Monday, April 6, 2009

One Wish, one Dream and a Realization

---"This Rs. 1000 is retained for buying books. Baba--Are you done with your listing of books? Aaijoni--Look at the news paper and let me know if the book fair is at Judges' Field or Saanmari Field?"
---"Bhagin, this book is prized to Manjit in yesterday's Quiz. On first glance, seems like this is not for a boy of his age, can you please read it and let me know?"
---"Putu, this is really a shame that till now you are not able to bring a basic ABCD book for your child. Aaijoni-Bring one of the two elementary books to my rack and give it to this poor fellow"

Above are a few representation of Deuta (Father in Assamese language) at various moments of his life. Point to note here is all of them orbit around a common theme--Books. Imagine a place, where, there is no existence of the word 'Library', where subsists only one book shop whose key purpose is to keep some story books along with pen and pencils so that People can buy them for gifting brides/grooms, where people simply can't think beyond the text books; in spite of being in such a place, I can proudly proclaim with 100% firmness that I have read all the best books of all Assamese writers (Published till 4 years back). The leading constituent of this smugness is contributed by Deuta and Maa. The way they brought up all three of us, we always compromised on many things 'by default', but never did in case of Books; which was a bit startling for a lower middle class family of a backward place like Agia.

One wish:
Ever since I came out of my native place for study, whenever I have to visit again, I always take 1-2 books for Deuta. Most of the time that book is the one published from my college/institution, may be a newsletter or a magazine. Usually on the evening of the first day of my arrival, my parents and I used to have a round table chat during the evening tea. Among many other things, Deuta was always keen on knowing one fact -"What is the main difference between the people of my present and my past. What is missing in the 'Urpad Jyoti' of Balbala HS School or 'Kuhipath' of JNM, Agia which is present in the 'Cottonian' of Cotton College or 'NewsLetter' of NIT Durgapur".
Many a times, the answer is simple -- "The people of Agia don't know much about the external world. This lack of knowledge has completely narrowed down their exertion, even their thought process". But this is practically impossible for all to go outside and expand awareness. What else can they do?? The way out is--'To read books' .
"I will do something after retirement, may be a small book shop in the Agia market by renting out a room. Or, with the books we have at home, I will get going with some initiative for these people ".... Deuta used to finish the discussion.

One dream:
Cicero once told--'To add a library to a house is to give that house a soul'
First time I came across the concept of 'home-library' at class V while reading the novel 'Saudar Puteke Nao meli Jai' by noted Assamese thinker and literate Mr. Homen Borgohain. In the story, two young boys set up a library in their rural community. From that instant, there has always been an imaginary library in my psyche. But its absence in real life always makes me feel curtailed. I used to run after that dream with even a coin gifted to me for having chocolates by some kind relatives.
Going by Cicero's words, me, my home, my school and even my native place have been living without a soul. There is not a single public library in the entire vicinity. Without going into the discussion why this is so, I always keep on pondering what I can do for my part. The question to sustain a balance between my capability to do things and the possible impacts—has always restrained me. But in the midst of all these uncertainties and internal disputes, my childhood dream still hunt me----A room full of books with all the finest collection of epoch, and people talking about them...gradually realizing their potential in this progression.

A Realization:
I observe whenever more than two software engineers meet, other than criticizing IT industry to be the worst, they always discuss one thing- ‘We have to do something extra, something completely new and innovative’. In most of the cases the discussion results nothing but simply exasperation.
After the decease of Deuta, whenever I used to enter (even in my thought) the ‘optical room’ (the study room positioned on the extreme left corner of our house), all the books lying on the rack seem to echo the incomplete desire of Deuta. I was feeling sort of fidgety; my restless mind kept on reminding me I needed to do something. I began thinking all the three things together-Deuta’s wish, my dream and the software engineer’s immense intend to do ‘something extra’. I came to a sturdy realization: In real life, there should always be a moment when you have to stand up on your feet and declare—“Enough of dreaming, from now on my efforts will be focused to make every dream a reality”.
This was a big realization on my part. I stood up on my feet. I discussed the concept of a library at our home with my Maa, bro and sis. Also, I conversed the whole idea with ILP (India Literacy Project) Hyderabad Chapter (I have been associated with this NGO, and have been a part of their Community library and Pustakam Program) and got advice & feedback. They gave me many contacts and valuable info.

1st October, 2008--- I packed my luggage and started for home with only one intend in my mind—to gather all required resources and to finish the initial plan and set-up. Dreams were still chasing me, but I was feeling more enthusiastic and lively, not restless.


  1. Somnath ChatterjeeApril 17, 2009 at 3:45 PM

    Man, i can say that u are one of the few amongst us who has gathered the guts to do what he feels he should do! Best of luck on your endeavor!

  2. all the luck man .. thats a real good work, I must say!

  3. its really nice to see u blogging manjit da...may all ur dreams come true..wish u all the luck :)

  4. It looks good. Keep it up. For any kind of assistance if you need from me (if within my scope), feel free to ask anytime anywhere...

  5. I always thought Manzit will do something different.
    Happy to know that he still has lotsa desire to do more just than getting recognized as "Software Engineer"

  6. Amazing initiative...I wish I had known about it not so officially. Nevermind. Talk to you about this when we meet.