“So why do you want to join this program?” Tara asked the girl. Tara was the co-ordinator for volunteer programme in Mumbai University.
“Coz I want to make a difference. I want to work for the needy and try and change the world!”, the girl replied passionately.
Tara saw herself in this girl. She remembered how she had started and how she was made to start with a broom. She smiled to herself and said, “Fair enough. You can start now”
“Oh goody! What do I do ? Can I work in the hospital? Would I be a playmate for kids in pain?” she was full of questions.
Pointing to the broom, Tara said, “You can do all that but first, mop the floors”
“But.. I can’t do that! Thats the job of the.. Umm err.. the staff” She said distastefully.
“You said you wanted to make a difference. What better way to do it than maintaining hygiene?”
Tara knew it was not necessary. But she was tired of students enrolling for credits and then losing interest. If she came back the next day Tara would know for sure that she is dedicated.
Supriya spent all evening cleaning the floors of Casual Ward in the Government hospital. She had thought cleaning would be just too easy and she would be done soon enough. Then she could go and talk to this Tara Lady. But when her legs started to ache and the floor was still dirty at the end of three hours, she started losing interest.
She had realized how difficult it was to maintain cleanliness when the people who came there for cure lived in more squalid environment. She had thought she would be taking care of people in a very neat and clean clinical environment wherein everyone would say how sweet and helpful she was. But the doctors were rude and the nurses thought she came in the way. She hadn’t counted on long hours and lack of staff and the general apathy.
Once her optimistic glasses were down, she noticed how much the people suffered. And how hard every one worked to alleviate the pain. She found it hard to believe that little kids died due to diarrhea and measles. Diseases that could be avoided by clean surroundings… She was distressed. She decided to make cleanliness her life long cause and thanked Tara mentally to have shown her the right path.
Supriya then went every weekend to work in the near by slum area. She created a small awareness group who would teach the women of the house about basic measures they could take to avoid diseases even in their condition. Few years down the line, she became a doctor and started her practice in the very same locality and kept working for her pet cause.
And when she was awarded with the Mayor’s award, Tara was in the front seat applauding. For they had kept in touch.
And then years later, when an young student came to her, with stars in his eyes, she said ” First mop the floor…..“
Prompted at :
The words were : suffer, ache, difference.