Friday, March 31, 2023

Udham Singh Nagar Diairies - The Shift

Change is the constant. I'm currently heading to Uttarkashi from Udham Singh Nagar. In General, this is the usual travel but, this time, I know that I may never get a chance to return to this place, professionally. I'm trying my best to come in terms with the fact that this is my last visit to this campus. I miss the campus. I'm gonna miss everything that's here. 

Sonu gifted me two of his drawings. Two oil pastel drawings. Thanks a lot Sonu. Will cherish them. 

I'm yet to pack my bags and get started. I love this job. I get to meet many people. get a chance to visit a lot of new places. I'm not leaving because I'm done with them but, I think it's time that I have to move. The time has come for better times to move ahead and find a new home, find new friends and new purpose to lead the life. 


Thursday, March 30, 2023

Udham Singh Nagar Diaries- Last visit & Memories

Just to realise that this visit would be the last visit to this school, makes me feel more grateful for all the people I got chance to work with. 

May 2019, I visited this place as a fellow to attend summer workshop. This was my first exposure trip out of my work location, Sirohi.

At first, I was curious about everything. Udham Singh Nagar is located 400 kms away from Delhi. I was keen to look into the culture and stories of this place. Udham Singh Nagar is named after Sardar Udham, the one who attempted to kill General O Dyer. 

The school is located amidst rice fields. I was immersed in the new environment and had great time. 

There were only couple of  people in my workshop. Shivangi, Pompa & I were attending the session hosted by Rima & Sonalika. It was a nice helpful session. At the evenings, we used to have theatre sessions in large group. 

During that time, Malavika was doing a art workshop with art & music teachers. I wanted to spend more time with them to learn what happens in Art Education. 

At evening, Zarftaj, Mehul & Yawar used to gang up and took me to places in and around Udham Singh Nagar. I hardly had sleep but, enjoyed to the fullest.  In this workshop, I met a lot of teachers and had a  great time to witness the way they enjoy their nights. 

After a long day, everyone tries to go out into the small town and try out the food, A few goes on for walks, a few to watch English Marvel movie dubbed in Hindi. 

I was still learning Hindi then and struggled a lot to communicate with others. I was staying in room with Hitesh, Sunil Pathak & Satvir. 

 

Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Crowdfunding for my Higher Education

I hitchhike and I believe in asking as I receive help whenever I ask for it.  However, I contemplated for two weeks on asking for financial help. Is it because I think it's too much to ask for money. I've worked on my judgements over money and asking and finally acting on it. 

I got an admit to pursue masters in International Development Studies in Graduate Institute of Geneva. Sadly, I couldn't avail any scholarship through college. I reached out to college again for help. They've a lot of people already in waiting list. 

The tution fee for 2 years is 14 Lakhs (17000USD)

Geneva being the third most expensive city in the world. The basic living expenses are ranging to 40 Lakhs(51000USD). I've thought of raising crowd fund.

After thinking a lot about it, I realised that I want to ask for help. Hence, this inititative. 

________________________________________________________________________________

HiI'm Abhinay also known as Abhinay Renny.

Throughout my childhood, my parents instilled a belief in me that the world is an equal and just place. But growing up in remote towns in South India, I was soon exposed to the inequalities and injustices of my world. I wondered then if there was a magic pill to overcome these disparities. Without looking far, I discovered one of the many solutions through my experience. That is Education.

My paternal grandfather, who hailed from a family of farmers, broke away and took up a job in the Railway Police despite not completing his education and ensured that his children, my father and his two sisters, graduated. On the other hand, my mother was deprived of formal education due to lack of a school in the vicinity of 16 villages where she lived. Coming from such backgrounds, my parents were certain that me and my two siblings studied professional courses. Today my brother and I are engineers, and my sister is a doctor. Thanks to his education, my father, a senior officer in an insurance giant, has been able to provide quality education to us. I realise now that education is the gamechanger. One generation that is educated is all it takes to reduce inequalities significantly, almost irreversibly.

Graduating as a Mechanical Engineer from VNR Vignana Jyothi Engineering College, I got placed in an IT MNC and began to work as Project Management and Operations Lead. Working closely with the enablers of the organization helped me to learn how IT solutions could solve real world problems with their leverage of scale and efficiency.

In pursuit of learning experiences, I set up TEDxVNRVJIET Community & lead it with 50+ members at my college. Being TED Licensee, I’ve had the opportunity to curate and discuss ideas worth spreading, with eminent personalities, an enriching experience that revealed the importance of human development through the lens of education, livelihood, and the use of technology in various sectors. Impressed by the passion and possibilities the community offered I attended TED workshops focusing on community engagement, leadership & ideas curation. It had changed my thinking in substantial ways. I intended to understand social development and the problems facing by the other parts of my country, India.

Determined to understand the act of giving, receiving and vulnerability, I was hitchhiking a lot  places with help of strangers. I spent 3 years, hitchhiking whenever and wherever possible, asking for help and listening to strangers’ stories and reflecting on them. Ranging from BMW to Eicher lorry, I was offered help by youngsters, ladies, veterans and everyone. These experiences burst my bubbled opinions on india’s problems and the solutions we give over coffee table conversations.

