Monday, August 07, 2006

Out of My Comfort Zone

As usual, I sat there in office doing nothing and feeling bored as hell. I spend a lot time reading blogs nowadays,mostly searching for new ideas. Today,I was reading Rashmi Bansal's blog about the youth of the country. She mentioned about the changing phases of Indian and Japanese youth and there was a passing reference to an organization called Bharat Uday Mission, a future political party.I decided to check out their website;it was started by a set of IITians who plan to make it to the political arena by 2010.It was an interesting read;almost childish and amusing if you ask me. The views were at times radical and kind of "I'll take it to the world" kind.They wanted to change the face of India, by driving out poverty,eradicating castism etc.A sort of madness and naivety, I felt, but there was also a raw passion in that.These were people who were deeply concerned about RTI Act,Satyendra Dubey (ex-IITian killed by the Bihar mafia) , farmer suicides etc.It made me think about what I want to do in life.

These offices somehow do not enthuse me.It feels very boring shunted into one cubicle and I have started appreciating Dilbert jokes much more now. I reason with myself saying I want to do something worthwhile in life and not lead life meandering aimlessly like a bottle tossed up in the high seas.I have always wanted to be in the social sector but there's always something that holds me back. Maybe a fear of the unknown, an inability to break the shackles of comfort or maybe a fear of standing up in the midst of all odds. Many of us are so cynical about things happening around us that we think things can never change but then maybe we need to first believe in our ability to change ourselves and others.Can what these people say in Bharat Uday Mission actually happen? It's an idea similar to that in Mani Ratnam's Yuva - youngsters standing in politics to make a difference to the world.Is it my cynicism that makes me think that life at 20 is different from life at 30? We plan to fight the world and our blood boils when we see so many atrocities but as we move into our 30s,we think about our families,our children,parents and then it's not all so exciting after all.Can this enthu and passion be sustained for long?

I have a strong urge to get out of this artificial comfort zone but not sure how. I remember one of my college Faculty members telling me,

Pradeep,for the first few years of your life,make money and then later,do what you want to do in life.There would be some activity that how much ever you do,you will never get bored or tired of and that is what you are passionate about; that is what you really want to do in life.

Incidentally,he was an IIT Madras,IIT-Ahmedabad passout who quit his corporate life to join academics.What stops us from doing that?A fear of failure, of ridicule or maybe a lack of confidence in our abilities.Ofcourse,I wonder if you can actually decide that the time has come when you have worked enough for the money and that you want to do something that will make you happy now.

Maybe it's now or never,atleast the decision taking part on when to break free and what to do.I wonder if my idea of working in the social sector is driven by a silly romanticism associated with it.The idea of running away from corporate life and working in the midst of nature looks so wonderful;where making profits is not the ultimate driving force. A movie like Swades did appeal to me even it offered a simple solution to problems. Mohan Bhargava may be a fictional character but he gave me a hope, a sense of belonging and conviction(atleast for sometime) that it's possible to do something different in life and that we owe something to our society.People like Medha Patkar ,Anna Hazare and Arvind Kejriwal are icons in their own right and they need our support to ensure that their movements do not become mere footnotes in history.

As I close this blog,I am still wondering what is my aim in thinking of breaking away from all this - social enterpreneurship, pure entrepreneurship,boredom, a guilt at enjoying wealth or some inherent feeling of inner chaos or just a silly romantic notion....

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