Thursday, 7 January 2010

Hope and justice in an unfair world


As I sat through yet another simple yet inspiring session in some tribal areas of Orissa, I realized that apart from 'awakening the entrepreneural spirit', the TATA jagriti yatra has given hope - hope that things can be changed, inspite of all the bureaucracy, hope that once u hv a committed set of people with you, you can do the seemingly impossible, hope that you will get such a team if you hv a good idea and u hv the leadership to pass the message across, hope that at the end of the day, there is justice in an unjust world.

All the role model visits have had some common streaks.. a pinching or a tipping moment that prompted them to take up a cause, strong ethics and values, lots of dark nights - some of them have recurring ones every year, the ability and willingness to dream BIG, a great team/support system, persistence and above all, a great deal of humility.

The learning so far has been tremendous - simplicity from the Mumbai Dabbawalas, the courage to dream big and not stopping at hurdles from G. Vijayaraghavan - the man behind Technopark in Trivandrum, the need for a 'vision' not vision from Paul and Sabriye (International Institute of Social Entrepreneurs - a.k.a the 'Dream Factory'), the joy of doing something beautiful at Arvind eye care, Madurai, owning a problem from Elango at Kutumbakam village, Chennai, emotional returns v/s monetary returns at Industree, Bangalore, outsourcing from the government to Naandi foundation to solve problems like hunger and basic education (what is 2/3 + 4/5 ?) - yes, it is shameful that we have the world's largest number of hungry people, empowering people to shape their destinies by Joe Madiath of Gram Vikas at Orissa... this is a long list of all that I have been touched by so far.. hope to write in more detail about each one of them soon.

AT IISE, we took some time out to put down our dreams in a piece of paper and that is what we see here in this pic - a box full of dreams.

Monday, 4 January 2010

Day 1 of the TATA Jagriti Yatra


Itz been 3 days since I left Bangalore and I have already lost track of the day of the week/month..
After having met 50 very interesting people with varied backgrounds the day before the yatra as part of the facilitator's workshop, I dont know what to expect from the 300 others who have joined us today.

An interesting thing that came out during the workshop was that atleast 30 to 40 percent of the people had quit their jobs to either start something close to their heart or to just plain experiment.

The actual proceedings started in the evening with a session by the Mumbai dabbawalas. How they started - some Parsi loved his wife very much and missed lunch prepared by her - , what is their structure, how they have been running successfully at six sigma level for the past 119 years and how they suddenly shot to fame when Price Charles visited them at the Church Gate station - they call him their brand ambassador :)

Now, Mumbai Dabbawalas form case studies in big B schools - it was the case study for our group as well.

Gowri, Shashank's (Yatra founder) better half and part of the Jagriti Yatra team, gave a magical and artistic touch to the evening by teaching us a few and effective dance movements to the Jagriti geet (Yaaro chalo by Prasoon Joshi). The beauty of these movements is that they are so simple and can be done while seated. Interestingly, these movements were created by her for some senior citizens who cudn't get out of their wheel chairs.

The symbolic flag-off was very creative.
The excitement was mounting as we boarded the buses to Mumbai Central. The train was delayed. Some people started singing random songs and soon the foreigners were singing Christmas carols joined in by other enthusiastic folks. It was very sweet. We finally started at 3 am on 25th Dec, after a wait of 4 hrs.

We knew we could expect the unexpected on the rest of the trip.