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Thursday, December 8, 2016

what drives people ~ and what propels this 82 year old lady !!

When you wake up in the morning, what is the passion that fuels you to start your day?  Are you living this in your work?   If others asked you what drives you to achieve, would the answer be obvious?   The triggers that motivate people to achieve are unique for everyone.  A Management Guru quoted people as saying it is : Money, incentives, rewards, recognitions, career advancement, edge over others, … and more !!!  - what is your take ????

In Vijay film ‘Sura’ – Vadivelu as Amber la would tickle bones.  In one scene, he would start elaborately for a boat race, spend money for his friends only to reach the venue by evening, when the race was scheduled in the morning !

There have been movies revolving around sea and fisherfolk  - Manickam is the leader of a fishing community named Thirukkai Meenavargal; their opposition group is Sura meenavargal.  There is enmity between the groups – Manickam, the honest, compassionate, principled man faces lots of trouble – add the usual village zamindar.  Manickam falls in love with the daughter of his rival – there comes the boat race, Manickam in disguise helps the rival party. – old timers would easily have identified this to be the storyline of ‘Padagotti’ the MG Ramachandran starrer. 

Sometime back, I had posted on a small bridge [of say 30 odd meters]  across Buckingham canal at Triplicane – at Triplicane MRTS Railway station that was a welcome move for the residents.  It helped the residents avoid walking a few extra meters in the not so well maintained roads and provided a sense of security being in the midst of people.  The bridge connected the Railway station to the other part of the road across the canal.   There are bridges in many parts of the globe.  The Danyang–Kunshan Grand Bridge spreading  164.8-kilometre (102.4 mi) is the longest bridge and it is in China’s Jiangsu province.  In India, Mahatma Gandhi Setu over the river Ganges connecting Patna in the south to Hajipur in the north of Bihar with length of 5,575 metres is the longest river bridge in India, inaugurated by  the then Prime Minister, Mrs Indira Gandhi.

The Thamirabarani River (தாமிரபரணி) originates from  Pothigai hills on the eastern slopes of the Western Ghats at an elevation of 1,725 metres (5,659 ft) above sea-level. The river is joined by its headwater tributaries Peyar, Ullar, Pambar before it flows into the Kariyar Dam reservoir, where it meets Kariyar. Servalar joins the Thamirabarani before it enters into the Papanasam lower reservoir, which was built for the Papanasam Hydroelectric station. The river flows through Tirunelveli and Tuticorin districts of the Tamil Nadu into the Gulf of Mannar. It is a divine place too – with some most beautiful temples including Nava Tirupathi sthalams across the river and the famous Nellaiyappar temple and Tiruchendur Murugan Temples nearby. 

The river banks are fertile areas and one can see banana plantations and other vegetations.  There are villages and there are some – accessing which is by crossing the river.  Here is a story in Hindu (Tamil edition – 24th Nov 2016) on a 81 year old lady, serving for the locals in crossing the river.  The article is translated for easy reading :

படகு மூலம் தினமும் நூற்றுக்கணக்கானோர் ஆற்றைக் கடக்க உதவுவதை, மேற்கொண்டு 81 வயதிலும் உழைப்பின் மகிமையை உணர்த்தி வருகிறார் கன்னியாகுமரி மாவட்டத்தைச் சேர்ந்த மூதாட்டி ஒருவர். குழித்துறை பகுதியில் ஓடும் தாமிரபரணி ஆற்றின் கரையில் இருக்கிறது அஞ்சாலிக் கடவு கிராமம். இங்கு ஆற்றின் ஒரு கரை விளாத்துறை ஊராட் சியிலும், மறுகரை மெது கும்மல் ஊராட்சியிலும் இருக் கிறது. இப்பகுதியில் ஆற்றைக் கடந்தால் 200 மீட்டருக்கும் குறைவான தூரத்தில் மறுகரைக்கு சென்று விடலாம். அதுவே சாலை வழியாக செல்ல வேண்டுமானால் 12 கிலோ மீட்டர் தூரம் சுற்ற வேண்டும். இவ்விரு ஊர்களுக்கும் இணைப்புப் பாலமாக, தனது படகை ஓட்டி, தன் வாழ்வை யும் சேர்த்து ஓட்டி வருகி றார் மூதாட்டி ரத்னபாய்(81). பள்ளிக் குழந்தைகள் முதல் தொழிலாளர்கள் வரை கூட்டம், கூட்டமாக காலை நேரத்தில் படகில் ஏறிக்கொள்கின்றனர்.

In Kanyakumar Dist – At Kuzhithurai area, Anjalikkadavu is a tiny village on the banks of Tamirabarani river.  On oneside is Vilathurai Panchayat and on the other is Methu Kummal Panchayat.  If one crosses the river, the distance is less than 200 metre but if one were to travel by road, it is 12 km approx..

The old lady Ms Rathnabai (81) has been providing that vital link, earning her livelihood and  in the process helping the local cross the river.  In the morning the area buzzes with school children and labourers.  The process is laborious – a strong rope is connected from one shore to the other.  She at her ripe old age, has no power to row with oars, she simply pulls alongside the rope, making the boat and its occupants cross the river.  She is quoted as saying : ‘rowing boat is our family tradition.  My husband Ramaiyan too was engaged in this but after his stroke disease, I had to enter this occupation.  At first, I used a long bamboo pole, then oars. Those who use the boat are basically poor people and they pay a Rupee or Two ~ and family runs on this revenue.  After a prolonged illness for a decade, my husband passed away.  I had 4 boys and 2 girl children and only a boy and a girl have survived. 

She continues to be bread-winner – age has taken its toll and she is unable to oar and pull the boat as she did earlier  - now the boat and her lifeboat are pulled by the rope. The rope would last for an year or so and would cost Rs.1000/- for renewing. To the tale of woes, she adds that the boat developed a hole an year ago.  As she had no money to repair, she could not run the boat services (!) for 5 months. The villagers felt the impact and requested continuance of her services.  She felt the need for continuing the service that their family had done over the years and feeling the need for helping the villagers, had a new boat bought by her grandson.

It perhaps is the work of Govt – Public Welfare Department – there are many village bodies with revenue too – but in life as it happens, the old lady feels it her responsibility and continues to row for the villagers – thinking of it as a service and not as a burden.  In a Metropolitan city, every educated man would ask – why should I do something for the society, it is the duty of Government and I pay taxes !! – then there are old persons like Rathnabai who do something beyond their capacity.  She is quoted as requesting the Governmental agencies help in a big measure to ensure that his family continues the tradition – or else, fears that the ferry service might end with her life.

One is certainly at a loss of words !!

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

8th Dec 2016.

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