I always lived a life of detachment; a life I was interested in but never involved. It seemed like a pretty easy thing to do. Life was planned for me; graduate, get a job; get married; maybe that is the larger picture for most of us without giving much thought to the journey of it.
I joined the fellowship with a sort of renegade, romantic appeal of doing something which no one else in my family did, going out of my comfort zone for the first time and trying to prove a point. But after the completing the journey and going through so much, proving a point doesn’t matter, actually living an involved life matters.
As a communications professional I was more of a general handyman at work with my fellowship NGO in Jharkhand. I learned about development projects, management, implementation & monitoring all the while adding my expertise of communications with it. It took me about four months to get the hang of the sector and the work and over a year to adjust to the rural lifestyle.
Initially it felt strange as how in Mumbai a cocktail cost me Rs.400 and the same amount meant the world to a rural household fighting an illness. But it made me realize how much more privileged I am, inspite of my cribbing, I am well-off than 750 million other Indians who struggle to make ends meet and have a dignified life. It also made me realize the influence I can make within my means, to help achieve opportunities to those who are in desperate need of it. This journey made me humble and built a sense of empathy which I never thought I could relate to.
This fellowship is like the great Morpheus of Matrix said, made of a blue pill and a red pill. “You take the blue pill, the story ends. You wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill, you stay in wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.” This is your life and the choices you make. Click on the apply button and live an involved life with the greater part of India.
Pooja is an ICICI Fellow and has spend 2 years working with an NGO in Jharkhand.