It was 18 years ago that Melody, a United States citizen, visited India over a project. She was so fascinated with India's heritage and values that she has stayed back ever since, deciding to serve poor children who cannot afford quality education. Melody tied the knot with an academician from Nuzvid in Krishna district, where they established Bethesda Integrated School, in a bid to provide a helping hand to the poor and needy. The school, which began with just over 10 children, has grown into a full-fledged institution educating rural children from the region.
The American has a natural inclination for public service. She has tremendous admiration for Leader of the Opposition in Andhra Pradesh legislative assembly and YSR Congress Party President YS Jagan Mohan Reddy, who is currently on his mass outreach programme, Praja Sankalpa Yatra. Recently, Melody went along with her two daughters to meet the people's leader. In her own words, Melody does not see him as a politician, but as a leader true to his word—someone who really cares for the people.
Politicians say whatever they can to get what they want and forget their promises after the elections, she felt. But, YS Jagan is somebody who had the oppurtunity to move forward in politics but he did not want to compromise on his ethical standards and his beliefs, she added. YS Jagan wanted the truth to come out and he wants to serve people by fulfilling the promises he made to them, she asserted.
"It is amazing to see people flock to YS Jagan's Padayatra and public meetings in thousands. Amidst the huge crowd, he was very sweet when we first met him. My youngest daughter got injured while moving in the crowd, but what followed was something that I would never forget. YS Jagan grabbed her face and tried to console her. He talked to her and tried to comfort her repeatedly showing genuine compassion," she observed.
Indeed, it takes a real leader with patience, discipline and integrity to take up a walkathon, a mass leader walking along with thousands of people drawn from the poorer sections of society, as YS Jagan pauses in between, to interact with them lending a patient ear to their struggles and difficulties.
"YS Jagan does not show an inch of discomfort when people are pressing against him while walking, while they reach him for taking selfies or pictures. He treats them with a gracious and joyous heart, takes great joy in meeting people and taking pictures with them. To my surprise, he is actually holding the camera for them. It shows that he has a concern for the masses. It is not something that he is doing for publicity but he actually cares about the people," Melody opined.
Melody was highly impressed with the governance during former Chief Minister, late Dr YS Rajasekhara Reddy's regime. The contribution of Dr. YSR in helping the agriculturists of the region with his visionary planning is unmatched, she pointed out. His reforms for the welfare of the poor have mesmerized me, she said.
Melody thinks YS Jagan will definitely walk in the footsteps of Dr YSR and if the people of the state give him an opportunity, he will take the state to another level. "YS Jagan's election to power will mean a new beginning for the state of Andhra Pradesh. With his the passion to serve the masses, a 'new state, new vision and a new passion' are set to flourish," she hoped.
"A new leader is the need of the hour for the new state of Andhra Pradesh. How will a new state progress with traditional methods of governance?" she questioned. People of the state see a new hope in YS Jagan, who is capable of doing justice to the state, she added.