Can instinctive action mislead us? Or will it always lead us to the right path?
This is the question that occupies my mind now. That is because, I have acted purely on instinct in the case of the Karnataka Jnana Fellowship. I saw an article in the newspaper sometime in June this year and immediately went over to the computer, went to their website and applied. The force of instinct was so strong I could not resist it. I did not try to resist it either. One part of my mind was asking though whether I was doing the right thing. I asked back. “Why not go ahead?”.
Recently, i did a little bit of financial calculations too. This project if we can call it one (of taking up Jnana fellowship, if I do get thru) has a negative net present value (in financial terms) of a significant amount of money. In simple language, it was a cost to me and not a financial gain. Do I still want to do it? Yes. It is corporations which look at profit and loss. Government looks at cost-benefit balance. I too had to see a cost-benefit balance. Benefit not only to me but benefit to the community at large. After all, living for oneself is so boring. I have written in one of my earlier blogs too (my previous blogspot blog) about why it should be the aim of every individual to ‘give more to society than he/she draws’. This was my chance to give. I cannot let this go… At least, I had to give it my best shot…
I was fortunate enough to get through till the interviews (past a lot of scrutiny and a good written test) which happened yesterday. A full day at Vikas Soudha… Starting about 8:30 am when I got in till about 6:45 pm when I got out, the time I got before the panel of eminent people asking me what I could do if I were selected was miniscule. Whether I managed to convince them, the result will tell. The lessons I learnt from this whole experience though were great. Never before had I sat before a panel of about 15 members. One does not get time to think (being a bit of a slow thinker had me a little troubled). So, it clearly boils down to what is deeply embedded in our minds. Only those points will come forth. Its a test for our ability to stand our ground and not let our thoughts be hijacked by what is being asked. Its a test of conviction, of strength of belief. Quite rightly so. It is an experience that has brought in more energy, conviction and strength to me. My instinct to work with the community at large has only grown stronger.
One aspect to be highly appreciated is the strength of the process the Jnanaayoga followed. The transparency levels have been very high. Sometimes, I wonder if it was a little too high. Criteria for selection was very clear, although I was a little surprised at the weightage given to our 3 answers on purpose given during the application. Arrangements were great. They have shown how well things can be conducted from within the government too…
Lastly, let me come to what occupied me over the whole day minus the interview time and the little time I took out while sitting there to prepare. This truly was energising. Never before have I got to know more than a dozen people in a single day. This was such a day. A very unusual day for me. I have at least 8 new contacts in my mobile now. I met people working on enhancing science education, on youth related issues, those teaching management, those training teachers, teachers, people running a school, those working on getting the soil right for horticulture, …. Civil society is not sleeping. By no means. Each one has a passion and is striving to contribute in their own way, with a positive approach. Cool !
We discussed at length on each of our experiences and on the possible road ahead, in the education field mainly but even on horticulture. Like minds coming together… If I said that we came up with solutions, that would be obviously wrong. If solutions to the problems plauging the primary and secondary education were simple, it would have been set right long back. We even came up with plans on working together outside the fellowship scheme too.
I wish to say one thing at the end. Lets get the cynicism out. Lets get to work, whether inside the government or outside but towards the welfare of our great nation. If we think that putting the education system right is a 10,000 km journey and give up, we will never complete the journey. We have to walk our talk… Good thing is that we are not alone in the struggle. If one goes out there looking, one would find so much of good work happening. So many are working. Lets give our bit…
Jai Hind !!!
Addition on the 30th Sept, 2011: After the results came out…
Its been a tough day… a day of gloom….. The fact that I did not make it kept haunting me through the day and still is haunting me. I understand that the other person who made it to the department I was looking to get in to, is more qualified than me and quite likely has more experience. That is comforting…. Still, at a personal level, its a loss that is somehow difficult to get adjusted to. I am sure that the commission has done a very good job of screening people and all those who are in deserve to be there. I still cant reconcile myself to the fact that I didnt make it… This is the battle thats been going on all day.. One moment this way, one moment that way…. :-|.
Quite clearly, my inability to hold my ground during the interview let me down. I got drawn a little away (towards pre-primary education) from my focus area (child protection) and i was less guarded in the new territory…. and got shot down… I will remember to hold my ground next time, probably in another context..
There is the NGO platform for me in any case…….. and I pledge my support to those who are in. Am here to help if required.
Jai Hind !!!