Super nervous, yet excited, although scared, but actually thrilled – I feel all things, at all times in preparation for India. India. I’ve never been, yet it’s already so much of who I am. Growing up, hearing my parents elusively recollect their experiences of life in Gujarat in the mid-1980s was enchanting, and now, it’s surreal. As much as I’m overwhelmed by this opportunity, the chance to live it is too fantastic to ever pass up. As much as I fear the unknown, the unknown has never really disappointed me, and I’m eager to engage in ten months of a different life. Different, yet if there’s anything traveling has taught me, it’s that people are people, no matter how dissimilar their situations. The human condition can be beaten, but it often triumphs, and the small beauties found in everyday life can be sought anywhere, although I’m particularly excited to discover them in Ranchi. The organization I’ll be working with, the projects on maternal and women’s health, simply being a Clinton Fellow – it continues to blow my mind. In many ways, I feel like in an age of perpetual “funemployment” post-graduation, I feel I must be dreaming this fellowship up. Yet, as the days have crept by, and the items on my “to-do” list has shortened, then lengthened, then shortened again, I’ve become in awe of this unique and challenging opportunity that is truly the ideal next step in my life.
I’m dedicated to proving myself – I’ve already defied popular belief by confining my life to a single backpack (the additional, smaller backpack I also have doesn’t count, as it is defined as “hand luggage). I feel ready to apply myself and to work on projects that inspire me as much as I inspire them. Expect the unexpected. Can’t wait until I can actually match that grating expressing with an Indian reality. At the end of my fellowship, I want to be someone who has opened, who has engaged wholeheartedly. I want to be someone who is confident as well as humble, better skilled in my own talents yet inclusive of those of others, and above all, wizened in many ways, but still incredibly eager to learn more about this world of ours.