Other people may find nothing new in it and may have experienced it several times in their lives. I am going to tell about a lady hero who inspires me in a very different way.
Probably that was my fourth visit to Maharashtra. I have been to 18 districts of Maharashtra on mostly work-related visits. My latest visit was entirely different from all those earlier visits. The visit left me completely thrilled. I went to a very beautiful village called Morwadi Pachling situated in the foothills of a small mountain 50 to 60 kilometers from Pune city. The village is seven kilometers from the Pune-Bangalore highway (National Highway no 4).
The fond memories of this visit still linger in my mind and probably I am not going to forget them all my life. It was not merely the scenic beauty of the village but also the beautiful and kind heart of a lady.
We reached the village after having walked for almost five kilometers. The work we had done during the first half of the day and the long walk had made us hungry and we were desperately craving for food. We came to know that there were no eateries and besides, we did not have the luxury of time to walk all the way down from the hilly village to the highway, where there are many dhabas. We were almost helpless and dizzy from hunger. It was then that a lady overheard our travails. Even without discussing with any of her family members, she agreed to provide us food. Her house was a hut with a sliding roof made of slate plates and sunlight was scarce inside the house. The state of the house was a giveaway of the economic condition of the family.
She cooked very simple yet delicious fare within half an hour with her limited resources she had in her kitchen and kitchen garden. Then she graciously offered us the fare she had prepared. I had probably never had such simply yet tasty food in my life. To this day, I remember her as the most gracious host I have ever met and her innocent smile stuck to my heart. Without the food she provided us it would not have been possible to walk 7 kilometers to the main road wherefrom we took a taxi to our hotel. At that time the food tasted like manna. For her, time was scarce and after serving us the food, she had to leave directly for the field where she has to work in order to run the household and fulfil the needs of the family.
City dwellers like us cannot even think of providing or offer anything to anybody if there is no prospect of any hidden benefit. But this poor lady had offered us one meal that would have sustained herself for almost a week.
Although I cannot now remember her name, she is an unsung hero of my world and she still keeps whistling in my world of inspiration.
By Nibedita Phukan, during the field visit to Maharashtra during December 2010