Jagriti Yatra Day Two: Creating space for each other

It’s the second day at the Jagriti Yatra and it was a hectic day. After getting the train (remember it’s specially designed yo train with bathing bogies, conference room style chair cars, a 24×7 pantry car cooking unexpectedly awesome meals, a small cyber café, a sick bay with six doctors on board) at the platform at two in the morning and settling down saying Merry Christmas to each other, the train moved with a great sense of pride and self belief in all of us.

We already had two great role models telling us about their endeavours in society and it’s sustainability even after years of its execution. We got a feel of what awaited us. I am not a person who sprinkles adjectives nonsensically when I get anything even remotely appealing, so when I say awesome, I seriously mean it and you should understand it would have blown your mind.

You can find about DAY ONE here

Waking up a bit late at around seven we were served bed tea on moving train. Pantry guys and caterers are doing a fabulous job of serving efficiently on a train with 18 bogies with 450 individuals.

There was a long session on what was the agenda, how to work around on train, getting together, listening to problems we had as half of us were called into the chair cars which has a big LCD panel with cameramen working on live feeds being delivered to both the cars as any speaker speaks.

The emphasis, however, was on how to draw our life lines on a chartpaper highlighting the highs and lows of our lives. This was initiated with a view to get to know each of the group members (21 groups of 21 Yatris) in a better way. I shared my story as a volunteer along with a couple of others and people appreciated it. Especially when I told how my college fired me and they were like you deserve better places and let’s have a Kavi Sammelan and listen to your poetry.

I am a facilitator of 13 Yatris which means I am their mentor/guide or elder brother to take care of their worries and ensure they get ample chance to share their views. These small groups are called cohorts and are especially designed to have maximum diversity on the basis of region, background, interest area, educational qualification, religion, nationality, class and work. There are three such cohort with seven person (six Yatris and one facilitator, in my case I have been assigned two cohorts) each which form a group. The third cohort is a female cohort with same amount of diversity.

Our group came and sat together in a compartment to make all of us comfortable and create space where one can pour his/her heart out about their experiences in life with personal highs and lows. I started with my own story to ward off any hesitation that any of the rural background guy could have. However, the guys and girls were really brilliant individuals from different states and as great institutions as IITs and as small as from district colleges or even someone with just a class tenth certificate.

One after another stories started with all the passion, emotion and flavour. Some really great and simultaneously sad. Here is a friend who was separated from his family as a small kid, adopted by some child care home, accepted them as family, then transferred somewhere else, performed in academics only to be denied due to their perception of him as an arrogant rebel, he keeps a straight face, wiping off his tears, fights his way to a Gandhi Fellowship, works for kids in villages and makes an impact in tens of lives.

He wipes his tears and we are happy about it, we don’t see a crying man, we see a person who feels that we are his friends, confides in us, shares his story and we lap him up. Clapping on his journey step by step, his endeavour and spirit if not giving up, his being alone and not being heard… It was a story that said many things to us.

He taught us how to keep calm, how to channel the anger to something good, how to move forward in a system that obstructs your way at every possible step, and overall how to be a rebel with a structure.

I shared his story as it was the most inspiring but that doesn’t mean others were not. I am talking about people who are 22-27 years of age and have already done something for the community.

Beauty of this whole endeavour was having that ear to listen, being calm and asking questions, giving suggestions on their ideas, accepting circumstances as it and trying to look inside if the problems we get into are due to us or is it a godly scheme to frame us in?

Broken Hindi, broken English, broken all languages but all were glued to each other with a tea break, a soup break and dinner. As opposed to other groups who gave a limited time of 15 minutes, I decided to cut them loose, allowed all to speak as long as they want. That meant in almost seven hours only fourteen could speak, some going as long as an hour and beyond.

You won’t find a crowd which is crowd by the number but so attentive, so engaged and so much in to each other that nothing works as a barrier to communication. They just understand each other well and are supportive of each other respecting individual’s limitations and clapping for every single achievement they have.

It is a great way to learn, a way to learn to appreciate, a way to know we can always find solutions in stead of cribbing, a way to bring small change in the community.

There were some breaks for the song and I being a known poet by now, offered to recite some #Haiku in Hindi, explained them a bit of literature and then added some more poems.

Overall, a great day spent, it was all about creating that space where our egos walk aside, where we lend ears to each other, clap to appreciate and suggest to improve.

After all, it takes a hell lot of courage to speak your heart, to tell that you belong to a family where you didn’t have means to study, to tell you are an orphan, to sit together without caring for identities.

#JagritiYatra2013 #LifeLine #JagritiYatraDayTwo


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