love , fight with a friend, money , looks, skin tone , possesions, mind games , selfishness etc. But to be honest, they are all just a tiny line beside huge line. The actual huge line is the above interview. They are people who lead miserable life but still move on. They are orphans. They are uneducated. But they are STRONG. Stronger than us. We feel depressed for tiny things what life tinches us with. But be happy, that life has not yet given us the horrible pains. When it does, we would then understand that we wasted most of the crucial time of ours on useless things and pounding over it. Life is a very valuable thing. We are really lucky to be born normal and living normal. Lets make complete use of it and contribute a bit of it to the ones who are not normal as fate did not favor them with.
**** PEACE ****