Monthly Archives: March 2015

Jagriti Yatra | D +12

Day 13 (05.01.2015) The cold wind woke me up, bypassing those sealed (with duct tape) windows of the compartment, thick blanket and my multilayered clothes. And, that’s how winter of the north hits you. My mouth almost became numb when I gargled after brushing my teeth, the water was that cold. Howover, I took my version of ice bucket challenge that day, actually it’s ice water bucket challenge and that’s the most refreshing bath in my whole life ūüėõ . Cups of hot tea save me that morning, thanks to pantry car anna.¬†When the train stopped, we were at Delhi Safdarjung station, OMG the capital of INDIA. From where we moved to IIT Delhi for a series of panel discussions. And, Here comes the unusual twist in the story, me and my friends¬†decided to cut the sessions and roam around Delhi, because¬†Yeh Dilli Hai Mere Yaar, Bas Ishq Mohabbat Pyaar (This is Delhi, my friend, there is just love here) ūüėõ .

We chose to visit¬†QutubMinar¬† as it’s near to IIT Delhi. No wonder why its an¬†UNESCO World Heritage Site, It’s such a massive ancient structure. We enjoyed going around and clicking pictures. As usual our group’s official photographer CEO Charen clicked some awesome pics. By then, it was afternoon and we were terribly hungry. We had some dhaba style non-veg food as veg food for past 12 days bored us.

Back to IIT Delhi, we realized that Kiran Bedi is one of the panellist along with Rajendra Singh Pawar (Co-Founder, NIIT), Kishore Jayaraman (President ,Rolls-Royce India & South Asia) and Rajan Anandan (Head, Google India) in the panel discussion and we missed it . From there we reached GOONJ.

¬†GOONJ (means an echo) a multi award winning social enterprise focused to work on ignored basic needs like clothing, sanitary pads for village and slum India while changing the dynamics of giving & receiving with dignity. Using the city‚Äôs discard GOONJ is fueling widespread development work across village India. Over the last 14 years it has built a network of channels from urban to village India, channelising clothes & other household material to reach people in most far flung areas. Turning city‚Äôs discard into currency for rural development work, GOONJ has innovatively catalyzed what is threatening to be an environmental disaster & taken the pressure off monetary inputs for wide ranging rural development. ¬†–¬†http://goonj.org/

It’s said “Picture speaks more than words”, how about a Video?. The following video is a Talk by Anshu Gupta, Founder of Goonj talking about it at NASA, think it’s far¬†better than me writing about it.

We too had a similar thought provoking talk by him. We also had stalls,where we could buy Goonj products and old books. Then, we were taken to their Processing Centres. It’s really amazing to see, the things which are considered waste and are¬†disposed¬†by urban population is being converted into useful products that would empower rural population. We saw old clothes being transformed into sanitary pads¬†(MyPad), bags, purses¬†and other articles. They also segregate old books; children books are sent to rural schools and the others are sold at a discounted price to raise fund for the organisation. Visiting Goonj really changed my perspective, I could no longer see¬†anything as ¬†waste, not even a piece of paper.

It was already midnight when we were back at station. Our dinner was on the platform, then we boarded back our train and the journey continues.

To Be Continued …

Advertisements

Jagriti Yatra | D +10 & D +11

Day 11 (03.01.2015) By the morning, we were instructed to board down the train with a set of clothes, sleeping bag and any other that would keep you out of cold. Because, It’s going to be a night out. When the train stopped, we were at¬†Deoria Town,¬†Uttar Pradesh. It was such a sound welcome at the station, with all those big drums and dholaks. And, few yatris like me who look up for a chance to dance would have never missed it.

From there we moved to Barpar Village by bus through all those country roads surrounded by green and fog, such a bliss. The sound welcome continued¬†with our arrival at the village too, as instructed, we guys¬†headed to a village school and girls ¬†to the villagers house to park our luggage, cos that’s where we would be spending our night.

We spent the 1st half of the validating our business plan for Biz Gyan Tree exercise, for which we went around the village interviewing people. Sai of our team came up with an idea based on a mobile library for school children, so we split ourselves into teams so that we could cover the maximum possible. I had Divya to help me to bridge the huge language gap. We went around and interviewed few kids and parents, I even borrowed cycle from a little fellow and rode on the village roads. It was such an awesome experience.

Post lunch, we sat up as a team and did our brainstorming. Then, we listed out key points and prepared charts for our presentation.The JY team gave us a huge surprise to us that day, They got a stone tablet placed in the village with all yatris names inscribed on it. By late evening, we end up presenting our idea to the panel and we did it well. Rest of the evening was all fun, few yatris gave awesome performances, ranging from singing, dancing to poetry. You might have had a DJ night in a club or in a pub, how about one in middle of a typical Indian village, and that was happened next. We all danced to glory (watch the below video yourself), I danced so much that I was soaked in sweat, even in that cold climate. Every fun got wrapped up just before midnight and I spent rest of the night in the school warming myself by the campfire.

Next day, Day 12 (04.01.2015) started with a visit to 200 year old banyan tree. walking through all those awesome sugarcane fields. And, It’s the one which got symbolized in the Jagriti Yatra Logo. We had a good photo session by Charen, clicking pics by the tree and by the near by mustard field filled with beautiful yellow flowers. It was already afternoon while we are back to the village, as instructed we packed our bags, and back to our busses after the lunch.¬†Though the bus journey was long, It was also fun with Vidya and Manikandan singing tamil songs all the way, which might have irritated others on board.¬†After couple of hours of travel by bus, we reached Gorakhpur railway station and board our train back, and the journey continues.

One thing I learnt is,  value of the things which I take for granted. The things which are very basic for us like water, electricity, sanitation, health,education, Etc. are actually luxury for many. The things which we have in plenty are sparse and scarce for many. So,we better use it wise.

To Be Continued …