19. Blessing in Disguise

In the story of Mahabharat, when the Pandavas got exile after the game of dice, they were convinced that war was inevitable in the future. Therefore, during exile, Arjuna was making frantic efforts to acquire different types of divine weapons. In this connection, he also went to Indra. But there, something ominous happened. An Apsara named Urvashi cursed him to become impotent. This was a great blow to Arjuna. He became very sad. On this, Indra consoled him and said that he should not worry about this curse as it will prove to be a boon for him. Indra was right. This curse of Arjun became effective when the Panadavas were to live in hiding for one year. Arjuna was able to hide himself only because of this curse. For this reason, he became the guru of the princess Uttara, who later married Abhimanyu and helped Pandavas to continue their lineage. 

Sometimes the course of destiny is beyond our comprehension.  There are moments in life when a curse becomes a blessing and a blessing suddenly takes the shape of a curse. We were confident that after the Panchayat election, the works of Mission Tirhutipur will become much faster. But this could not happen. By 22nd April, the second wave of Corona struck so hard that everything came to a standstill in our village. We could not even go to the nearby houses, let alone going to Tirhutipur. While many friends and relatives died due to Corona, one such heartbreaking incident took place in our own family. There was an atmosphere of gloom and mourning all around.

It was clear that the future is cursed. I felt depressed for a few days. But soon I realized that the only way to deal with this depression was to stay busy. Since going out was not possible, I started thinking about what could be done indoors. I remembered that a similar situation had arisen during the first wave of Corona as well. Then I had worked on the roadmap of Mission Tirhutipur while staying in my Delhi flat for five months. I decided to repeat those moments of the past year in a different way.

I realized that Mission Tirhutipur had no proper literature to convey its vision, goals, and activities. We were continuously working for the past 6 months, but our communication system was almost non-existent. We had made a documentary film on the work of the mission in January, which was very popular. But that was not enough. Our well-wishers had no idea about the progress of the mission. We were working in complete isolation.

Preparing a fully operational communication system of the Mission Tirhutipur was necessary but that was not possible in absence of an office. We had no proper place to sit and work in solitude. I noticed this problem in February itself and therefore, in the same month, took the initiative for the construction of an office near our ancestral house. The pace of work in the village is very slow. Yet, by the month of April, the work of the office had reached an advanced stage. Along with the office, the work for the accommodation of the guests was also approaching its completion but nothing was in a finished stage.

On April 24, when everything was closed due to the Corona lockdown, I decided to complete the remaining works of the office in an emergency mode. Without caring about Corona and lockdown, we collected all the necessary men and material and worked hard to make the office ready for use. Within 3 weeks we completed our job and on 14th May, the office was duly opened after a small ceremony on Akshay Tritiya. It was a joy to sit and work in the office as it has all the facilities including appropriate furniture, power backup, internet, etc. With the opening of the office, not only me but Kamal and Harsh were also able to work more systematically.

Many other positive developments also took place in the Corona days. For a long time, I had the desire to wake up in Brahma Muhurta and do meditation, etc. Corona lockdown helped me to fulfill these desires. I started getting up at 3:30 in the morning. Since I was not taking dinner, it became very feasible for me to go to bed by 9 pm. I was using the whole day with optimum precision. My productivity was at its peak. I had never been able to utilize my time so well. 

Our media dimension has benefited the most from the opening of the office. At first, I thought of preparing a printed brochure as some of my friends had asked for it many times. When I started preparing the matter of the brochure, I thought why not put the same thing on the website. Harsh helped me to execute this idea in a very short time. For the sake of Mission Tirhutipur, he learned the website-making skill and made the 1st website of his life. He also suggested a good name – Gramyuga. We liked this name so much that all our media platforms were named after it. While Harsh was engaged in making the website, Kamal took over the command of social media. It was my responsibility to write content for all these platforms. The idea of a Diary came while thinking about what to write daily for social media. After some experiments, my first diary was published on 30th May which continues till date. We were happy. The Corona period was proving to be a boon, not a curse for us.

Most of my time was being spent inside the office, but it is not that I was not aware of the outside world. On the issue of Corona vaccination, I got the first-hand experience of mob mentality. A small part of the population was getting vaccinated while a large part was away from it. I saw that logical arguments and facts had no impact on the masses. They were driven by baseless rumors. I was trying to understand this phenomenon from the perspective of psychology. If I quote the words of Daniel Kahneman, I can say that it was very interesting to see the system-1 and system-2 of the human mind working in front of me. 

The Corona lockdown lasted for a long time in the cities, but in the villages, it lasted hardly for one month. By the end of May, people started mingling with each other within the village. Gradually, we also started considering resuming the mission work. But the problem was that the month of June had started with a long rainy season ahead. Now it was not possible to repeat the experiments of the study centers as we ran them in the winter. There was an open field of 1.5 acres with us but we had no roof to protect the children from sun and rain. A lot of money was spent on getting the office and guest room ready. Many works were done on credit that had not yet been paid for. In such a situation, I was not able to see how to make a roof for the children so that their studies can resume.

That’s all in this diary. Let’s meet again, Goodbye.

Vimal Kumar Singh

Convener, Mission Tirhutipur

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