Ritika’s Experience at Bansighat Slum Area

by Ritika Giri (Student – BBA)

I ask myself a question: Is the reality we live in real? Or is it just an illusion? 

I wake up in the morning, make myself a cup of lemon tea and have some breakfast. Then I drink my tea and eat my breakfast with my cellphone in my hand. Looking and comparing with the picture of my friends and family and thinking how awesome their life are and how boring life I live. Yes, that was me almost every morning living a life that made no sense and neither was I satisfied, but then something unexpected  happened. I choose to do some social work. My task for this social work was to encourage and enlighten the children of Bansighat slum area. I am still amazed about how that experience changed my life and the way I think. Today after this beautiful and real experience, I ask myself a question: Is the reality we live in real? Or is it just an illusion? 
Let me get started with the very first time I heard about this project. I was curious and started to draw different picture in my mind about how this project was going to be. I even prepared myself with different things that they could benefit from. The next day was the day this project started. I reached there and was shocked to see how small, dirty and unmanaged their living space was. It was not my first time in slum area but never had I ever looked so closely before. After I reached there I went to the institute which was at the heart of this slum area where the children who are out of school were provided with tuition classes. We a group of few people were there to teach those student. We then started our class. A class which was supposed to be taught by us about everything that we have learned in our life. But at the end of this project I got some unexpected result. As we the mentor learned so much more than they could learn from us. There is a saying in Nepal “Padhera Vanda Parera Bujincha” meaning you learn more from what you experience than from what you read and this completely made sense to me now.

…they never cared about what and how they speak, they just wanted to show the world “The real them”…

My experience  there is so much to share about. They were so real about themselves, they never cared about what and how they speak, they just wanted to show the world “The real them” and I am so happy that they think that way. Because most of us are so focused on impressing the world that we forget who the real “We” are. So I got to say that this was my favorite part about them. Next thing that really moved me was that they knew so much about life. Not inspired from  movies or fairy tales like us but they have been part of the reality that we usually hear in stories or see in movies. Such was life for them. They were living a life full of uncertainty, and risking each moment to make it worth. They are fighting every day to achieve something, they are focusing on how their unheard voices could be heard. 
Then I smiled at myself, looked at them and said to myself that this is what real life is. Because when you love what you have, you have everything you need. This place might look dirty, unmanaged and awful but it is more real than the life we been living. A life that teaches them to be real no matter with whom or where you are. 
I had a realization about what a great time I had and I that we learned so many things that I would never get from anywhere else. It was worthwhile to know that there is a different world outside your house, your comfort zone and that’s an experience in itself where we will learn that reality is as ugly as it is beautiful.


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