The national highway from Udaipur to Ahmadabad was the next finest thing about Udaipur. How cutely the Aravali hills, followed us, adjoining the roadside. Rishabdeo was a block located 70km from Udaipur. As we reached our destination, the kids running around at the entrance of the Gram Panchayat (village council), looked at us with exhilaration. We were new for them in appearance which would have fascinated them.
The building with huge, wide stairs with a tinge of pink, had a lot of quotes written on it. The walls were filled with a list of names and certain timings. It was the building of the Gram Panchayat (village council). The aura of the place gave us a lot of insight about the political culture of the block. We went towards the end of the stairs which lead us to a huge hall.
The hall had its floor covered with a navy blue carpet, running along its corners. An array of voices echoed with our entrance in the hall. ‘Namaste ma’am’, every woman greeted us with a smile of pleasure and enthusiasm. They were a part of the Ngo – Shri mateswari vikas sewa samiti. All the members were briefed beforehand about Peeli dori and what it does.
Our emotions were equally visible on our faces as we went inside and took a seat amidst all. My co-partner said, “Let’s start” and we were all set to introduce ourselves to the members. I started with our purpose to meet them and what relationship would Peeli dori want to have with them. Their eyes blinked with colours of hopes as every statement that I told them regarding their future with Peeli Dori, made meaning to them.
In this conversation with the women, we discussed a lot of facts about how they have worked earlier. They told us a lot about the skills that they possessed. A lady on my right, wearing an orange chiffon printed sari and trying to half cover her face with it, said,” Madam, yahan bohot log aate hai , kaam karne ke sapne dikhate hai aur fir chale jate hai”. She meant that before us many government programs had approached them. They had provided them with training of skills but none had told them how to use those skills.
They were talented souls with skillful hands, but did not have an approach to use it in the right place. They could craft a product but did not have the guidance of what to craft, and which market to relate. It made them helpless in spite of being so strong in their vision. Our conversation told us a lot about their lives, their strengths and their dreams.
Every hand that day, something that I noticed, carried a bank passbook. They all had a bank account, and now by coming to meet us they had professed their urge of filling that account with funds. It could help them take them a step ahead, on the path of independence.