A moving story of a home visitDiscovering empathy in the lanes of New Delhi.
On the 8th of November this year, Sunita Kumar got married to Aday Ramkiran, in a simple wedding ceremony in New Delhi. The story of their wedding goes back to the month of October when Mr.Joshi, a Rang De social investor referred Sunita’s father, Mr Ashok Kumar to Rang De’s platform to receive a loan to fund this very wedding.
This was a groundbreaking moment in Rang De’s journey and the first time that a social investor referred someone to Rang De’s platform. As part of our process, a Rang De volunteer Divas Jat visited the home of Mr.Ashok Kumar to meet the family and collect some information. Here is a moving recount of his visit.
As the sun prepared to settle, I called Ashok whom I had to visit in the evening to confirm the time of the meeting and his availability at home. The address I received did have the name of the lane and locality but fell short of the house number. I asked him the exact house number to which he insisted he would come to receive me at Bikanerwala on the main road, next to the bus stop. Despite making the point that I could find my way if he would tell me the house number, he insisted to come to the main road.
The ten-minute walk from Bikanerwala saw the lane contracting faster than my eyes could possibly calibrate. Soon, we could not walk next to each other but had to be one after the other and wait at the edge if a person or an animal is coming from the opposite direction. It was a community settlement with a few dozen houses in a row without designated house numbers or the name of the lane. It was set up soon after independence and has since seen multiple demolitions and development activities, Ashok told me. I was struck for a moment the way he mentioned demolition and development next to each other, with the same emotion, as if they were synonyms.
We were here. The gap between the hair and the ceiling fan was less than six inches as we walked inside the six by six feet room. It felt one would almost collide with the fan. A neatly tucked in chair lay beside a stool and a wooden bed. Ashok sat on the bed and offered me the chair. While his eldest daughter of 21 years was getting married next month, the youngest daughter of four years was still playing with sound toys. Aman the only brother to four sisters has just turned 18 and missed the high school exams this year. The examination fees were to be deposited online which he did not know and landed at the school on the day of the exam only to be sent back home.
A Coke in two glasses soon arrived in the room. The father was visibly anxious maybe; he had some questions which he wanted to ask. Some minutes later, Ashok’s wife, Anjali silently walked into the room and sat on the stool. Aman was standing close to the door. I insisted the family, not be frightened, the purpose of my visit is to see them, find out more about their family and congratulate them on their daughter’s wedding while I take a few pictures and record a short video byte. This sounded unusual to the couple. Only later, when I shared about the mission of Rang De, they talked about the authoritarian, rude and mechanical verification processes while applying for a bank loan in the last few years which made them see this conversation as very unreal.
Everyone asks for an address and accurate identification evidence in addition to a guarantor said Ashok’s wife. She recalled the cold responses they received while seeking a loan from the bank last month for his daughter’s wedding and being rejected each time, despite a bank account in the same branch for over 11 years.
We are poor and may not have a full-fledged home with a dedicated address but we do have a home and a family, she emphasized as we wrapped up our conversation and began on our way back towards the wider main road.
You can help make credit accessible to the many millions like Mr.Ashok Kumar. Find out more about the Influencer Project.