Last week I happened to visit Ghaziabad. But, this visit was different from my earlier visits. How? You will know it after reading more. But, before, let me also state what made me visit the place this time.
While I was pondering over the state of addicts, a friend of mine suggested a name, Vikalp, a rather positive but perplexing one. My blog will unravel the latter and reiterate the former in an interesting way.
I went inside this simple looking gate and straight to the reception, but, was unable to ignore the simple yet beautiful garden/lawn. The first thing I enquired to them was whether they lock their addicts. The smile of Vishal ji, sitting on the nearby sofa was enough to convince me otherwise. I will introduce him later in this write-up.
They opened the gate and took me inside. It was a gym. I was surprised to see the jolly environment. Rajat ji and Ajit ji (the manager) introduced me to their other staffs, which included 2 females and 2 more males.
They insisted me for having tea, but I was keen on seeing the addicts. So, they took me through another gate. This is what I noticed.
Most of the beds were occupied. Some were sleeping, others were doing some activities. One person pulled my attention more than others. He was smiling with a pen in his hand.
I just asked him “kya compose kar rhe hai?”.
He replied, “Vikalp ka theme song.”
I insisted on seeing it, instead, he narrated me another poem of his, which he dedicated to his guru (the owner of Vikalp).
I also saw the washrooms, where these addicts wash their own clothes and dishes. This activity is a kind of self-service, which prevents them from getting dependent on others. Moreover, I would be the last person to frown on such issues as I also wash my own dishes.
The kitchen was near the gym, which we crossed earlier. It has two cooks one female and another male. The clean and spacious kitchen also had 24/7 running water supply just like that in bathrooms. Water scarcity is an issue in this region, so having 24/7 clean running water displays their dedication to their work.
However, let us continue our journey and approach the hall, where sessions are held twice on daily basis. One interesting thing happened during my visit, I had a 1-minute interaction in the ongoing session.
I was curious to know how they felt, so I framed my question accordingly. I enquired that how many of them were interested in sharing their story and making it public (with or without a name). To my surprise, 70% of them enthusiastically raised their hands. Some of them even told that they have no privacy concerns and wanted me to make their names and pictures public. This response was overwhelming.
After the session got over, I had a chat with Vishal ji and Fahim ji. Let me introduce you to Fahim ji first. He is an addict, who was sober for 15 years and have been working in Vikalp for last 1.5 years. It was two years ago when he was brought to Vikalp. It took him 6 months to become normal. And Vishal ji was another addict with 17 years of sobriety have been working in Vikalp for last 4-5 years. He said something, which I think, is only true for this rehab centre –infrastructure can be provided by everyone, but the feeling of home cannot be provided by any amount of cash.
I finally had samosa and chai, was listening to the manager, who also shared his feelings. He was very particular about his job satisfaction, which he got by serving these people who got “rejected” from life.
Finally, when I met the owner, Pradeep Goyal, a president awardee for social work, I was inspired. The smile on his face showed full contentment, but his words were “abhi toh bohut kuch karna baki hai”. I very well understood what he meant. I hope you do it too if you are reading this blog.
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