Shake That

Change is inevitable. Change must enter our lives in o1186321_10153231262055506_1976088631_nne way or another. Something beautiful must be destroyed for something even more breathtaking to grow from it’s ashes. We are defined by our elaborate belief systems, the complicated mush of neurons in our brain that are constantly dying for newer grey matter to take their place. If you don’t change your circumstances, your circumstances will be forced to change you – sometimes more than you can fathom. The earth is spinning, get on and start running today or you’ll fall off tomorrow.

But what about the stubborn ones? The strong headed ones? The ones so deeply immersed in what they know and who they are that it becomes impossible for them to adapt to the winds of change. The ones so confident, so upright, so fantastically comfortable in their own brains and bodies that they would rather stand still as the earth spins around them. Which brings up the pressing question – Why change? Why not stick to what you know and be satisfied by the knowledge that if you haven’t failed yet, you must be doing something right. And even if you do fall flat on your face, didn’t dad always tell you to get up, clean up and trod back on the same path instead of feeling defeated and choosing a different one?

One of the unique things about organisations working in the impact space in India is that they have very distinct work cultures and put out a unique image based on what they perceive themselves to be. Development sector leaders take pride to the point of arrogance in the fact that their strong belief systems have translated down to their organisations over the years. And why shouldn’t they? Maintaining your own ideals in the face of external and internal pressure is what differentiates a leader from the rest of the pack. The easiest thing to do is to change your strategies and policies into those that have been proven to work. In a country where social leaders struggle more than they succeed, the most inviting and probably the smartest thing to do is to adapt best practices and ideas from around the world into your working system. What with every other person here competing to change the world more creatively, more permanently, faster, bigger, better – there will never be a lack of bright and innovative ideas to pick from. In the face of all of that, it takes a great amount of courage and determination to stick to what you know, not get influenced by the pretty, shiny prospects the world has to offer and ignore the jumpy new born in your office with a folder full of revamp strategies for your organisation. What do you know about this world, jumpy new born?

Over the past few weeks through the Fellowship, I have transitioned from being the strong headed leader in my own organisation to that jumpy new born in someone else’s. I have new ideas everyday that question the existing structure to make it more in tandem with our current times. New volunteer outreach programs, communication restructuring, innovative impact assessment methods – all in all opening up the organisation to opinions and ideas from the outside world. Everyday I struggle with that thin line between shaking it up and remaining grounded. Between introducing new ideas that push everyone towards a new way of thinking and maintaining the core principles and values upon which the organisation was built. What takes priority in such a scenario? How does one open one’s windows to fresh new winds from different lands yet have one’s feet fixed firmly on the ground? Stay tuned. I know I will.

At 19, Tanvi started Becoming I Foundation - an internationally recognised youth led organisation that brings young people face to face with community development projects. The organisation has operations in three cities, a volunteer pool of about 300 people and projects established in the feilds of primary and secondary education, women empowerment, life skills development, inclusive education and art expression.

Tanvi started her journey back in 2007 when she began using her skills as a theater performer to encourage children to come to school. Three years later this led her to a community of victims of sex trafficking in Najafgarh, where Becoming I started it's first project with the women and children in 2010. Attributing a large part of her knowledge base and passion to the people of Najafgarh and her inspiring teammates, Tanvi moved on to being named a Global Teen Leader at the Three Dot Dash - Just Peace Summit in New York and then represented India at the G(irls) 20 Summit in Toronto that same year. Soon after, she was selected as a panellist to speak at the Clinton Global Initiative and then at the United Nations. Tanvi has served as an International Fellow with the Global Fund for Children in Washington DC where she assisted the organisation in their communications and online marketing strategy and created a social media tool kit to be used by their grassroots grantee partners.

Tanvi has been awarded the Karamveer Puraskar - a national award for social justice and citizen action and the Youth Award for Contribution to Humanitarian Development at the United Nations for her work.

A control freak, obsessive traveler, Broadway fanatic and Kathak dancer on the down low, Tanvi aims to change how volunteerism and activism is perceived in India.

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2 thoughts on “Shake That

  1. This blog is loaded with potential great quotes, but I’d like to pull out just one, as I think it really embodies what it means to be a successful young professional taking on a new role in a fellowship, ” I have transitioned from being the strong headed leader in my own organisation to that jumpy new born in someone else’s.” Here’s to all you jumpy new borns!

  2. Tanvi
    Not everyone has Newton’s luck and have an apple fall on one’s head . We have to shake the tree. How you do it without alarming the status quoers is an art. Most people actually believe that change is inevitable and welcome it. What worries them is the pace of it.
    But you are absolutely right . The time to change is when things are going right just like asking the Bank for a loan when you do not need it. When you really need it you may not get it. There is one saying in the US which really annoys me – ” If it ain’t broke don’t fix it”. How does one know that by breaking it and putting it back together you may not end up with a Picasso like masterpiece. I am also a great fan of Yogi Berra of baseball fame. He said “When you come to a fork in the road , Take it”!!!!!
    Go jumpy newborns.

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