Pumped up by all the ‘gyan’ of hiding hand, budgeting, and theory of change, I reached Raipur after a 20-hour excruciatingly long journey from Delhi, ready to bring about a change. One of my colleagues had come to pick me up, we went to the guesthouse and she told me to come to the office next day at 10 am.
So, there I was, clad with jhumkas and a nice Kurti, ready for my first day at the office. I was excited as well as nervous. There were hundreds of thoughts racing through my mind. “How will the people be like?” “What if they don’t like me?” “Will I be able to adjust here?” “Oh god, was this a mistake?” On reaching the office, I was greeted by a colleague. She was friendly and made me feel very comfortable. She introduced me to other people and they were also very warm. Then I thought “Okay, so this isn’t so bad. You will be fine here.” The first week just flew away while learning about the work, about the organization, and about the projects. Meanwhile, I found a decent PG. I was finally settling in. Then I researched about the things to do in the city but all my excitement went down the gutter when I came to know that there’s nothing much except for a lake (which is called “Marine Drive” of Raipur) and about 8 malls. After having lived in Delhi where there were so many places to visit, this was disappointing. But hey, at least I am not in a rural setting like some of my co-fellows where there is nothing to do. So, no complaints there.
This was the time I started missing my co-fellows after my initial excitement about the new job and the new city fizzled out. I didn’t realize that I made such wonderful friends over a course of just 20 days. This was also the time when I started catching up with my old friends and told them what I was doing. Most of them were very supportive but I also got reactions like “Tu Delhi se Chhatisgarh ku chali gyi?” “Tu MBA kar le, kahan social sector ke chakkar me lagi hai?” “There’s no money in this sector. How are you going to survive?” Trust me, braving these questions was no less than a herculean task.
From binge watching all the seasons of Gossip Girl to immersing myself in reading novels, I tried to brave boredom and loneliness. Then I got to know that another fellow has also been transferred to Raipur. This meant there would be someone I could talk to about the fellowship journey. Recently, we went on a trip to Jagdalpur with another fellow, Sanjana who had come all the way from MP to visit us. The waterfalls were just amazing and I fell in love with Chhatisgarh.