In 2019, I was 24 years old and was willing to leave my safe, secure corporate IT job at Tata, to live and learn about the realities of my country India,

I applied for a fellowship at Azim Premji Foundation, Asia’s fifth largest philanthropic organization, whose vision ‘to facilitate a just, equitable, humane and sustainable society’ appealed deeply to me. I was one of the nine recipients selected from over ten thousand applicants for the fellowship.Quitting comfortable corporate job in metropolitan city, Hyderabad, to live in a small town Sirohi, Rajasthan during the march 2019 summers is one of the toughest out-of-comfort-zone experiences, I've ever put myself into.






During this period, I taught at a government school. It has revealed to me the stark reality of current education levels in my country. I worked closely with the school authorities and nearby communities, studied the correlation between family’s social, economic means and  girl child’s dropout rate and worked with Government functionaries to understand how they’re addressing these issues.As COVID lockdown has begun during March 2020, I continued living in Sirohi and witnessed the disruption of economic and social growth of deprived communities first hand while working with the Government departments on food and medical supply distribution.

With these life changing learning experiences, I decided to commit to the service of humanity in my own way.The more I began to work for children, the more I understood the importance of education as well as other factors which contributes to a quality of life. Watching 11 siblings living under a single roof with parents. The parents’ struggle to provide a healthy meal to them. The violence and the abuse the children go through in their daily lives, always taught me an important lesson – Do not consider anything for granted in life.

Being an outsider to the development facets of India, Foundation has given me tremendous opportunities to understand the complexity of issues and scope to work on my strengths and contribute to social change.For the past four years, I have been working for the public education system in remote areas of India, in states such as Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, Karnataka, and Chhattisgarh.Poverty, Livelihood, Hunger are some of the factors that were affecting families, and directly learners in the classroom. The more I study the issues and solutions, I could witness how governments and organisations are trying to solve the problems in their own ways depending on resources, technology & commitment.

Spending four years on the field and looking at the solutions the government and other organisations are coming up, I've decided to invest time in studying  the complex social development through multi-disciplinary course- Masters in International Development Studies at Graduate Institute of Geneva.Sadly, I couldn't avail any scholarship through college.

I'm pooling up my savings and considering an education loan to bear my tuition expenses (Tuition fee for 2 years is 14 Lakhs (17000USD))Geneva being the third most expensive city in the world. The basic living expenses are ranging to 40 Lakhs(51000USD).  As the Labour laws are very stringent in Switzerland, they do not allow the non-residents to work for first 6 months. Relying on part time job to pay up 40 Lakhs seems to be a feeble option. I've planned to pursue my studies and work in social development sector, at larger scale in my own country.54 Lakhs of loan is forcing me to reprioritise my future plans, at least to repay the loans.

I want to worry less about securing my future and focus more on studies.

In future, I intend to continue to work in Development Sector. I do not want to spent my 2 years of studies with a constant fear of loans and repayments and affect my learning experiences and the exposure the course is offering me.

This fund would help me out to live a meagre life in Geneva and finish my studies. Also, you’d be helping out an artist to continue pursuing his art.

Hence, I seek help from all of you. Could you please fund whatever is possible for you, for my higher education? Thank you so much in advance.


Donate - https://milaap.org/fundraisers/support-abhinay-15/deeplink?deeplink_type=paytm

Friday, March 24, 2023

Jaipur Journals- A find Dine at Gopala

 Abhishek suggested to check out the new restaurant, round the corner. Today, he suggested for a lunch in the new place. Malavika, Abhishek and I visited and checked out as per Abhishek's suggestion. Parantha and Dahi vada as per Malavika's suggestion. Over these, we began to discuss cinema and directors. Both, Malavika and Abhishek educated me on movies. Looks like, I need to watch Alfred Hitchcock's movies to redeem my life. Also, some of Desseca and other directors. Rittwik Ghatak is one director who has this intelligent way of movie making. 

First he takes money from producer. He procrastinates the process. When there's producer on his neck to finish the project before the deadline, he brings the available actors, at an available set and creates master pieces in such a small span of time. Intriguing personality. 

Will make a list and watch these directors' master pieces. 

1)Alfred Hitchcock
2) Rittwik Ghatak
3)De Sica

Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Jaipur Journals- The places and identities

Living in different places, I learnt that we create our own identity in each places. Living in Hyderabad for long time and having friends all around, I decided to move to Rajasthan. Just like that. I haven't planned much. I haven't thought much. I just jumped in and took the offer when I got a chance to travel to Rajasthan. I'm grateful I chose that and spent four years in Rajasthan. Difficult to come to terms about leaving the place but, that's the way it is. We arrive at a place with no identity amidst the crowd. We live and leave the place, making a mark on our own. 

I'm grateful for all that I had in Rajasthan. How do I process this change in life? Is it difficult to process the changes in life as we grow up? During childhood, I was excited when my dad talked about transfers and shifting home to a new place. Now when I have to pack things on my own and leave a place, I'm reminded of all the beautiful memories, experiences i've gained here. Memories are flashed, people faces are flashed and the beautiful moments I had with people, I cherish all my life flash infront of me, making me feel humbled by such love, warmth, companionship and memories I had in my life. 

