First 30 Days – Confessions About Learning And Struggles

Karl Wilhelm said Irony is a form of paradox. The paradox is what is good and great at the same time. Often it is a form of wisdom but often it is the sheer creation of our brain. Life keeps giving you a lot of sugar and raspberries and lemons at the same time, and one such sweet and salty phase is what I am in right now, credits to my fellowship.

In my last reflection post, I wrote of how small incidents lead to big impact and training with India Fellows 2016 Cohort proved it correct. Now was the time we took the road less taken, where you might be alone and lost for a while but the destination is what will keep you going. The goodbye hugs & tearful partings with our co-fellows who had turned into close friends, pooled  in with the excitement & nervousness of joining our host organization started.

Luckily for me, I had some company, a solo-traveler-writer and a smart-witty-lucknawi girl. A thousand questions, dilemma, and excitement kept me awake the whole time during our overnight journey to Indore-The Street Food Capital of India. If there was one key thing which was taught to us during Induction was – patience and not-giving-up and as expected the first two weeks went by trying to decode the area, work & the places around with my co-fellows.

Then came the dreaded third week where I had to actually live alone : be alone, all on my own. And it came all of a sudden, a shocker to me and it was all getting interesting pretty fast.

“A girl who had never stayed away from home was lonely in a big house-cum-office – a small room on the terrace.”

In midst of all the new experiences, I went through a talk by Roberta Bonrad where she said “How do we know its good enough? It’s all constrained by the known. How do you prepare yourself for the unknown?”

Yes, that is what was my underlying fear – How do you prepare yourself for the unknown? Trying to find solace from everyone & everything around me (from reciting Hanuman Chalisa (loudly) to watching  Modern Family and Friends throughout the night) with consoling words by my co fellows “Agar pehla mahina nikaal liya toh tu set hai what started out as an initiative to help & motivate people around became a task of my own.

And then again I read something which made me realise I was not alone “You all have a little bit of I want to save the world, that’s why you are here, but I want you to know that it’s okay if you only save one person , & it’s okay if that one person is YOU.”

Family & friends become your anchor – but for how long can you hold on to the anchor? You need to find your way amidst people and through your own struggles. The meltdowns in between trying to put up a brave face with fleeting thoughts & new learning from my recent village visits & interactions made me realize a common human tendency (trait) about people – They tend to stay where they feel the most secure.

Getting out of your comfort zone is what makes you feel the most vulnerable and alive at the same time. And here I was, away from where I had my sense of belonging-ness, to explore an uncharted territory and for what – New Learning.

And indeed every day of life is full of exhilarating things. From the week in dense forest areas of Maharashtra in heavy rain on a motorbike to small tribal villages in Madhya Pradesh on a scooty, from the faces of those hard working women who take out time to understand what Self Help Groups are to those villagers who give us a ‘Who are you?’ look, from those negative views about our SHG program and approach will not work to the immense confidence and belief of my mentor about its importance & value addition talks, from those late night research and reading sessions to create simplest and easiest ways to make women feel motivated to those cooking sessions with my friends, from walking around villages in my pyjamas to having a skype rakhi – I am living it all.

And these experiences are my companions in my exploration of a journey called life. Well then do you get by? There’s no answer to that and I am living it one day at a time…

SHG 2

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