I had a conversation with a good friend recently about his summer producing rice in Liberia. As he finished describing his project and where he hoped it would be in a year, he apologized with a bright smile on his face.
“I’m sorry, Bhumi, I feel like I can’t stop talking about this. It’s like I finally have a baby I can call mine.”
But I didn’t want him to stop. It was apparent that he was in a genuinely inspired place in life and his enthusiasm was infectious. The way he talked about the project goals and the personal sense of pride he attained from his team’s achievements made me want to catch a plane to Liberia and see the rice fields for myself. Later, he asked what my goals were when I would be in India and the first thing I could say was, “I want to have a baby I can call my own.”
Beyond the feeling of inspiration, I have no idea what being immersed in something will entail, but there are so many facets of India I want to explore – the entrepreneurial culture, gender relations, interfaith dynamics, socioeconomic structures, political systems. Despite having grown up in the country for eleven years and hearing about it every day thereafter from my parents and grandparents, I feel like a stranger to India. Yet, this is what excites me the most about being there for the next ten months – the feeling of newness, of wonder, which creates the motivation and inspiration to learn, connect, and act. I don’t know how my understanding of myself and India will have changed in July 2012, but while here, I hope to find focus in the work I’ll be doing with both Learn it Live and outside of it, build a community in New Delhi, and end everyday being in an inspired place. I don’t know what to expect or hope for beyond that, but I’ll keep you posted on how it turns out.