A long time since I logged in to type...and definitely eons since I felt like just unwinding and fecklessly going about life. But sadly that is not to be..and actually this write up is also a part of my job as a teacher.In fact feels totally weird to call myself a teacher when in fact I am an engineer (yeah..i know the sighs..Yawn) and was working in a cushy air conditioned office 6 months ago. Anyways a lot has changed since then, my life is revolving around TFI and school, hopefully for now life is trudging along in the correct direction.
I have just returned from my trip to Ahmedabad where we had the annual TFI retreat where we expected to take a step back, reflect on journey so far, take stock of our hits and misses and gain some insights. Needless to say there was a lot of introspection and personally I was really looking forward to this trip because this would then give me a opportunity to learn from others experiences. I had no set expectations and one can not prognosticate the outcome of the entire trip.Such issues are very subjective and we could all give our own two cents worth on it. We left for Ahmedabad (Ahmd) on the night of 17 November 2010 from Bombay, reached Ahmd the next morning around 5'o clock and headed straight for Tri Bhavan. Here we had our first reflection session and for me it was all about what I should have done during the last 6 months but didn't.Its been 6 months now into teaching and really there have been so many failures during this time that it is hard to be self congratulatory even if you wanted to do so. Later on during the day we headed to ESI and the Gandhi Ashram where we interacted with the members Manav Sadhna, an NGO in Gujrat working for providing good sanitation,health,literacy and social upliftment.There are a few questions that one needs to ask on the principles on which they operate but that doesn't take away the credit of providing clean and hygienic sanitation in the communities in which they work.
That night and what followed the day after was probably the most enriching experience of the entire retreat.I stayed over in a community named Tekro, very close to the Gandhi Ashram. My hosts were a potter and his family. Prajapati, his wife and 3 children Rajender, Ramesh and Anu took absolute great care of me during the next day and the half. I had great Pancakes and kadi for dinner followed by a deep slumber under a thatched awning. They provided me with the blanket and the mattress.The next I tried my hand at pottery and believe me it isn't as easy as it looks like.There is a lot of skill,hardwork,labour and pain that goes into making a pot right from the scratch. Prajapati said"Is mein bahut mehnat aur dard sehna padtha hai.Zyada science nahi hai lekin kaam bahut hai." Their family really taught me the meaning of content and being satisfied with what one had in life. Their kids displayed the eagerness to learn new things and also reliaze the importance of doing well in life. They showered me with their blessings and their wishes that how much ever I thank it will be insufficient.That was time I reliazed that I fortunate to have lived a very comfortable life and had got most for what I had asked for .In contrast there are people who live in absolute squalor and abject poverty but yet are magnanimous to accept the reality and continously work towards making the next day better with out any complaints.
During the reflection that ensued the next day I spoke up saying that the one big take away that I have from this trip was the display of compassion,affection and love that one to needs to express with the people around him.I have been guilty of not doing so and it is time that I rather take the wrath of the people around me rather than rot away in solitary confinement. All in all it was a very enjoyable trip and am looking forward to putting down few of my other reflections in the days to come.