How do you like silence?
How do you differentiate between absence and emptiness?
How is it to have a room full of children shouting, playing, singing and dancing.
Now, think how it would be to expect this kind of a room and finding nothing inside. I don’t know about you but it scares me.
It’s been two months since I’ve stepped into a whole new world of understanding issues and doing something meaningful in life. But now, it seems like the whole journey of finding meaning is going to be a roller coaster ride of thoughts and emotions with moments of fun, mixed with travels and a lot of me. I face the above mentioned situation several times a day when I visit schools, learning centers and interact with youth in the villages. There are days when students come to primary schools but there are no teachers. In the absence of teachers, the kids go away.
Now if you ask people there, some say that children don’t come and that’s why teachers don’t turn up while others say that it’s vice versa. Who would you blame?
One can easily understand that there is a problem, but how would one figure out where the problem actually exists. Keeping this situation of education in mind, when I walk out to visit learning centers in the villages to see how it is there, I meet a girl around 11 years of age standing on the gate, greeting me with the words, “Good evening Di, welcome to our learning center”.
All of a sudden, my cogitation changes its track and the sanguine part of mine dominates all other feelings as well as thoughts. I become this completely different personality loaded with hope, courage and exultation. With all this, my day ends as I struggle to find equanimity. I go to sleep telling myself that I’ve just begun and nothing will change overnight. But again, the question is how will you gain this equanimity when you get exposed to so much on a single day, that too just in the beginning of your journey.
Everyday, I come across terms like impact, outcomes, priorities, strategies, survey; and feel how great are the initiatives all non-profit organizations have taken worldwide. How wonderful it is to even keep that hope alive, that things will change! How brilliant it would be to then keep believing in what you do, and dedicate your whole life to turn that into a reality. It doesn’t even stop here. It would take so much to work towards a social issue, despite thousands of challenges that come across one’s way. These people who keep doing what they do, to bring change, are phenomenal motivators our world can get. They are perfect examples of courage, enthusiasm, passion and above all patience; the only key to achieve equanimity.
Among the ones I’ve met yet, I’ve learnt a lot from them. Every conversation enlightens something or the other in me and also provides a different perspective on a situation. Their amazing thought process takes me to a world of possibilities and gives a boost to my zeal. For a long time, I didn’t know that people like this exist and they hold the power to change the world.
This year with India Fellow, is more of a reality check for me, where I am being exposed to things I had only known from far away. Be it child labor, child marriages, lack of opportunities among youth, absence of teachers in schools; these are all the things I had read and heard about. But now, I get to see them and with that, I’m slowly learning to keep calm. There are people who have accepted all these problems as their work to arrive at a solution, and interacting with them gives me a clear understanding of how change is a long process.
All the focus should be on making the situation better. Perhaps, that will lead to change. I realize how far I have to go from where I am right now, not just in terms of work but also my outlook on everyday life. At this point, that’s what keeps me going.
Probably, I will soon have the wisdom to not look a problem as a roadblock but as a chance to hope for something new and work towards it. As one of my mentors from the program team had written in an e-mail a few days back, “We are and will be the stories we choose to tell the world, and most importantly, ourselves. Are we the victim or the perpetrator, the hero or the sidekick, the morally just or the street smart, the development professional or the philosopher king? Make sure you do your best and honestly make an attempt to tell your story.”
I don’t know who I will be among all these, but right now I just feel good about sharing my thoughts thinking that they’ll help me complete my story.