India is a growing nation, and the major population still is living in the rural areas. They are mainly farmers- The backbone of the nation.
Ram greets us with Namaste and gives a warm welcome to his village in India. He looks like an educated farmer. He is very proud to be a farmer and use his knowledge to progress further in farming technics. He is takes farms and show us around the village, suddenly he gets a notification on the phone. He quickly get into his farming vehicle makes some quick changes to the rare of the vehicle and drives to a nearby house.
In house there was a man met with an accident in his house. They called up the hospital but the hospital is quite far. So if the hospital send their ambulance all the way, then it will never be able to reach back to the hospital on time. The ambulance will also get slowed down because bad roads. So the hospital got in touch with the nearest google community vehicle, and Ram quickly responded to the notification.
On the way to the hospital Ram explains, “The Google community vehicle is given to farmer in India and other developing or underdeveloped nation farmer, through a google community program. The vehicle is given to the farmer as a subsidized cost. On signing the program the farmer agrees to help during emergency situation, like these. The ride through these bad roads are not all that uncomfortable, I was worried about the patient, that he would experience nausea while going through these bad roads. But Ram answers my curious look, “You look surprised. Is it the relatively smoother drive through these bad roads?” he further explains, “This vehicle looks very simple but it’s very smartly designed. It has got some smart innovations but cost effective solutions. The vehicle has a unique suspension system. The frame design of the vehicle is like a scissor so the rear wheel suspension shocks are absorbed by the engineer chassis ahead and the platform on which the passengers or patients are seated is connected with the top frame. This way all the road shock are absorbed in the front engine chassis, and nothing is transferred to the passenger platform. And the tires are also very unique in construction that not only takes the road shock but does not slow down every time we go over a small bump.” Then we arrived at the hospital. The doctor informed if we were to be a little bit more late they might had to amputate his arms. This was such a relief and they all thanked Ram to come over for help.
It’s a long journey back home. Ram quickly make few changes to rear of the vehicle again. He wants to provide taxi service to anyone going towards his village. We waited for 5 minutes at busy interjection. In 5 minutes there were 10 people in his vehicle already and still space for more two. Ram quickly collects a very nominal amount from the passenger in return of the taxi service he Is providing. Ram explains, “My father was also a farmer but he committed suicide. A decade back there were many suicides by farmers in India. Majorly due to lack of financial support to the farmers during drought, and due to climate change we face regular droughts, which leaves the farmer and his family helpless and in great debts. So they didn’t had any other chance than suicide. Today this vehicle is our lifeline. During drought we take these vehicle and convert into taxi. So our earnings from taxi services help us support our family.” We drop off our first passengers and Ram receives another notification on his mobile. This time it’s a a villager who has request for a ride. Ram had register a ride to his location before starting the journey. So the villagers can request for a ride. When I looked behind towards the passengers, there was such chirpiness. They all were socialising and bonding with each other. The seats were also designed in such a way that, they face each other and they can talk and socialise. This is socialising without technology but yet serves a better purpose. So I asked Ram, “Why do you help people, and waste your productive time?” Ram smiles and humbly answers, “It is always a feel good factor, this way we can make better relation with more people, learn to collaborate and work. Because we need to co-exist. But the google program make sure that we don’t lose our productive time. So when we help a patient. And once he is looked after at the hospital and checked is the patient is genuine. After he gets well there is a citizen credit transfer to our google rural community account. With that we can buy farming material at subsidised cost. See there it’s a win-win situation for us.” I wonder how google benefit from these when they give away the vehicle the farming materials at subsidized cost. Ram answers to it, “You know Google’s business is to sell data. Although they give us these at subsidized cost but they collect a lot of data from the google loon balloon which they sell in the developed market at far higher cost.” But this program also helps farmers get educated and learn new farming technics.
We reach his home and its evening already. At night I was reading their local magazine which give these farmers knowledge about better farming technics, but then there was a power cut off for several hours. Ram say this happens every day. It’s usual all across rural villages. But he says don’t worry. We can use the head light from the vehicle which is removable and can be use anywhere like a torch, also the engine can run a generator to power the home. This vehicle which is so simple turn out to be a hero for these villagers and can take up any character. I wonder, what other character this vehicle can turn into. Ram asks me sleep early to wake up early, he says he will drop me to the city next morning.
When I wake up I see Ram putting his farm produce on the vehicle. He is heading to the city on his vehicle. In the past the farm produce was sold to the middle man. And all this would eventually make our vegetable and fruits more expensive and not accessible to the poor. But these farmers today are self-empowered. They can go sell their own produce in the market in their own mobile market. It so glad to see how our farmers are empowered educated today through this one program and a vehicle.