I’ve just returned home after a 15 days train journey across 10 states of India, called Jagriti Yatra.
The last few days have been eye-opening.
The journey has shown me how our meagre ‘struggles’ like not finding a clean toilet or water disconnection is an everyday lifestyle of majority of India.
It has shown me how Digital India dreams and reports with fancy stats of mobile penetration in rural India is an exaggeration based on which we are creating mobile apps, because most places rural India don’t even have basic mobile network connectivity to start with. (I remember a certain banyan tree where we had to walk since it was the spot where people in Rajgir, Bihar would get connectivity to make a call)
It has shown me how India now needs more doers than NGOs. And how we need to stop using ‘donations’ as a way to free ourselves from the guilt of not being able to do anything for someone but instead indulge in little activities in our capacity that can create a sustainable dent in someone’s universe.
It has made me realize how being a ‘foodie’ is not the tag I should be sportingly carrying anymore in a country where a farmer ‘needs’ cheap alcohol to put him/her to sleep because it is practically impossible for him/her to sleep with that physical, emotional and mental pain after a day’s work otherwise.
It has shown me that India HAS these people who are brewing the story of change for a better nation, solving bigger needs of people like electricity with their small contributions like making spare parts for solar panels. It has shown me that we need more such people.
The journey has questioned me what I can do for people with what I’ve started- Chaaipani. And I sort of have the answer — Celebrating stories of Doers. It has shown me how we can be so much more than a blog with ‘some content’ after seeing happiness on faces of people like Uma and Pooja, who got nominated for BPCL awards and have inquiries from Welspun for financial help after their stories on Chaaipani.
The journey has told me how we are much smaller and much bigger than our degrees, annual CTCs and designations.
The journey has given me amazing friends, unforgettable memories and a ray of hope to see a better India.
To Jagriti Yatra,
Yaaro Chalo :)