Saturday, June 30, 2012

ग्राम्य मंथन!!

10 days…40 awesomely amazingly inspiring people…one constant feeling…overwhelming!!

When I started this journey, I was like a blank slate, no emotions, not even excitement. There was a deep sense of acceptance and somewhere a sense of relief that I was finally getting down to some action.

Last year in the month of April, I visited Chitrakoot – A model village in Madhya Pradesh. It did not take me long to realize that this is what I see myself doing, this is where my passion lies…reaching out to the unreachables, giving them access to equal opportunities for development and growth. I went through a big emotional turmoil, for the expectation mismatch at the family took a toll on my patience. I did not know how to convince them that this is what I want to do. At the end I decided to stay back in Mumbai!  

From the beginning the intention of getting involved in Rural Development was with a philosophy of Prevention. Everyday I would see tens and hundreds of children working at a tender age, most of them had come from their villages in search of better future to the cities. As an outsider, looking at a situation objectively I could see how badly they were trapped in the vicious circle.

How can I change this? How can I work towards giving a childhood to every child? How did it all started? From where can I start? Many such questions only led my belief to become stronger – We need to work at the root, at the source, our villages!!

Within 4 months of starting my work in Mumbai, I was ready to go to Lucknow and start our work in some of the villages in Jaunpur district of Uttar Pradesh. On the night when I was to board the train from Delhi to Lucknow, I was being called back by my family because of a medical emergency which sort of rose due to my travelling to Uttar Pradesh.

Words still fail to express what I went through in those 24hrs. Tears weren’t enough to express the grief, the anger, the frustration and the helplessness. I felt as if I was being asked not to breathe or not to live!! Even after I came back to Mumbai, this became a very sensitive topic of discussion within family – Working in Uttar Pradesh!!!

 I wouldn’t say I wasn’t aware, I knew from the beginning that this is not a very easy state to work in but at the same I knew the most that the state required interventions, about time!!!

Months passed, I was finding new ways of addressing the symptoms of the problem in Mumbai. Identifying and addressing gaps in the systems, in the processes. Part of me was getting used to it and but there was still a part which would yearn for otherwise!!

And then came May 4th and a very quick glance on the facebook post of a friend and next thing I knew, I became part of Gramya Manthan!!

Event during those 10 days, it was hard for me to identify with one particular feeling that remained for long. The environment was so intense that there were tens of emotions running through my veins at the same time but deep down inside I was a lot at peace. I felt so belonged there….every moment!! Be it interacting with super energetic friends, be it sitting in silence experiencing the nature, travelling by bus everyday to the villages, walking in the fields, talking to the fellow villagers….every moment was like a meditation, I was there…in the moment totally!!

The feeling personified the last day when I was standing in front of about 100 villagers, talking to them about how we can together create a change and I could see that I really did not had to take any efforts, the conversations were just flowing. And Yes!! That day there was a feeling of satisfaction, fulfillment, and joy that my belief got reinforced – Yes I do belong here!!!

And right now, after the program I am feeling deeply committed and motivated. I know I can and I will be a part of the change that we all are working to create there!

As I close my eyes I see – Anshu (the little girl I met in Paliya), Avanish, Rangoli, Bhabhi, Aarti, Ankit, Mangoli and many such wonderful people, gathered in front of Masterji’s house, giggling and playing games. 

What brings smile on my face is to see Udit, Sudha, Praneet and my other fellow changeagents around and what makes my eyes sparkle is to see a big soulful smile on Prakhar’s face :-)!

Feel blessed and grateful to Gramya Manthan, to Prakhar, Kishan, Shubha, Neeraj, Sanjiv Bhaiya, Rajiv Bhaiya for being part of such a memorable experience, to my fellow change agents for the love that you gave and to the existence for the experiences that I experienced!!

There is no looking back now…the dawn is finally here!!! 

Friday, June 29, 2012

Miracle, Wonder, Mystery!!

In last two days what I experienced in nothing short of a miracle. Couple of days ago, while in Kanpur I was feeling a bit depressed & uneasy. I wasn’t really sure why I was feeling that but I really wanted to return home at the earliest. I had no confirmed ticket to come back and hence on the morning of 27th, I was mentally prepared that I will travel unreserved as it’s just the matter of 24 hrs. So many conversations back & forth, within and also with people around! How will I go, Its Uttar Pradesh! Should I take a flight? Should I wait one more day? Should I go to Delhi and try train ticket from there? But the inner voice was constant – I will board the train from Kanpur in the afternoon and will reach somehow! I did not panic and neither was I worried (here goes the first miracle:-p)

So we reached the station ~11.45 a.m and realized our train was about an hour late. My friend had to change the boarding so we started to visit different offices to check as to how we can do that. As always we were made to go from one person to another with no proper direction. After resting for a while, I told my friend to wait and I decided to go alone to figure out something. While walking on the platform, I took a deep breath and started thinking positive. Suddenly I saw I was in front of the ‘Head TT’ office. I went inside & explained him both of ours problem and he readily agreed to help both of us. He called an office in Jhansi and spoke to him about the change in the boarding and when my train came, he allotted me a confirm 

Words failed to express how amazingly awesome I felt!! He truly was an angle sent by the Universe!
Aren’t the ways of universe so mysterious to make you realize how beautiful life is!! Just two days ago I was feeling sad and was thinking how fate never favors me & then this happens! Again reminding me of how nothing in this life is permanent and how one will receive generosity in the most unexpected ways and at the most unexpected timesJ And in such times, being grateful for the experiences makes life blissful & blessed!!