Jagriti Yatra – Experience of a lifetime

By Nidhi Nasiar

Gazing out of the window, I see a world of trees and mountains, rivers and valleys, flowers and fruits whiz past me. I barely manage to squeeze my hand out from the horizontal iron bars to feel a gush of wind blow past it as I clench my fist to dearly hold on to the flying moments slipping by. The sceneries are changing at a rapid pace almost merging into one another forming a kaleidoscope of memories knitted together by a tender thread of time, both spent and lost in this breathing, writhing, squirming and rejoicing soul of the Jagriti Yatra Rail.

I sit there spellbound by the expanse of physical, intellectual, emotional and spiritual roller coaster experiences on this yatra which have ended in a blink of an eye. 12 destinations, 15 days, 15 role models, 450 yatris and 8000kms: spanning the potpourri of cultures, knowledge, demography and topography across India.

This minuscule dot in the time frame is spreading swiftly and deeply creating a major impact blotting my life canvas with a motley of colours, much more than years of conventional education and experiential practices. My glorious escapades from the daily habitual routines to this journey gave way to an excavated cavity of untapped potential and newly discovered curiosity in various unchartered domains.
The random ideas substantiated into a tangible business model, multiple sporadic dots could now be connected while some new dots sprang up. The vast exposure offered by the yatra has opened new pathways whose existence I was unaware of, out of the box solutions to the extremely common problems which required a critical point of view to be noticed, sensitivity towards our own roots and much more.

As Shashank Mani beautifully put it, ”Nare nahin lagane, kaam karna hai. ”(We do not believe in shouting slogans but in working towa rds bringing a change). Each yatri resonated his belief as they started on a journey to play their part in building India through social enterprise.

The ignited spark of rebellion to refrain from accepting the existing poor state of Tier 2 and tier 3 districts and taking an initiative of change through feasible and sustainable solutions has been one of the many outcomes in the form of a visible difference after the yatra. The insights from the multiple role models and their journey towards a better India has added fuel to the fire of taking a step towards being the change we want to see in the world. The yatra focused on a plethora of verticals like education, manufacturing, healthcare, sanitation, arts, sports etc. which highlighted the burning issues in the middle of the pyramid, a strata comprising of around 750 million Indians today. An approach to address the problems by following a well-devised step by step business plan from seed funding to the target customers to a revenue model, its sustainability and the impact was learnt and executed in the Biz Gyan Tree Event held at Deoria. The panel discussions leading to open Q/A sessions were particularly successful in resolving the personal queries which were helpful to the masses rather than acquiring only the factual and superficial information about that enterprise.

Inside the train was a different story altogether. A mini India (or a mini world, as we had international participants from various countries) was a dynamic hub of exchange of ideas, cultures, knowledge, habits and skills. It was a molten pot of gold of vibrant activities going on 24*7 between people from rural and urban backgrounds.

Despite having a language barrier they never ceased to dwell on the constructive aura in the train which they could both share and understand.  Presentations on role models enhanced the confidence of many and gave them a platform to thoroughly research the assigned enterprise and brainstorm critically to find flaws in their flourishing existential system. AC chair car sessions held on the train regulated the process of constant unlearning and learning to optimize our limited time together.

The train also provides a few snuggle spots to curl in and zone out in a whirlpool of self-introspection. Recall your day in flashes of important quotes, ideas, new implementation techniques or a way of life. Absorb the impressing novelties all around and let them seep into your blood to become a part of you. Rejoice at the discovery of a new passion in your heart; celebrate the sown seed of curiosity.

The yatra is a parallel universe co-existing in real time, far away from the monotony and comfort of our daily routine of jobs/college etc., uniting each one of us on a common platform to view real India with the tinted glasses of comprehending the difficulties of the masses and coming up with viable solutions in form of a social enterprise for nation building. It stretches us physically, mentally and emotionally to grow our sphere of personal development. Our survival instincts are honed while we manage to live in cramped spaces in motion. We get in touch with ourselves profoundly and wander across unexplored territories of our own heart. The yatra also ensures a lifetime supply of strong alumni network as a backbone. The relations build in the train are gems for life. The laughter and cries, hues and blues in the journey are the jewels embellishing my life for now and ever.

What I take away from the yatra remains ineffable and words cannot do justice to it. It is something I cannot even come close to explaining. You have to experience it to feel it!

With this I bid farewell as the anthem reflecting the spirit of Jagriti Yatra “Yaaron Chalo” reverberates through the huge auditorium when the entire Jagriti family swings in rhythm and coordination, fully charged with overflowing positive energy, with a promise in their heart and determination in their soul to be the change.

We are India, We are change!

Yaaron Chalo!