The train Journey from Mumbai to Ahmedabad was indeed an interesting one. I am mostly not the one who initiates a conversation with co-travelers and it was the case again. Though, I am not averse to others initiating a conversation. I quite like it.
The lady next to me had boarded the train from Borivali. She had swapped seats with lady initially so that she and her husband could sit together. This guju couple offered me some chikis and chips also the usual whats ur name, what do you do and where are you heading stuff. When the couple got off the train at Baroda it was the lady back again at my side. The lady had over heard our conversation and so was interested in knowing where I was heading. Later on we discussed everything from NGOs, traveling, social entrepreneurship, books, cities and people. This lady I am talking about is Dipti Dhebar. She has been working with an NGO named Pratham Gujarat Initiative (www.pratham.org). From what I learnt Pratham focuses on education for the underprivileged and organizes balwadi for children aged 4 – 14 years. They have a curriculum of their own which she says is practical and more focussed on making the students literate. Pratham had a team of around 50 which decides the curriculum and topics included. Pratham followed a franchise model to reach the masses. She said that the franchisee model has worked wonders for Pratham.
I also shared with her some initiatives like Kshana(with which I have been involved) [www.kshana.org] and Toybank [www.toybank.co.in] with which some of my friends have been associated with and have been successes. I shared the essence of these organization which she found to be novel and interesting. Even she aimed at starting an organisation on her own in years to come. Social entrepreneurship is sure to catch up soon in India and become big as in the West.
She also invited me to one of the Balwadi’s and we exchanged numbers too. She did ask me to call her for any help I need while I am in Ahmedabad. We got into an rickshaw together as her place was somewhere in between Ahmedabad station and Nirma University campus. She also asked me to SMS her once I reach the Univesity Campus safely. Don’t people like her reinforce the faith in existence of humanity on earth?
Did I tell you there was burning smell all over in the compartment somewhere between Baroda and Ahmedabad and for which train was delayed by 20 minutes? Incidentally there was smoke seen in C3 compartment (I was in C1).
Wasn’t it an interesting journey?