The excitement is palpable in the ERC (Engine Room Club) team, on the first day of the Jagriti Yatra.
For the ex-yatris (who now give back to the yatra by being a part of the ERC team), this is an opportunity for a reunion. Reunions so touching where individuals do not introduce themselves by their names but rather by /the year they undertook their journey.
For the participants, it all seemed like a new experience. Whether it was the new environment or the strangers surrounding them who might soon become companions or even business partners of a future enterprise.
But as the day progresses, a sense of familiarity starts to kick in, and people start to open up, as the train chases the golden sun across the agriculture landscape of Maharashtra.
In these rounds of introductions, we thought it worthwhile to look around and get to know some yatris who make the Jagriti Yatra of 2015.
Ranjit Singh, 29, Deoria
When he was asked what made him take the Jagriti Yatra, Ranjit responds in Hindi, “So that even I can learn about business models and get mine to progress in life. I’m from Gorakhpur University and have a business of dairy farming. My business is not panning out so well. I gave one of the acquaintances 36 lakhs for a land and now he’s denying taking any money. At this moment, I’d be in a debt of almost Rs 60 lakh. After all this, I went for Vipasana in Lucknow and got a lot of peace of mind.However, I’ve just learnt now to live with all the stress.”
But as we ask Ranjit as to how different is the train from Deoria, he laughs and replies
Yaha pae different lag raha hai ki sab yaha pae English mein bolne wale hai. (What seems different here is that everyone is speaking in English.)
While we realise that sitting right beside Ranjit is someone personifying a completely different India.
Kumar Akshay, 27, New Delhi
Kumar says, “I’ve visited more than 20 countries across the world and found one commonality. A commonality of people being ignorant about religion since it doesn’t meet them halfway as individuals. So I’m building a platform where people can open source religion according to their needs and requirements and download it. They can also mix various parts of other religion to create a religion and set of beliefs which suits an individual. In India, religion is a customised commodity where Hindus in Kerala eat beef, while in Maharashtra it is banned.”
On what he intends to get out of the yatra, Kumar says, “For me, this journey is all about self-realisation, reimagining and rediscovering of my approach towards life.”
While talking to Kumar, we are hastily introduced to a young girl in the compartment. She comes across as somewhat shy, trying to convince us that her story doesn’t seem too inspiring, but we are adamant to hear it out.
Shruti Jargad, 20, Jaipur
Shruti says, “I’ve always been passionate about politics and want to become a politician. I lost my father at the age of 10, but was never crumbled by it, rather I adapted to it really fast. My mother and grandfather raised me. And I was always good academically getting through Lady Sri Ram College in Delhi. In December 2014, I was detected of having thyroid cancer and was incapacitated. That was a crucial time for me since I wanted to contest for the student elections. I asked my mother if we could have the operation after that, but the request was shot down. But, it makes me glad that at least I serve as the President of the Political Science Department at LSR.”
Doctors did not give enough hope about the cancer not returning and removed her thyroid gland in the process.
But, Shruti finds her inspiration in the little moments and that is what she wants to take out through the people of the yatra.
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