Inside Out

Notes on seeking wisdom and crafting software


They were sharp, charged with energy and an unquenchable drive for change. They had a dream to positively impact our day-to-day activities. They started with celebrations. If you take a look at general mindset of folks (in our culture), we take decisions from heart when it comes to our closest ones. Even if I don’t have enough cash inflow (say I am retired etc.), I will spend a couple hundred thousands for my kid’s marriage. Marriages happen once, so why not? Nope, you can’t answer or convince people on that, do try though :)

Apart from marriages, our friends also noticed that the cultural activities in that village are recurring and fall into a generic pattern. For instance, almost every other village in West Bengal or Orissa celebrates Dussera grandly; or most places in the northern plains celebrate Ram Lila during the Ram Navami festival. These festivities do end up with a grand dinner!

They thought - in most celebrations, big or small, individual or group, folks rent utensils/tents and other infrastructure items. Not everybody has the capacity/availability to rent them (low-income level or remote location). Why don't we create a pool of infrastructure? A one time investment/gift from our side. There's this other clause - every time someone uses the common infrastructure pool, he will contribute in kind to the pool. For instance, if using the common pool will save me 1000 bucks, I will invest 200 bucks and add a tent into the pool. That takes care of wear and tear of items over the years. The other assumption is trust and good will among people; usually cash leads to tons of troubles, kind reduces that a bit. All that said, they told me this works!

I know most of you must be involved in such activities already. Thinking along these lines, is there a way our action or gesture could be sustainable? Is there a way that one time act can replenish itself in future? If we're involved with an organization, do we ask how they sustain themselves? We have heard many times the story of giving a man fish v/s teaching him how to fish. Sustainability makes our dreams repeatable. Fund raising is one way, I think self-sufficiency always goes ten steps further. Replenishment supports to that end; everyone owns, everyone nurtures and everyone relishes the fruits. If I were to change one thing, I would ask for us to imbibe this thought culture of replenishment.

May be education can follow this norm as well. Can't the students (of say a higher grade) help the students junior to them? A similar structure already exists for higher education (Teaching Assistants etc..); can we implement that in primary/secondary education? Many of our kids do have a dream to be a teacher, why make them wait for ten more years? What do you think? Would it work? There will be so much passion, learning and activity around (it seems like that in my mind at least), I'd love to try this out someday if I get a chance to be a teacher :)