An experience of a lifetime!!!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

I started on the trip to Chennai - a field visit to the various NGO’s as part of our Management of Non-Profit Organizations course – with a light heart, buoyant spirits and a promise to myself that I would have fun these 2 days away from the humdrum of MBA with its assignments, presentations and lectures… but instead what I experienced was the stark reality of life… a 2 day crash course on how the other half of the world lives…

We visited 4 NGO’s in the 2 days… The Banyan – a home for the mentally challenged women, ANEW – an organization that provides training for women in non-traditional employment, Sri Arunodayam – a home for special children and The Kuthambakkam Village – an initiative by Mr.Elango Rangaswamy. All 4 were different yet all were similar..!!! They all worked at the goal of providing services to fellow human beings either by empowering them or by taking care of them!

When we visited The Banyan, I was gripped. The most admirable thing about these people was that they were so courageous to face up to life after the cruel blows it had dealt them. They had suffered so much at the hands of life and society and yet they were looking forward to the future instead of wallowing in the misery of the past. The confidence on their faces, the way they spoke (and that too in English – I found that very surprising!), their ever-smiling faces, they were so friendly offering us tea and making us talk about ourselves, putting us to ease etc.Hats off to them!! :-)

At Sri Arunodayam, We were told many stories about the children who are now a part of this organization. Their own parents abandoning them because they are ‘unhealthy’, family members using them for begging by mutilating them, women conceiving after the age of 35-40 and then abandoning them because they weren’t as they had expected them to be,… I would have loved to have had more interactions with the kids there; now that they have touched my life they will always be a part of me even if the interactions were only for a short period of time, it is the substance of the encounter that matters!!

The trip changed my outlook towards life completely… I have heard people say that “You’ll never know what you have been missing until you get it, you’ll also never know the value of what you have until you lose it..!!!”. This trip was something like that… till now I have been taking so many things for granted that I have never even given a second thought about how many times my parents have given up so much on something just so that I could have it? How many times I have cribbed or complained because I have not gotten something or because things have not gone my way? How many times I have though of myself as the person who has only problems in her life and that her life is a failure? How many times I have only thought about myself for that matter not even thinking how others would be feeling, or putting myself in others’ shoes in certain situations? How many times I have hurt my parents for something so inconsequential that it didn’t even matter at the end? How many times I have picked up fights with my bro’ which were so silly, stupid and immature?The trip just made me realize how little importance we give something in our life like our relationships for instance… it only when you see the brutal reality of people who lack them, you are thankful for what you have..!!!

This trip has been a real eye-opener in more than one sense. It has made me realize the kind of person I am and the kind of person I want to be. It has helped me understand better than before, how rich and beautiful life is in every way, and that so many things that one goes worrying about are of no importance whatsoever!!!

It taught me that.....
“Where you end up isn't the most important thing.
It's the road you take to get there.
The road you take is what you'll look back on and call your life.”

1 comment:

  1. I can't say dat i dint realize these thins b4...i hav actually wrkd in an NGO..bt da way u hav portrayed ur thots..it reinforced those alaready realized realizations...n may b it wud help me learn dat art..."The art of being happy and self content"... Gr8 job!!!!keep up d gud wrk..!!

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