Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The Quiet Soldiers of Compassion

EVEN IF you saturate yourself in the Amtes, day and night, you cannot entirely look their work in the eye: you turn away from the full experience of it because if you didn’t, you would be forced to confront and change your deepest self. You would need to re-examine your entire life.

But let us start at the beginning. If you drive deep into the forested heart of India, 360 kilometres away from Nagpur, you will find nothing but giant mosquitoes and thoughts for company, and occasional clusters of huts — mere lashings of damp leaf and grass. It is a beautiful country, an emerald world cut by streams and rivers, but it is so lonely, so isolated, you can almost touch its forgottenness. Six hours into this silent receding world and suddenly you come to a white arch: Lok Biradari Prakalp, Hemalkasa. Turn in and the first thing you feel is disappointment. There seems nothing here but the standard issue buildings of middle India — grey cement, green mould. It is dusk and raining hard. A wiry man in white vest and white shorts steps up.


No comments: