Have you ever travelled knowing the journey is going to change your life forever? Perhaps you feel an aching in your bones to do something meaningful and your feet itch to get out into the world and offer support for a cause you love.
In 2017, Trishna Mohanty found her calling while she was backpacking through Northeast India. Originally an IT engineer, she quit corporate life to pursue her true passions - writing, photography and travel.
Trishna hitchhiked to remote villages, lived among the locals and followed the routine of the villagers. "We come with so much privilege and often romanticize the idea of traveling to remote villages. No one talks about how difficult life is for the locals residing in these very villages. Tourists glamourize it only to forget the place later on." she says as she begins narrating her story to me one evening.
"Most remote villages have limited access to food, health care, education or income. The more I traveled to these places across India, the more of a hypocrite I felt like. I just had to do something about it."
A case of serendipity
While in Nongrim, Meghalaya, Trishna’s chance meeting with Batista Khongphai, a local, transformed her life. Batista discovered Trishna’s photography skills and insisted she help him with pictures of his home, in exchange for accommodation.
Following her gut, Trishna decided to join Batista only to discover a little school run by the husband-wife duo - Mr. Batista Khongphai and Mrs. Lakynti Diengdoh. She realized that these strangers were teaching about 50 children in a little hall that served as a home for education. "It was just a single room with no partitions. Classes from nursery to 9th standard were taken by teachers who formed clusters within the four walls" - recalls Trishna