Saturday, 1 December 2012

Grama Seva- Autobiography of a Tractor





By KVRK Bhargav


I chugged out of the Gopuram gate with a bunch of boisterous boys chanting Jai Bolo Bhagwan Sri Satya Sai Baba ji ki Jai. Another arduous day had started for me in the annual Sri Satya Sai Grama Seva 2012. They call me the beast of burden perhaps mockingly. I am always an object of dislike due to my lack of agility, a bumpy ride and  status of a stock vehicle. I am a tractor named T4 (fourth group) and I consider myself a part of the Grama Seva irrespective of what others think. I have got used to this step motherly treatment of starting half an hour to forty five minutes before the whole convoy leaves which is a dampener for students to join me. The remonstrances showed by Adi Narayana, my driver,  regarding leaving early were brushed aside by the teacher in-charge who said rather dismissively, "After all the tractor is like a tortoise, it can't match the speed of the mini trucks which are like the hares. Tractor has to reach in time to the village to supply us with food prasadam and ladoos."




Grama Seva every year generally employs mini trucks for transporting students, dhotis and sarees and tractors are used to transport food packets and ladoos and they act as stock vehicles. Tractors generally reach before the trucks and wait till the whole service is completed, replenishing stock wherever necessary. They start their return journey with the excess stock of food packets which they distribute to the village folk en-route to Puttaparthi.


While making a slow and steady progress I encounter sporadic groups of villagers especially women who at the sight of the vehicle with the banner of  'Sri Satya Sai Grama Seva' are overjoyed. But as the realization dawns on them that it is a tractor they comment, "Sister don't waste your time here, it is a tractor it doesn't carry sarees." This makes me feel crestfallen and I rue, ‘why I am not liked by anyone, why my service is not recognized?’ But seeing the beautiful photo of Bhagwan leading from the front, I accept it as His will

A convoy of mini trucks whiz past me, honking their horns looking at me with disdain. I ignore all of them silently going along with my business. While trundling down the rugged terrain I overhear the chat of a group of boys traveling in my trolley. One boy says, "Whatever reservations one may have about it, tractor is the best vehicle as it is open giving us the luxury of enjoying the scenery while traveling. Moreover, its slow pace gives us the extra opportunity to enjoy nature to the fullest." Another boy adds, "Tractor is not for the weak hearted, it is for brave hearts like us who love adventure and enjoy the jumps and bumps of this journey." This gives a boost to my sagging spirits and some much needed impetus for the journey.

During the slow journey I encounter a hamlet with a small school perched on top of a hillock. The school kids start jumping at the sight of a tractor with beaming faces as they know the most desirous ladoos will be available here. The joy in the eyes of the kids give a new lease of life to me as I am most sought after by the pure innocent village toddlers. I get an extra shot of energy in negotiating the journey.

Reaching the village Kesavapuram, a distance of 35kms from Puttaparthi, I take up the task of supplying food and Ladoos and when the service is almost over, a bunch of villagers approach the teachers with a request of providing prasadam to them. The teachers chide them for approaching the vehicles and ask them to stay at their respective houses where the prasadam will be given to them in accordance with the explicit command of Bhagawan. The villagers reply with despondent faces, "We live far away from this village near our fields, the road leading to our houses is not a good one. How you will be able to reach there?" Thinking for a while, the teachers reply with an air of relief in their tone, "Don't worry, we have our tractor which can negotiate any type of terrain."



The tractor driver Adi Narayana is summoned and is asked to take up this difficult portion of this service. Few pairs of saree and dhoti are loaded and I set out for this special and arduous journey carved out only for me to accomplish. Like the deft strokes of brush of a master painter, Adi Narayana negotiates the serpentine cart path and a small stream wading through it in couple of feet deep water. I finally reach this settlement of few houses with my head held high basking in this new found importance. The residents of this small colony are overjoyed seeing Swami's prasadam reaching them. With beaming faces, the poor and innocent folk of this hamlet shower praises on me for making this happen giving me a feeling of fulfillment. An elder of the hamlet pats me and says, his eyes filled with gratitude, "Every year it is only the tractor which negotiates this treacherous journey to provide us with Swami's prasadam."

Ruminating on this new found utility I chug back to the ashram alone with tears of gratitude realizing that every instrument has a role to play though a small one in fulfilling His mission.


(Bhargav is a student of Swami who after completing his B.Tech in Textile Engineering graduated with an MBA from the the Sri Sathya Sai University in 2001. Ever since, he has had the great fortune of waiting for Swami’s direct guidance. He pursues Vedic science as a hobby to understand how it complements and dovetails spirituality. In this article, he shares his insights on how Grama Seva plays a profound role in impacting the lives of all the participants and the beneficiaries)


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