A Pause to the Start
When other fellows started their fellowship journey, their worries revolved around accommodation and getting adjusted to the host organization (HO). When I started my journey of this fellowship, I faced a set of problems that I did not anticipate at all. I fell sick during the orientation itself. AIF supported me throughout, to get back to my HO location. I started two days late. Luckily enough, I got a supportive HO and they kept asking if I was alright. When I went in for the first day, I tried talking to people. Gave my introduction, talked to my team members, although not so much about how I was feeling.
I believe everyone goes through a time when we feel something but we try to deny what we really feel. The same was happening with me. With headache, feeling weak, I didn’t really acknowledge how I felt. When I reached home in the evening and checked my temperature, it was 100 degrees. I could only go to my organization for a day and then again I was in bed. I wasn’t not being able to do much. To be very honest, it was tough. For the first time I realized that being sick affects a person physically. But being sick and alone at the same time affects both mentally and physically.
After getting behind by 5 days, I finally started my fellowship journey with my HO properly. Understood the organization, understood the project, understood the people. I felt extremely satisfied with my decisions of coming to AIF, coming to this HO. It all felt so ideal, but, was it? It wasn’t the professional life that was bothering me, it was personal life that hit me hard. One of my close relatives passed away shortly after I finally began to settle in. The streak of bad news kept going on the personal front. All I wanted to do was to go back to my home…
There was a time when I couldn’t respond, couldn’t process, couldn’t sleep. But I had to go to work the next day. So I put on a straight face and went to work, that certainly wasn’t the hard part for me. The hardest thing to do was to fall asleep after coming back home, the longest I went without sleep was 4 days, felt like I was operating on auto mode. With time, I started getting comfortable with my HO, I shared my worries, talked to them, and took help from my other support systems to get back on track. This was the time when I had finally settled in a bit, and started enjoying my time in HO. I started to go to the office early, came back late, that was my escape from a lonely house.
Circling back to the Pause
Diwali is a much celebrated festival in our family, because of tensions on the family front, we were not planning to celebrate much. I planned to go home for 3-4 days for Diwali. Unfortunately I got the tickets for Diwali on Diwali late night and not before that. At this point, I was thankful that I got them but upset too as this would be my first Diwali in 24 years of my life that I won’t be there with my family. I came to make peace with it after multiple people asked me the question “Are you really travelling on Diwali?”. Went home after the day was over (After Midnight).
I spent time with my family, visited relatives, and before I realized, the 3 holidays were over, until I realized that I’m falling sick again. I got badly sick during that time, didn’t know what to do as the next morning I had to head back. Talked to my supervisor and she suggested working from home for a few days. I was a bit relieved to be honest, as I could not have been able to travel and handle it all on my own in my HO location. Fell sick, but I finally caught a break. Felt at peace, and maybe a little relaxed and enthusiastic to go back and start afresh. Now looking forward to the further journey. Just like an earthen lamp (Diya) of Diwali symbolizes ‘hope’, I am hopeful that the rest of the fellowship will be happy and healthy!