Sunday, April 18, 2010

Why.



As per usual, ruminating on what to "do" in life (see last post) quickly became a reality. Two interviews, one acceptance e-mail, and a conference call later, I am a 2010-2011 Indicorps fellow.

So this post will be dedicated to explaining to my friends, family and visitors exactly why I'm choosing to move halfway across the world, and answer some questions that have been coming up a lot in my phone calls.

A few months ago I was sitting on an airplane, going back home from New York. Somewhere between getting a cranberry juice and landing in Tampa, I had an unshakeable urge to move to India. This wasn't new for me -- I had been creating and disbanding plans to move there for more than three years. Other schemes included working for magazines etc. But the breathtaking, ovewhelming feeling on the airplane was telltale: I couldn't ignore this anymore.

So that part was taken care of, I had to go. So now, how? I had succesfully interviewed with a big fashion magazine, passed along some applications for reporting, considered working at a yoga ashram, but for some reason, none of them manifested. Then I happened to get a message from a former Indicorps fellow in my Facebook message box -- I had met him in a tribal village during my Inspire trip last summer. I'm kind of on the fence about seeing signs, but this was definitely one of them. The funny thing is, his message was just a congrats for graduating. I said thanks and then immediately looked for an application.

Deciding to do development/social/service work is a tricky decision. I've heard the best of arguments against going to developing countries to "help". I've considered that helping here in America is of equal value and necessity. I know that long term, sustainable change can not be done in a year. So for the skeptics, yes, I see your point.

But what if the development I'm looking for is internal? I don't want to go to India to teach English so that kids can leave their hometowns and countries and families. I don't want to go so that I can build my resume. I want go to learn how to live as simply as possible, to push myself beyond my comfort zone, and to cultivate skills that span the borders. I want to go so that I'm not scared to be a pair of helping hands. I want to go so that every time I see a documentary about little Indian girls, I no longer have to stay up at night wondering what I can do. I just want to do it, for me.

And now for the career stuff. I want to be a journalist -- that hasn't changed. I have no plans to be a lifelong social worker or aid-er. So where does this fit in? Well, I personally feel that my favorite writers, reporters, journalists etc. have something much greater than a huge stack of clips, and that is perspective. Rather than find perspective from calling hundreds of people from an air-conditioned office, I want to hit the ground running. And maybe this will help my career, or maybe it will look like an odd blip. But as a friend explained to me via Steve Jobs, this year will be one of my "dots" in this huge game of connect the dots. Hopefully in a few years, I will look back and see that the dots are synced. For now, I'm just going to focus on this year ahead.

15 comments:

Khushi said...

so so so proud of you-- beautiful blog entry and can't wait to hear all about it =D

AparnaKothary said...

can I borrow this blog entry if/when (more likely when) I decide to go to India? you are amazing and i am so so so happy for you. it's undoubtedly going to be a challenging year but I think you are going about it with the right perspective. cant wait to hear all about it. hoping your year will be like one long music jam session at Manzil....

Anonymous said...

That's so awesome!

Deborah said...

Wow, Ankita, this sounds incredible! Congratulations on the opportunity, and I hope you find everything you're looking for. You will be doing such wonderful, inspiring work. Best of luck!

Salonii Hamirwasia said...

hey ...
check out this link!
http://www.chinmayamission.com/cord.php

http://www.cordusa.org/

I've personally worked with them on the same lines.

You will get what you're looking for.

Bhavana said...

i can't wait to hear about all your adventures? also, can you please teach me how to write pretty?

i <3 you!

ellie said...

so awe inspiring :D
you seem to view things so much like i.

i don't want to be stuck in an office but rather out in the world and you make things seem so real, that there are actually ppl going out there and doing what they want ><

brilliant; ^^
take care on your trip(:

starcakeastrology.blogspot.com said...

always follow your heart!!!

Igor Kamp said...

I am truly jealous of you, your way of thinking. 'I want to move to India! Heck I am just going to do it.'. If I only was half as determined with things...

Reading this makes me feel bad about my education and the future that lies ahead for me. IT, being an office ghoul. Never was my thing, but of course the money lured.

I really can't seem to determine what I want with my life.

lillinda said...

I admire you for having the courage to follow your dreams. God Speed,
Linda

tagskie said...

Nice blog you got here... Just droppin' by to say hi! http://www.arts-and-entertainment.info

Princess said...

Hi, Just found your blog--very cool!! and I'm following it now. I hope you follow mine too {-:
http://ColorMePrincess.blogspot.com

Natalie said...

Hi. I was randomly looking through different blogs and yours caught my eye...
I had a similar story...my husband and I got married and just one day said "wouldn't it be great to move to China?"...and so a month after our marriage we moved to China!!!
Our friends and family thought we were crazy to leave everything behind....turned out to be the greatest adventure of our lives. We stayed for a year and hope to go back someday.
Live your dream...it's worth it!
Good luck!
;0)
~Natalie~

joven said...

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Allan de Lima said...

You have a noble soul, ankita. I admire you so much for that.