I recently returned from my third Indicorps workshop and what keeps striking me is that time is running out. At this point, there are only 9 weeks left which translates into 5 biweekly reports, a paper entitled “Year-in-Review” and too little time to say goodbye to a community I love. When I return I know I’m going to be asked, “how was India?” But how do you respond with, “it was life-changing, profound, humbling and so much fun.”
Letting go has never been an easy task for me. I stayed a week after graduation at Penn “packing,” I was loathe to end summer vacation in the U.S, and I have bargained with British Airways for the last possible roundtrip ticket out of India before they make me purchase a new ticket. I may have inherited this trait from my mother who still sees it fit to demand one to two phone calls per week and calls incessantly, sometimes phoning Gita Maam and Neetu Maam for news of me. Mom, I am more than 6,000 miles away, you have to let go. More seriously, letting go means an end to being “Priya maam and Priya didi,” an end to playing and filling a role in my community. I have a niche here and Happy Days equals happy days. It’s going to be tough to let go.
Part of saying goodbye will entail leaving my project in someone else’s hands. At first, I thought that this would be the easiest thing to leave behind. No more negotiating meeting times, haranguing students (because yes, occasionally it has come to that), planning activities and initiatives in my community. Yet this year, in terms of project work, has been a revolving cycle of frustration, disappointment, success and learning. There have been points when I have forgotten that I had/have a life outside of Shivpuri. Entrusting someone else to continue what I have started has seemed like an impossible task and one that I could not carry out. Yet with two months remaining (literally to this day), the transition will need to be a change I embrace. What I have taken away from my pre-final Indicorps workshop is that it is not my right or job to see the results of what I have started. I was given a unique task in Shivpuri and isn’t it wonderful that I can’t accurately predict or fully realize the impact I made. I got to be a part of something much bigger than myself and that has made all the difference between feeling frustrated that I can’t see the change and being inspired to be part of the change.