During these past 5 months of the fellowship, there have been times when situations were challenging, adaptability was tough and people were just impossible to handle. All this, I was prepared to handle and was expecting to come across. But I did not expect that situations would petrify me to such an extent that I would not be able to {function normally for some time afterwards}. These situations have led me to compare India Fellow (IF) with Fear Factor (FF) (where I am the only contestant). No, I do not perform any stunts here, but some of these situations, as normal as they seem, scare me.

As our project involved extensive traveling, I had to travel to all the six districts in Rajasthan in which my organisation works, in the first few months. These being the most backward districts of India (and Rajasthan) showed me a different dimension of this princely state. Rajasthan always brought an image of welcoming people and colourful customs, highlighting the tradition of “Padharo Mhare Des”. But a few trips to the market at 7 PM in the “night” changed this whole perception. I remember walking on a deserted road at 6:30 with Rakshita, my co-fellow in a new district, where the only thing to guide us was the light from the passing vehicles’ headlights. Men were sitting in groups at different corners and in galis, leering, passing comments. I still can’t forget how relieved I was when I reached back safe to the guest house at 7. Once inside, I shut all windows and doors and sat in my room thinking what if I didn’t reach back safely.

In the India Fellow interview, I was asked about the one change I would like to see in myself after this one year. My answer was – “I am scared and am not comfortable with change. I’d like to be able to not only accept it, but embrace it.” If I can describe these past five months in one word, then it’ll be – UNCERTAIN. Not knowing in which district I’ll be the next morning or whether I’ll get to stay peacefully in my room, this entire journey has been uncertain. But what’s interesting is my reaction towards this uncertainty. I agree I haven’t been able to embrace it yet, but at least I have started to accept and make my peace with it.

During one of my daily “deep-conversations” with Rakshita, I realised how each of us would have changed after this one year. This led me to ponder how things would change when I come back home. My parents’ routine would’ve changed in my absence. I would’ve changed after this year long journey. I don’t know if it’ll be different to get back to my normal routine. I hope I’ll be able to overcome some of my fears by the end of the fellowship and embrace change, as I had hoped to.


2 thoughts on “IF ~ FF

  1. Hmmm…you might want to consider Swaraj University after the fellowship if that’s your goal. I’m sure you’ve already been introduced to Manish Jain during the induction. I had a similar experience when I first joined MKSS (also in rural Rajasthan). While I won’t say the experience was particularly scary per se, the discomfort was….well, discomfiting. Anyway, best wishes for the remaining 6 months. 🙂


  2. Any thing new ( situation) causes fear, once you start understanding situation, you will create counter measures to adapt. This skill to adapt is one of the benefits of the program….


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