Jaipur Journals- Rajasthan IT Day

 I planned to visit Jawahar Kala Kendr on teh ocassion of Rajasthan IT Day. In the left space of JKK, they had a indoor space, created specially for the IT expo. I quickly registered and got  a chance to watch a dome film. A russian company has come to Rajasthan to show the films, they've made. Dome film seems to be an immersive film experience where it's all around you. Virtual reality is just too close to your eyes and has two screens where as dome film has several screens with surround sound. 

I watched a movie where Sita is grooving to Techno music, Hanuman is dancing salsa, hip hop and various other genres. It was fun. I'd love to watch some dome movies. 

Later, I went to film screening and watched Yours Truly. Aahana Kumra was present for the event. As it just got finished, I made up my mind to avoid screen for many reasons. I walked out to witness a large mob chasing cars. Apparently, there was some Youtuber who arrived to JKK and youngsters gone crazy and were chasing him. 

Witnessing what's happening on roads a bit, I ran into Palaasha, person I met at one of Awaaz event. Palaasha is interested in curating art experiences and works for art. We caught up over conversations and slowly interacted with her friends, Dipali, Tanushree, Ankush. 

We had a good time strolling around commerce college campus, IT fairs and other play game zones. Tanushree, Palaasha and I went onto play with drones and remote control cars. It's fun. Met a cute little kid Atharv, enroute. 

Atlast, all of us headed to Gud Mishri, tuning to Lifafa's music in Tanushree's car. Tanushree is an architect who's very much interested in design and everything around it. Currently, she's into architectic journalism. Dipali works for art exhibitions and also works for Awaaz. Catching up with these interesting people, all of us were trippin and slippin on food and jokes. Good fun. 

Jaipur Journals- Dinner with Malavika

Malavika is in town. I feel happy to have friends in town so that we catch up over dinners, lunches and get a chance to go around. Malavika and I decided to have dinner. We hit World Trade Park. Occupied a silent space and filled our hearts with conversations that touches upon our CEOs to cute little things that reminds us of life and the past. We were the last ones to walk out along with the workers in the restaurant. Further, we walked all the way till our office, catching up on things that came to our mind. Malavika gives me so much of assurance to be myself and experiment as much as possible. I'm all in to perform my 2nd play- Everything Everywhere all at once. 


Monday, March 20, 2023

Movie- Yours Truly

As part of Youth Film Screening Festival, I watched Yours Truly starring Soni Razdan, Aahana Kumra. Soni, an old woman, living in her own house, goes to office daily, through bus rides and train rides. She writes letters to her lover, whom she never met, the Railway announcer. Her train rides to her office and letters she writes to him, in anticipation for a reply is the poetry of waiting. Every scene depicts how lonley it gets and how one embraces love in one's life. 

It's poetic. The colors are bright against the dull blue kolkata skies.


Jaipur Journals- Theatre again.

 After a long time,  I walked down to the basement to find the familiar faces, hustling to create images and improvise the plays. Abhishek and team are going to perform at Delhi, theatre festival by the end of the March. 

So happy to see Pooja, Vritika, Kalpana, Gaurav, Vijay, Sandeep, AJ,Somesh, Ashish, Ankur, Rajesh back into action. 

Pooja is a legendary actor especially in mother roles. It was nice to see Pooja & Vritikia switching mother daughter roles to create the back story of the characters. If you're in Delhi, do drop in to watch the show Hum Bharat ke Log. 


Sirohi to Switzerland- Fear

The fear of remaining without a job is one that is lingering in the mind. However, it's clear that I'd be better than at what stage I'm in- in terms of knowledge and other factors. Still, I can't stop thinking about the possibility of everything going wrong at one point of time. 

I'm open to what comes in my way. 

Friday, March 10, 2023

Hyderabad Literary Fest- A meet after a long time.

This time, I ran into HariPriya, the friend whom I always met at heritage walks and other events. The most memorable memory with her is the heritage walk at Abids on July 7th. A whole day, we were walking in the streets of Abids, sharing stories and experiences. Currently, at HLF, HariPriya's photograph is being exhibited. As part of Chevella save the tree protest, she has captured the photograph of tree and being part of that exhibition. I'm glad, I ran into her and caught up with her after a long time. 


Plain Pages of Home


I leave a few of my sketch books, colours at home and look what my parents are upto. My father is very good at portraits. He practiced till we were born. Later he never picked it up again. Mom loves colours and good to see she's using all these colours and drawing flowers and all that she likes. 

Sunday, March 5, 2023

Paradox- You take up the journey to know it's futility

Pico Iyer, the famous traveler talks about why we need stillness, contrary to what he has done in his life- Traveling.  

What taught him, this life lesson?
May be his traveling?

We need to take up this journey to arrive on it's futility. Maybe it's the experience that we go through teaches us. And everyone has their own journey of experiences to take away their learnings. 

Thought- Being healthy is a commitment

Being healthy is a life long commitment we need to give to ourselves. Many a times, many friends hinted me that there's a lot that goes ...