How Starting At Young Age Helps & Shapes You ?

11:31 AM

How Starting At Young Age Helps & Shapes You ?

Back in 2011 when I was just a graduate figuring out what exactly I should get into, I came across a wonderful opportunity. I always have been  passionate about doing something bigger than myself. I was learning to drive when this opportunity came across and I immediately said yes and of course left the driving school on the very next day and joined State Resource Centre , Shimla. Which gave me the opportunity to work indirectly with Human Resource and Development Ministry. I am sharing this because so many of my juniors keep asking me how come I work in different cities and travel a lot. Well, here is a simple answer - You have to work dude, I can't not sugar coat the words so telling you exactly the way it works. Just be open and keep experimenting and trying. If 10 things don't work out 11th will, all you need to do is never give up. Don't stay in comfort zone, you will never grow. 

About the Project 

I learned so many things on the job. So don't ever worry if you don't know certain things, just be open to learn and grow. I worked on a project called  Saakshar Bharat with State Resource Center Shimla. While working on documentation of the project I got a chance to interact with those people who had never been to school especially women who got chance to study because of this project. Women were not only happy after getting literate but there was a sense of achievement and doing something different in them.

You Will Have Stories To Tell 

Women used to study at a literacy center. I was supposed to document some of the success stories. I have so many stories to tell,  let me start with Leela Devi.  Leela Devi , a 48 year old woman from Chamba (Himachal Pradesh) told me that  she was so happy because she gets to step out of her  house, making new friends and her world is getting bigger. She also told me that she feels so happy that she comes to literacy center. Not  only she studies but also talk to women and they share the stories with each other.
Education is luxury for them and thinking about that made me feel really sad. Imagine you are not being able to read or write till the age of 40 or so, how suffocating is that?

What did I learn ? 

I felt so small in front of these women who were managing so many lives yet so beautifully. I learned that if you are self dependent you don't have to put up a face to entertain people, you don't have to depend on others financially.
During my field visits to Chamba, I stayed with these women for 10 days for monitoring the computer based literacy camps & document stories. I stayed in a stranger's house named Guddi Devi who was also there in literacy centre. I pushed and requested team back in Shimla to ask local women that if I can stay with them, I really wanted to listen their stories and be with them all the time while I document their stories. For me it was not just a job, I had my own interest to see them managing everything at home and yet making it to the literacy centre everyday.

When I stayed with Guddi Ji everyone in the family  treated me like a family member which I could feel. Her daughters are still in touch and many other people who were part of this project.

What To Do When You Are Stuck With Strangers ?

During one of my field visit I got stuck in a place due to snow fall. This time I was with the team and we again stayed at a stranger's place. No cell phone, no laptop and ofcourse no electricity. Mr. Minhas who was retired from education department accommodates almost 10 people in his home. For 3 days we did nothing , but tried to know  each one in the group and family we were staying with. Mr. Minhas became Minhas uncle in few day,  and the way he hosted us will stay with me forever.

My believe in humanity and kindness grew stronger. I have so many stories from this project that can not be written in one blog post. But the motive is to tell everyone out there that come out of your comfort zone. It is okay if you are the only one doing something differently in your group or college. Don't quit  before even trying. I met so many amazing people because of the difficult projects I took up and kept moving forward. Being stuck with Strangers has made me a stronger and more open person.
And that particular event has taught me so many things. Now, I find it easier to talk to strangers, this also taught me to find happiness in little things in life. People , their stories and the relationship building became more important for me. These were the years which were shaping me into the person I am today.

I was on my own in an unknown place and I gave my heart to this place and its people. Had I not said yes to this opportunity it wouldn't have been possible to go forward in life and dream big.
I want all girls & boys to know such nice people and spend time with them once in lifetime and get out of your comfort zone . We used to cook together, laugh together and share stories of respective families.

Apart from documentation, I learned to celebrate life and I realized I  want to learn , grow, meet new people and  tell  stories all my life.
What shaped you in a person that you are today? Share in the comment section below.
Cheers !!!

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