Growth, in India, has not been equitable. In fact I am not even sure that even the middle class is growing. I am not sure whether growth, by itself, is a good thing to aim at. What is growth? What is development? Is all development good? I don't have answers to these questions.
Doing a regular job is easy. All one needs to do is shut one's mind to everything else and just work. I worked for 3 years in a large multi-national corporation that paid me good money. And all I did was work at the office and have fun with friends there. I stopped seeing the 10-odd beggars that would knock at my car's windows on the way to office. I stopped feeling that tinge of discomfort when I saw 10 year olds selling magazines at the red light, barefooted, in the scorching heat of May. I had stopped seeing the silent cry of the child playing at the red light with a stick, seemingly oblivious of the world around it.
Now, on the verge of leaving IIM-A, removed from the corporate life for two years, I am seeing this again. And I want to do something about this. There are so many things that can be done. I can help teach. I can help them work. I can train them. I can work to get them their rights. I can help them make their way back to their hometowns and villages and make sure that they can earn enough over there. The thing I do is not important. The manner I do it in is important.
I have studied here for two years and I want to make use of what I might have learnt. I believe that every person has a place in the value chain. I want to find my correct place and work from there. Be it in the field, in an office at a desk or meeting people and presenting ideas. I want to explore myself, more than anything else, and see where I fit and then hopefully, find the courage to do that.
I want to be realistic. I am still not free of the fear of my future. I am still not free from wanting to live comfortably. Maybe that will happen, someday. But that is not my aim. My aim is not to live like a saint helping people out of pure selflessness. That is not who I am at this moment. Whether I become that or not is a different thing altogether. But I want to start on this process of helping people and finding myself. And I am hoping that I will find the strength to do this for long.
And that is why I am starting on a small journey. It was tough to even decide to take this journey. Because for this I had to fight many many fears. The first was the fear of missing out on opportunities. The opportunity to work at the world's leading consulting firms. The opportunity to work in India's biggest corporate houses. The opportunity to beat my chest and say, "Hey, I am your daddy!". And with that I had to give up the 'respect' (read ego-boost) that comes with getting a job there. And I was still unable to do that completely. I still sat for one firm that I didn't really want to but just couldn't leave it. In hindsight though, I am glad I didn't get the offer!
However, I have taken up a job at Microsoft India for the role of a Program Manager. They have been supportive, and are keen to help me experiment. And I also know that they work in areas that I want to experiment in. Hopefully, there will be some synergy there. And I liked the people. Plus, I am not that strong, yet, to take the leap. I hope I find it over the next 6 months or so.
I will keep updating as to what I am doing and where. The first step, as mentioned in the last post, is a small fun meet with people from all over the subcontinent in a nice little retreat in the Sahyadris. These people are from all walks of life. Parents, teachers, philosophers, yogis, doctors, artists, nomads, students, experimentalists, you name it. I have no idea what we will do there, or discuss, but it should be fun! Already I am part of mails that are talking of homeschooling, cooking in the mud, going for treks at night, playing holi with poems, sex, letting the mind flow, unlearning, yog, siddhi medicine and so much more. And we are going to do all that. I hope you know what you are missing. Try it out when it happens next year.
Wish me luck :-)