We didn’t believe it when we got internet connectivity in Sakad which barely has electricity, where hand pumps are going dry now. Sakad has all poverty indicators. But we got internet. We were in a frenzy and mailed everyone we knew about what a great achievement it was.
Three years down the net we are one of the few fortunately co netted people in the country who are able to crib about not getting connectivity. We never cribbed about electricity as the joke about it is that electricity never goes in our village. It comes. Once in a while. Right now only on alternate days. So what if we don’t have electric supply. We have many peons and IAS officers loaded with crores of cash and gold. Swarnim MP they call it.
Let’s forget the crib. This was supposed to be a positive blog post.
Now we are once again very excited about our new first i.e. taking out a forty page magazine dummy sitting right here in this remote adivasi village – Sakad. Actually this was the fifth issue, a special issue for the Adivasi Mahasammelan held at Manpur in the Banswara district of Rajasthan on the 13th-14th Jan. 2012.
Like always we made a grand plan, this time for a special issue, without thinking about what it will take to do it, meaning how much headache it will give us. It was decided to source articles from all the senior adivasi leaders of Maharashtra, Gujarat , Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. Then it began. Starting out by contacting these leaders for articles. The Maharashtra people were very excited and promptly agreed to write and also ask others to write. Some said we have never written but will try. We suggested that they just talk like in a mike and ask somone to keep writing. Though there was a deadline but we were reminding people and later begging them to send their articles even two weeks after the deadlines. One or two recharge cards later we were not dissappointed.Guess what - many people said they had written or were writing.
Next thing was how to get those articles to reach us. No there was no time to send them through post. You must remember that most of our leader writers live in very remote villages of remote areas of the country. So we tried every way. One article reached us through the driver of the only private bus that came to our area. We chased the bus and driver for three days to the last station only to discover that the article was with a guy we knew, but he had forgotten about it. This guy is also leader.
We tried to tell some writers to send via email. They too got excited at the prospect of becoming part of the e revolution. They got hold of someone who knew about email etc. We sent our long id. And after the usual speed breakers of file not opening, different hindi fonts etc. we were able to get some articles. Of course some supporter at their end had to trudge two three times to the market centre from the village to do it.
Some people had hand written. So they sent a scanned version. This too after many phone calls, file not opening etc. The best was the fax machine. The fax machine is in a photocopy shop in a town 10 km. away. The fax machine works only when there is electricity. Remember alternate days. The other end is also similar electric situation. So to find a time when there is electricity at both ends. Then the fax machine has to give a fax tone. Then they could send it. Someone went to collect it. But we realized that some pages were lost between sending and reaching. Again go to town.Match timings and send. Collect.
Now editing which mostly meant rewriting. Typing. Laptop discharged. Battery discharged. Editing. The printer said its too late. Cant be done. Never mind. We will do layout. But wait. Computer crashed and of course we had some back up of first drafts. Run to Pune. Data recovered. Page Maker not loaded after recovery. Never mind we will do it on Publisher. Done. Now lets print it. Who knows how to print a booklet. No one. Not at least on this program. Trial. Trial. Electricity gone. Wake up friends in the middle of night. Finally at 4 am we have a printout. The team is leaving for the Mahasammela around 11 am. Now we are just one step away – photocopying and making at least 50 copies. But the shop opens only around 10.30. Phone. Convince. Convince. Finally the photocopy guy reaches shop after his bath, temple routine. 50 copies made. Back to Sakad. Now for the stapling.
What a great pleasure to turn the pages of the special issue of Yuvaniya. It has everything. Cover design, artwork, headings, poems, editorial and looks like a magazine.
The 50 home made copies were sold out. We have orders for 300 more copies and best of all – Yuvaniya was released in the Mahasammelan with other books by a Minister.
And just as we were preparing to sleep over the weekend, our friend from Mumbai called to say that he was ready to come for the sound/song recording...
( I am not editing this long story. Only spell-check.)