The penultimate day in the season of internal realisation.

Filling up the canvas of our life with colours is majorly our life’s goal – and I seem to have added a few bright & cheerful colours on my life’s canvas in these past few months, especially the last one month.

And today, being the closing day for the grand celebration of a cause we were working on since months, it becomes an even more emotional day to pen down my thoughts. To pen down my journey through & with India, as much as I’ve covered in this past one month.

We started working on the National Volunteering Week way back in mid-2013, looking at a grand vision of how it would touch the lives of millions of people & how they would celebrate the ethos of volunteering. At times losing faith & at times regaining that faith well. Meetings in Mumbai, Bangalore & Delhi, numerous calls to the task force members we work with all across the country, even more numerous discussions that I had with the brilliant team working on the cause of Volunteering in India@75 – we had been everywhere to make it happen in the best possible way we could. Yes many sleepless nights, many late mornings (something that I’ve received a lot of feedback on :P ) and many many highly motivated days! Days that I could see the positivity in the country, the passion of people who wanted to bring about change in the country. And days when you came to terms with the reality of India. The common man and his issues.

I extended this experience by also choosing to go on the Jagriti Yatra. A journey all through India with 450 bright people. Young motivated souls who wanted to bring about change in the country in whatever capacity they could. Entrepreneurs who were already doing some amazing work in each of their ecosystems.

The experience was enriching. Yes, I did identify a bit with the real India – Bharat as they say.

As rightly said by Dr. S. Arvind from Arvind Eye Care in Madurai, the Yatra will sink in slowly. The whys will be answered with time. And truly as and how I get back to my regular work schedule, I do feel there’s a difference in the way I see things. I’m more conscious of the fact that there are people around who are yet to have basic amenities in life, yet surviving. People who aren’t as blessed but still living life without grudges. People who are doing such great work, yet not too vocal about it since they believe in the cause than their publicity. People who are doing such excellent work even without branded degrees or formal education. And all of this combined with those numerous youngsters around who have that crazy passion to do something grand – that energy is infectious!

The Yatra has at times made me question myself. The pompous me has actually not done enough to be so satisfied and boastful. My resume – if that is how I measure myself – is insignificant in the view of the many I’ve met of my age. I’ve still a long way to go compared to the numerous many who are doing brilliant work.

The journey made me realise the power of collaboration. It made me realise that we don’t question much. It made me realise that there ACTUALLY are two faces to this country. A Bharat & An India.

But above all it made me realise the huge potential the current generation has. The capability it has to spearhead the nation into becoming the next super power. To make it into a country our forefathers always had been dreaming for us.

And I gained faith that this dream isn’t far from becoming a reality. Though a lot is still to be done.

Coming back from this country wide exposure to a National Campaign that I left mid-way to the rest of my team, yes it took time to adjust back to the craziness. But the Week has been fun!

Though my family does keep on reminding me that I’m as vella as I was before inspite of a national campaign going on, I would give this credit to my Committee’s Chairperson, Bhairavi Jani, who so meticulously planned everything that we weren’t stressed about anything through the Week. A smooth way through.

The Week again was a realisation & with all the drama happening all over the country, this was more of an internal realisation.

The joy of seeing so many people doing volunteering activities, serving whoever they could. The joy of seeing the kids who were given mid-day meals in schools by volunteers. Volunteers clearing up places in remote villages. Camps/volunteering activities being organised in Srinagar – despite the bitter cold. Organ donation camps with even the organisers wanting to do it more often. Brilliant thoughtful activities like medical camps for birds during Makar Sakranti as they get injured due to kite flying. The enthusiasm of people is heartening, the many millions who went out & took part in the volunteering activities in their cities – from North to the South to the East & the West – everywhere!

And the best moment each day for me has been while plotting all of those activities for the day on the map of India! The satisfaction of seeing it & telling myself – yes some good must have happened & we have touched almost each state of the country. And given the fact that people from even outside the country want to volunteer for India – makes me even more glad.

The journey of 8000 kms across the country, the joy of making some great new friends, the experience of working for months on a national campaign, the privilege of working with an excellent Chairperson – who motivates you great loads, the blessing of a great platform & a brilliant team, the opportunity to interact with leaders who want to bring change in the country, the God’s gift of having a best friend who actually became the first volunteer (Ananya Narain) and came to work each day of this winter for the campaign (especially while I was away on the Yatra), and the 115 million people we reached out to during the National Volunteering Week. A start to my year I could never have imagined.

And though many would be ready to tell me the other side to all of this – I see hope. And as my Chairperson said, “Fortunately or unfortunately you are born in this place which at times looks like a mess. But it is also us who’ll have to clear our mess, no one else will – so why wait ?”. I’ve starting doing my bit, in whatever little I can. Whether anyone else believes or not, I’ve seen atleast a few individuals change, who are now socially more aware.

One of them is me.

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