My past 20 years has mostly been spent in a semi-urban area; school days passed without having much knowledge and exposure about the outside world. I always wanted to travel India and sink myself in the curiosity underlying in my deep emotional trench of knowing about, what’s going on outside. But I never really had this opportunity until; I got selected for the Yatra. I would really call myself to be lucky to have fulfilled my deep lying wishes, by being a part of the 15 day memorable odyssey, the name by which people in India and outside call it as Jagriti Yatra – Awakening the Entrepreneurial spirit!
Jagriti Yatra is a 15 day national odyssey, an initiative by Jagriti Sansthan. One travels across the length and breadth of the country on a train, covering 9000kms alongwith 450 very passionate and enthusiastic people. Yatris meet many inspiring role models, who have been able to create an impact in the society by carving out their own enterprises and organizations. The 2012 yatra was focused on seven different verticals – Education, Healthcare, Agriculture, Manufacturing, Energy, Water and Sanitation, Tourism and three horizontals – Information communication and Technology (ICT), Financial Services, Public Private Partnerships (PPP).
It’s a journey for those, who feel choked with the conventional rules plaguing the entire society. It’s an exposure to the grassroot level reality, much different than what we see around us in the towns and cities or what we assume to be happening outside. It’s a journey to identify the existing gaps in the society and come out with an idea, which one is passionate about to work for and build upon the success of the same. It’s a journey to find out, who we really are and what really matters the most in our life.
The real time learning was not just from the 20 odd role models I came across as a Yatri. Every individual onboard had a story to say, each one either had been able to attain a distinction in life by following personal values while, there were some real time setbacks, which were conquered by the hard headed people and thus, emerged as victors.
I would like to mention some of them. A guy named Akram Feroze – at the first sight, he appears to be a normal jubilant guy having an ordinary life. But, hearing him the way he had lived his past days was surprising. He has been hitchhiking and cycling India for the last 500 days. With no professional qualification or any family income, he survives his life by doing any odd job that comes his way with the locals. His purpose – He, through his Cycle Natak (https://www.facebook.com/TheCycleNatak), wants to take old traditional theatrical performance and plays to people across India. And he says, this is what he also plans to do in the coming days to really understand the nature and what his purpose is!
A girl form IIT B quit her posh management consulting job in an MNC after working for two years and has started her own handicraft and art based enterprise, with a vision to preserve them and also create wealth for the rural women by making them the art stakeholders. A girl, that too from an IIT background; any family in the middle class would consider to be all set for the girl. But, she was determinant and insistent on starting of her own.
There were many such examples, where people had done things which could amaze you and make you stand with the achievements they had in their life. A girl named Masha nazeem (http://www.mashanazeem.in) – just a third year engineering student. But, with her simple observations and applying ordeal solutions to the problems, she has mad the life easier for many. The testimony to her spirit and fat innovations lies in the fact that, she has been able to bag till date 2 global, 5 national and 2 Presidents awards. With such personalities on board, one always has learning nodes around and this is what makes the yatra even more productive.
Stay in the yatra; I would say was more of royal nature than just survival. The JY team had taken care of each and every aspect. A bogie had been very innovatively converted into a shower room with hot water supply; there were two separate bogies which were used for serving four time meals a day. Almost, every day, yatris in their co-horts and groups, were asked to present the swot analysis of the different role models and panel discussions we had throughout the journey. For this, two AC chair cars were separately customized, meant for purposes like panel discussions or workshops conducted by the Google or DELL. Security part was given top priority throughout the journey. Each of the bogie was being patrolled by two guards day and night. There were separate women guards for girl’s bogies.
In all, yatra has brought me across some of the most amazing and interesting sides of the life and gave me intense exposure and know – how of different verticals, which are still untapped and with proper planning, one can make fortunes out of them. Networking was other benefit I got from the yatra. I met not only some great personalities and built good know-how, but also, I made some life-long friends, who had similar thought process and open mindedness.
I recommend this yatra to everyone as, the time spent travelling across India, meeting enthusiastic people and doing activities, would bring you out of your existing comfort zone and add many perspectives and dimensions to the thought process. This yatra is a sure way to get the underlying answers, which have been bothering you for long and thus, would help embark you on embarking on the journey lying ahead – entrepreneurial and passionate journey of life!