India, in a lot of people’s perception, is just a country of severe poverty, embedded caste system and unjust inequality spreading nonstop over millennia. India, in my own perception, is of course not an exception. When someone ask me “Hung, what do you think about India?” The only picture I can ever imagine of is kids living in cramped slumdogs. My perception remains unchanged even though I have been told a lot about the fact that India is growing fast, economically, socially and technologically.
But everything changed dramatically when I was able to see the multi-state country with my own naked eye, a totally different India, an India with so many friendly people who can always say hi and smile to you even though it is your first time meeting them. It is a different Indian with a lot of romantic scenery that make you feel extremely nostalgic when you leave the country. It is a different India with a lot of non-profit organization silently and resentlessly trying to help those underprevileged people to have a better living condition.
And, It is a totally differnt India that I deeply fall in love with.
After 12 days of enlightenment and eye-opening experiences, I have drawn to a conclusion that India people love takings pictures. They were literally born to be models. Look at the picture and you can clearly see that. I took that photo when I came to visit Hunnarshala Organization who helps the people of Bhuj to rebuild their communities after catastrophic earthquake in 2001, devastating nearly everything of the people there, depriving them of their houses and works, taking away schools of their children. Bhuj at that time was almost hopeless and near the edge of abandonment. However, the people of Bhuj still remained a special feeling for the city and did not want to it be left oblivious. This was when Hunnarshala, a humanitarian group of Architects, Structural Engineers, Civil Engineers, Project Managers, came in and helped those unfortunate people to rebuild their house, integrate them back into society and most importantly equip them with the ability of self-dependency. For 12 days in sunny India, I had a lot of chances to visit and learn from humanitarian organizations, associations, small and medium social enterprises, but what Hunnarshala has done for the people in Bhuj has deeply touched my heart. I was fiercely moved when I paid a visit to one of the slum development and saw with my naked eyes that happy smiles were still on the faces of Bhuj people since they were now able to build their own houses, manage the constructions process independently and effectively. Hunnarshala Foundation has helped those people by providing them with hand-on workshops and trainings. In term of long term construction process, Hunnarshala even sent their project managers to supervise the technical aspects of the project and also a social worker to facilitate legal and administrative procedures for the people. Once in my entire life that I can truly feel what I have learnt from school can actually do some good for underprivileged people. Observing what Hunnarshala has done for the people of Bhuj, I can now appreciate more what I am learning and being given now.
You may ask why I choose this photo as a featured image of my blog post. What is so special about this photo? It is genuinely special in and of itself. I took that photo when visiting the slum development project near Hunnarshala Foundation office in Bhuj. Take a look two guys on the rooftop naturally and professionally posing for a photoshoot, even though their faces were hidden by the backlight of camera, I was 100 percent sure that they were smiling. The picture also has its hidden meaning as well. It may seem that before them the sky is seemingly dark, but the sun behind their back is slowly rising, figuratively representing for a surely better future. Hence, there will be nothing to be afraid of when you are still keeping hope and faith for a brighter future. My heart and soul is always with the people of Bhuj and always hoping that they will bravely overcome their misfortune and difficulties. They will surely do.