Monthly Archives: February 2015

Jagriti Yatra | D +8 & D +9

Day 9 (01.01.2015) Have I ever imagined, me celebrating new year’s eve by dancing with couple of steps I ever know (one of it is, just put your hands up in the air step), in a train compartment filled with awesome people. But that’s what happens when you in Jagriti Yatra. What makes it more awesome is, attending two parties in the same night.

The first one was in our AC Chair Car. Music systems were set up in both our chair cars and we yatris danced to glory, few even danced standing up on the seats. We welcomed the New Year with a conventional count-down  and cake cutting (again lucky enough to get a piece 😀 ).

The second one was a privileged private party thrown by my friend Aswin Yogesh. He made his section of the bogie a highly restricted zone and allowed only a very few guests. My luck, I end up being his UNINVITED guest (He doesn’t want me talk about his INVITED guest). Aswin being an incredible host, made the party super fun. He used SOS feature in mobile flashlights to create Disco Lights (Didn’t I say you, he is one intelligent fellow nu) which added an awesome feel to the party. He and Emmanuel played cool numbers and then it was all dancing, dancing and dancing. All the fun came to an end around 2 AM, when we were strictly instructed by Aswin to head straight to our berths and sleep.

It doesn’t matter how late you sleep the last night, but you wake up early and be ready to board down the train when it stops in the station. But, We weren’t going anywhere today and will be    We won’t be visiting any role models today and spend all time relaxing in the train. For next couple of days, we will be involved in Biz Gyan Tree (BGT), which is a business plan exercise.

The objective of the Biz Gyan Tree is to provide training to the entrepreneurial youth in making enterprise plans suited to the ‘Middle India’ (smaller towns & villages).

Day 10 (02.01.2015) We got down at Rajgir station and reached Nalanda Ruins, our first destination for the day by bus as usual. I felt blessed to be there, to be in the ruins of one of the oldest universities in world. I wished those walls gets life and tell us all the things that they have listened from the scholars who studied there. We also had a guide, Mr Kamala Singh who told us the history and significance of the university. We also had an awesome meditation session lead by one of our facilitators Mr Sandeep.

From there, we reached International Convention Centre for our Experts Sessions. Few topics like Customer Evaluation, Financing, Technology, etc. where discussed by resource persons on the board. We also had Dr. Gopa Sabharwal, Vice Chancellor of Nalanda University to talk about Nalanda University and its new campus which is being built. She also read, Nobel Laureate, Dr. Amartya Sen‘s letter to the yatris, who is also the current Chancellor of the university. In between all these sessions, our official photographer Pradnyesh Molak a.k.a Saaku managed to click a huge awesome group pic with all the yatris in an Open Air Theatre at the Convention Centre. That’s all for the day, again, as usual we pack and back into our train heading toward our  next destination.

That, Awesome Group Pic

That, Awesome Group Pic

To Be Continued …

Jagriti Yatra | D +7

Day 8 (31.12.2014) My morning started with searching for my lost tooth brush for quite some time, which was lost forever. By the time I got ready and just managed to gargle with fellow yatri’s mouthwash, We were informed that we were nearing our destination for the day. By the time we finished our breakfast, we were at Brahmapur,Odisha (a.k.a Berhampur) railway station.

As usual we board our busses, this time we were headed to Mohuda village, where our role model of the day is located. The climate was awesome that day, I think it just stopped raining, but it was still breezy and drizzling, just felt light moving through those country roads. Shortly, we reached Gram Vikas office.

‘Gram Vikas’ which literally means ‘village development’ is a non-governmental organization that works with rural and tribal communities in India & Africa. Gram Vikas partners with rural-communities to address their critical needs of education, health, safe drinking water, sanitation, livelihoods and alternate energy in a manner that is sustainable, socially inclusive, gender equitable and empowering. source :

We are lucky enough to have Mr Joe Madiath, Founder of Gram Vikas to address us. He is one, who spent most his life towards bringing safe water and basic sanitation to the needy. He also strongly advocate against open defecation and helped many villages to build toilet on their own through Gram Vikas. Inspiring isn’t it. His, below ted video might inspire you more.

Post lunch, we visited a nearby village, But couldn’t look around due to the weather and time constraints. Then, we headed to Gram Vikas Kerandimal M.E school, as the name implies, it’s a school run by Gram Vikas itself. After a brief introductory session about the school, the kids presented us an awesome cultural show, filled with songs and dances. While evening tea and snacks was served, few of us played with the kids on the playground and I decided to roam around the school. I randomly entered their art room and was amazed to see what those kids were into. They were painting fabulous posters and greeting cards to welcome the new year. Out of the room, I bumped into Mr Joe Madiath himself. As I was aware that he was an alumnus of Loyola College, I asked him about his life at Chennai and he surprised me with “Eppadi Irukeenga, Tamil Konjam Konjam Theriyum” (How are you, I know Tamil a bit) in his broken Tamil.

That’s for the day, back to the bus and then back to the station. I also managed to get a new replacement for my lost toothbrush few meters away from the station :p. The day isn’t over yet as you think, It’s the new year eve and we did celebrate and had lots of fun. To know how, wait for my next post.

To Be Continued…

Jagriti Yatra | D +6

Day 7 (30.12.2014) The day started relaxing, as we were informed that we would be reaching our destination only post afternoon. I spent most of time talking to the fellow yatris and in my favorite time pass, looking out of the train window. We were passing through coastal areas and the scene outside was amazing, I sighed, thinking how demographically and geographically diverse INDIA is. Around evening we reached Visakhapatnam (a.k.a Vizag) one of the prominent port cities in India.

Our Role Model of the day was The Akshaya Patra Foundation an NGO which tries to fight issues like hunger and malnutrition. By implementing the Midday Meal Scheme in the Government schools and Government aided schools, they aim not only to fight hunger but also to bring children to school. We had Mr Satya Gaura Chandra Dasa, one of the  directors of the Akshaya Patra to address us about the organization. One could be easily deceived by his spiritual look, but he speaks quality, logistics, finance, etc. like a real management person. It’s true that they have the heart of an NGO but work like a corporate. After the brief speech, a few yatris are lucky enough to visit their semi automatic kitchen which cooks food for 1000s of school children everyday and others like me couldn’t make it due to time constraints. Very Inspiring.

Our next stop was Vizag Seaport Cargo handling facility, Where we were explained about the port operation by it’s officials. What happened next was something we never expected, something that never happened in that port premises. Songs were played and we all danced, sincere thanks to one of our yatri, whose dad holds a key position in the port. After having our dinner there, we head back to our moving home, The Jagriti Express, Headed straight to our next destination.

To Be Continued…