“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.”
I am sitting in mud staring at a bee box, wondering why the queen bee is not laying eggs. It’s been almost 2 weeks since the queen bee mated. I am not crazy.
A part of my job at UTMT (Under The Mango Tree) is to ensure all bee boxes are in healthy shape. I live in a small block level town where I work with a farming community. I didn’t choose to be here, but on a lot of days I am glad that I am. As part of this fellowship, I got placed with an organization that does some really interesting work; Beekeeping with farmers. But how did I end up here? What were the decisions that I took in the last few years that made me apply for this fellowship? Or was it just by chance? Let’s track backwards.
In October 2015, I left for a 3 month long backpacking trip around South India with no purpose other than to just experience a side of my country I had never seen before. I ended up volunteering at a farm, a surf school and a rehabilitation centre. Besides having an amazing time, these places assured me that I enjoyed learning through real life educational experiences. I realized that surfing, building a road, farming or cooking were some things that one could learn only by doing. There was no right time to learn them. This is how I could lead the next few years of my life. Or at least the next year. At that point in time, India fellow seemed the best possible extension of my thought process. It promised to serve the purpose. But how did I know there existed such a fellowship?
On a Sunday in the summer of 2015, two new faces showed up to slack-line with our community in Delhi. One of them was Adarsh, an outdoorsman with a humble nature. His ability to remain calm yet have a great time on a slack-line was awe inspiring. We became friends instantly. As we slowly got to know each other, I found out he spent a year working in Odisha and Maharashtra with tribal communities as part of a fellowship. It seemed really interesting, but I didn’t know if it was for me. It was only 6 months later that I realized it might be a good way to spend a year. Would I have met Adarsh anywhere else?
In 2010, my elder brother went to Europe for his masters. It was there that he got introduced to the world of outdoor sports; climbing, slack-lining, snowboarding and running. All of these became a big part of his life. Sitting thousands of miles away, I could only hear his stories. I was keen to try some of it out. Fortunately, I found an amazing slack-lining community in my city. Over the course of 2 years, it became a big part of my life. Would I have met Adarsh if not for this slack-lining community? I think not. Maybe India Fellow wouldn’t have happened. I wouldn’t have been worried about keeping bee colonies alive in a tribal belt of Madhya Pradesh. But I am, because it all worked out for the best. Mother, if you are reading this, those weekends I spent slack-lining are why I am here.