Jagriti Yatra – Musings of the Journey

24th Dec 2015
Photo of Jagriti Yatra – Musings of the Journey 1/2 by Vani Chandra
Photo of Jagriti Yatra – Musings of the Journey 2/2 by Vani Chandra

(This is not some fairy-tale description of Yatra but more of an account of my expectations from the Yatra and realization of what really happened. These reflections are individual and might differ from person to person. )

Travelling is romantic especially when it comes in the form of Jagriti Yatra with 450 yatris, 12 destinations, 8 role models, 8000 kms and the promise of building India through enterprise.

This exotic notion of solving the most pressing problems of humanity while travelling on a train with 450 other bright and energetic individuals is alluring enough to bring the best bunch of people on board.

People come to Yatra with a lot of expectations. Some come with a wanderlust in their heart hoping to see 12 different cities in one go , while others come with a intent of networking  and meeting like- minded individuals, some come lost hoping to find themselves while others come clueless hoping to lose themselves.

When I came for Yatra this year, my expectations were an amalgamation of all of these. I wanted to explore the real India, meet a lot of people and in the process change the world and change my life for good.

Now about twenty days later when I look back and reflect I feel slightly disappointed as what I had hoped for did not really happen.

So how much of real India could I explore and the answer is very less. I was at a particular location for less than ten hours and in that the schedule was jam-packed. Therefore we hardly had three or four hours at one destination in a city and there was a rush to make the most of it. Out of twelve destinations in the itinerary about seven were major metropolitan cities and yeah far from the so called “real India “which we have in our mind. The rest of five locations like Tilonia and Deoria etc were much closer to our real India but then again there was not much time to explore the places.

Now, was Yatra able to change the world or at least change my life for good? May be but I am still not too sure about it. Nothing phenomenally life-changing happened for me and definitely the world around me is still very much in the same state that I left it in.

As far as networking is considered I met a few people with a similar line of thoughts and aims and we might work in the future together but nothing solid has materialized till now.

Yes I had great fun and met a lot of people but isn’t it common to all the usual touristy-trips we take. With all of this the ultimate question that what was Jagriti Yatra all about still persists.

To simply put, Yatra for me was being out of a comfort zone (mentally and physically) that I had been in for a long-time.  Living in the train for fifteen days redefines the definition of luxury. There were times when I was not very well and had to push myself to survive the long-tiring days and nights with bare-minimum amenities.  

However what was more exhilarating were the conversations that I had sometimes with the known faces and sometimes with complete strangers. The sheer diversity of thoughts, emotions and opinions that I encountered were what built my perspective towards life.

On the inaugural day we were told to “find a person who is completely opposite to you and have a conversation with him/her”.

It sounded like an easy thing to do but was much tougher in reality, especially when you are not really a talkative person. There were times when I fumbled, was misunderstood, left the conversations in between, or simply sat listening without speaking at all.

Looking back I realize it was in these moments which defined and redefined my Yatra experience.

Yatra for me was also about realization of stark reality that with all the jazz and talks of changing and building the nation, the real heroes who really do so are hidden in obscure corners of the country. Here I do not mean the role-models who are already well-known for their work but the fellow Yatris who are doing their bit of good in whatever way possible.

Reflecting back I feel that although Yatra did not enlighten me but yes it definitely made me a much better person. Today I am much less judgmental and much more patient with people and their opinions. I am glad the energy and the inspiration of those fifteen days will keep my motivation high and running for the year to come

But ultimately I realized that the only way of making most of the Yatra is going sans any expectations. For any wannabe yatri my only advice would be:

  • Don’t go to Yatra with the hope of any phenomenal metamorphosis but go with hope of finding inspiration from the most unlikely people.
  • Don’t go because you want to talk and be heard; go because you want to listen.
  • Don’t go looking for any business partners but go with the hope of finding life-long friends.
  • Finally don’t go with the hope of exploring a lot of places but go with the hope of finding new insights in the same old places.
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