As we meet Vikram Seth at our midpoint training fortuitously, he tells us about the origin of the word serendipity, in context to our meeting with him (through which I got his autograph, and I am still startstruck). Anyway, I ponder over this specific word ‘serendipity’. It has its roots in the fairy tale ‘The Three Princes of Serendip’ where heroes made discoveries by accidents. The word denotes discovery of pleasant things that you are not looking for. People who are close to me know that I have been using this word often since I joined the fellowship.

What is serendipity? The chance to join this fellowship and meet an amazing commune of people though you were not on a quest for it. You get a co-fellow in your organisation who supports you through the stressful inflection point, when you felt like giving it all up for the first time. Then you fall in love with Chhattisgarh unexpectedly. You get a chance to live your dream of spontaneous travelling on varied occasions. The chance to see the scenic lush green villages of Surguja. The chance to jump into a lake just because you felt like swimming. The chance to be covered by a blanket of stars without being in Spiti Valley. The chance to be showered with love by a family you just met.  The chance to have two lovely colleagues in your organisation who eventually become your family. The chance to have a yogi, understanding, monkey boss whom you could make fun of and call up when things get out of control. The chance to carve a way out of the initial suffocation, to hold the reins of your life in your hands. The chance to be your own support system when your trust is broken and you hang loose in space. The chance of getting in touch with someone you never thought you will meet again, after six years. The chance to understand why few things happened in your life, which helped you evolve to be the strong person you are today. The chance to learn that tears are not a sign of weakness from your project manager. The chance to accept your emotions and let them pass, without being harsh on yourself. The chance to learn humility simply by the presence of director of your organisation. The chance to retrospect your life in a third person’s perspective and know why you are the way you are. The chance to relax a bit and make peace with uncertainty.

Does it mean I really have the p factor (my term for my luck)? But I have had the misfortune of not getting environment related project in the fellowship which I desperately yearned for. I also had a severe issue of backache that almost crippled me mentally with the trepidation of my body not supporting the free spirit my mind was. I could not visit the bird island despite being in Chilika lake in the migratory bird season, and planning my travel around it. However, I choose to focus on the Irrawaddy dolphins I spotted seven times in the Chilika lake. Yes, I see the world through rose tinted glasses. Yes, I am a dreamer. Yes, I am an irrational optimist. And, I believe in serendipity!

Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.

– Albus Dumbledore


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