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Trip to Bihar on a WONDERful purpose

Certain things are uncertain in our life. Travel is one of the uncertain things that will take you to experience the unknown. One evening after my regular routine, I got a call from my office asking me to travel to Bihar with a team of 3 people (Myself, Navin and Dr.Radha Rani) for one of our project called WONDER. They shared with me the purpose and set the expectations.

Let me talk a little bit about the place where I am currently living. I’m from Chennai, Tamil Nadu and the moment that I am writing this blog, we are in mid-summer season with scorching sun boiling the mercury to 40 degree. And yes, I desperately need some escape out of this city for a while.

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As planned, I took my flight from Chennai on 14 May, 2019 at 9:15AM and reached Patna airport on the same day at 2:20PM. We were welcomed by Dr.Jha (Civil Surgeon, Darbhanga Dist) who took us by car to reach the city called Darbhanga where he arranged our accommodation in government guest house inside the district collectorate building. The weather was nonetheless the same as it was in Chennai with more humidity. My team had taken a break for lunch on the middle of our way.

So, the news came for a travel and certainly my fingers started playing with google for the phrases like ‘hill stations near Darbhanga’, ‘tourist attractions near Darbhanga’, ‘cool places around bihar’, ‘Darjeeling’, ‘Mount Everest’, etc., (wait for it till the end to know the expectation and twisted climax)

The next worry for me was about food. Since I was fasting, I had no idea how I am going to arrange food in the middle of the night and during the break-fast at the dusk. But Dr.Jha with all the kindness, took in-charge respecting my belief and practice. He bought some delicious native food for me to have it for my break-fast at 6:28PM. Also, he assured to provide the needful during my stay.

I am so embraced to see the humanity beyond everything else. He said, ‘You are one among us.’ This attitude of singularity as human is what matters the most and is the one that is uniting us in diversity.

I reached my accommodation at 8:30PM. The government building with its colonial style architecture, made the place special and pleasant all the way until our return.

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I used to start my days with discussions and planning. On my first day, I visited the adjacent village PHC for the training workshop. I introduced myself and our team with the doctors and other health workers formally and went to the training hall. The hall was packed with number of doctors, nurses, media persons in and around the town. I was overwhelmed with the interests that they showed on improving women’s health using the project WONDER tool. It is a proven tool to reduce the maternal mortality ratio (MMR) that has yielded positive results in Erode district, Tamil Nadu. The project WONDER was initiated by Dr.Narmadha Kupuswamy and lead by my colleague Navin Thomas while Dr.Radha Rani oversees and guiding with clinical progress.

The other day, we staged with Darbhanga Collector Dr.Thiyagrajan who formally announced our pilot project to their local team. The complete events were covered by the media and published in their local newspapers. I was so happy that I got more exposure personally as well as officially.

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During my casual walk out of my room to the local market place every evening, I got a chance to taste the local foods, sweets and savories. The chaat item named ‘litthi choka’ is one of the famous savory snack here and should not be missed on your visit here. For remembrance of this visit my friend bought the famous Mithila paintings.

After the successful sessions and other small activities, my plan was to visit nearby tourist attractions. Especially, I was planning to touch my feet on the Himalayan mountain where I expected a lot of snow, based on what I saw over the internet. The locals said, the time is not favorable to see the snow in this season. I need to travel more interior to enjoy the cold climate. Since it would take more number of days than planned, I was forced to quit my plan.

But while returning to the airport, I got enough time to see the gorgeous Ganga river. I got a chance to cross the river and get my foot in it. It is the biggest river I’ve ever seen so far. I clicked a few photographs in remembrance. Before reaching the Patna airport, the driver suggested a shop to buy some famous sweets.

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I took my flight at 5:15PM from Patna. During my flight, I had another memorable incident. I had to break my fasting in the sky for the first time in my life. As a custom, we set the time to break our fasting when the sun set. This time, I got a chance to see the sun-set from my seat window to break the fast.

I landed on time as scheduled at 10:00PM. With all the nice memories, I took a taxi and reached my sweet home. I gained new experiences by meeting new people from all walks of life, new places and felt amazing at the core. It is rare we get a feeling of fulfillment while we get paid for our work.

Shafi Ahamed

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