By Volunteer Jay Laddha, FHI Ahmedabad
“We are little men serving great causes, but because the cause is great, something of that greatness falls upon us also.”
– Jawaharlal Nehru, 1946
“We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect.”
– Anais Nin, American-Cuban-French diarist
It was my friend and fellow volunteer, Kishan Kevadia, who set me off on the journey, by suggesting I join the NGO, Fly Higher World. It was not long after that, I got the chance to be a part of the blogging team. In a sense, I had earlier also dabbled in literary activities – written pieces for the college magazine, co-edited CA students’ magazine, scribbled ridiculous letters and notes to friends – but now, after quite some time, the very idea of becoming a contributor to a non profits blog instantly fascinated me. I distinctively remember the first article we were assigned was on the topic ‘social evils in our society and how to curb them’. In my eagerness, I went around to ask everyone in the vicinity as to what should I write about; and with this, I got anxious and confused, and out of sheer frustration, I tried to abandon the idea of writing anything, but I did so with the consciousness that I was outraging my nature and that sooner or later I should have to sit down and write something.
It may be remembered I was able to churn out a decent article on the topic assigned and fortunately, continue this habit in the future. With time, I wrote several articles, occasionally made content for the FHI Newsletter, and joyfully read innumerable articles from fellow members. Although it is particularly hard to deliberate why I joined the NGO or began writing for it, yet, at all times, I have been driven by guileless curiosity rather than any pragmatic certainty, by the wish to understand and explore different facets of life rather than the desire to pass spurious judgments.
In September 2020, I got the opportunity to partner with a fellow volunteer and now a good friend, Mitali Kulkarni. In the beginning, we both were unsure about how we should proceed with the article. It was quite exciting to figure out everything in a limited timeframe. After a lot of conversations and considerations, we were able to unveil an amazing article on the topic of ‘mentorship’. The extraordinary thing about Mitali was that along with bringing out new ideas to the table, she also patiently listened and genuinely understood my perspective.
Then, it was in the dreary month of October, I was emotionally, exuberantly, inexplicably, immensely elated when I received a message from Vishal Sir (founder of Fly Higher World) that he liked my articles. I have always found writing an incredibly exhausting exercise and to be able to do something good out of it has been of rudimentary solace to me. Through my amateur, incoherent research and exchanges while writing, I have grown more mature towards numerous problems prevailing in our society and I have come forward to see FHI not just as an NGO, but more of a platform where we can endeavor to bring change on a national as well as global level.
We are all susceptible to easy abstractions about uneasy facts around us. We tend to simplify and try to fit into comfortable categories of the mind the dissonant things that we observe in our day-to-day lives. However, it’s substantially difficult to do the groundwork and fix things from the root level. It is even more difficult in our country, whereof we are faced, many a time, with orthodox, inflexible opinions along with poor systems.
It was way back in February 2020, through an FHI event, I could witness the fantastic work performed by the selfless tribe of volunteers. Aided by a decent Government school in Ahmedabad, we taught children the basics of yoga and meditation and tried to make meaningful conversations with them. This was followed by a couple of fun games, a group painting exercise, and finally, amateurish dancing to the tunes of trending Bollywood songs.
I was amused, in truth, by the love and enthusiasm children showered upon us. Each one of them, unchained from restrictions, blissfully oblivious of biases of caste, creed, or religion, just ventured into activities with colossal energy. It was in these moments I realized if there is one thing that could secure our future, it is vigorous attention to building human capabilities. Through my previous articles also, I have tried to make some general observations from my encounters and the weight of my anecdotal evidence, though susceptible to one’s prejudices and predispositions, seems to point in a clear direction. It may have something to do with technological advancement or better education. But there is a new constructive mindset among the young, and I believe it will increasingly determine our identity and future.