This is a post by our guest blogger Siddharth Agarwal, of the Madness Project fame. Here he reflects back on his life altering journey and why the end is sometimes just the beginning.
A little over two months now, since the completion of the Madness Project and the customary completion story still hasn’t been typed out. This has to do less with willingness and more with what I’m going to write down in this article, i hope you get the message that i’m trying to convey. I had received an e-mail from Tanvi a week after the completion of the Madness project regarding creation of a photo essay that would wrap up the project and I ended up not replying to that email. It might sound immature to a lot of the folks reading this, but, i did not want it to wrap up.
In various conversations between Ujjawal and I on our trip across the country, we would often remark on how we’d be more than happy to perpetually stay on the roads like nomads, wandering with our cycles to different corners of this country and beyond. And trust me, if you’ve ever been out there on a journey of madness such as this, you will understand. I did not want to put a formal ending to the project, and i do not intend to do so even through this post. I shall only highlight a few points here, for a single post that containing all details will be too lengthy to read !!
As you continuously pedal your bike, kilometre after kilometre, hour by hour, for days and weeks, you realize the potential of your mind. You realize how much more efficient it can be if you make it work in a single direction, for a specific purpose. The continuous act of cycling did that for me, chained my thoughts and then made me churn it to produce more refined thoughts. It helped me understand things better, it helped me control my anger and increased my patience manifold. And it wasn’t simply the act of cycling, but the continuous influx of words and stories, the inspiration and support from friends and family, words of wisdom from books and strangers, and most important of all, experiences that we lived daily!!
We came across varied sets of individuals, from poverty stricken individuals to entrepreneurs, rural populace and urban settlers, and learnt from each one of them. What these stories, interactions and experiences taught us in whole was extremely humbling, and that is our biggest takeaway from this project. I would rate this gain of ours as higher than the funds that were collected, the amount of attention it attracted to the cause of Micro Credit and Child Labour and even higher than the fact that a number of people looked up to us for inspiration. In our takeaway in terms of learning, i believe we have been the biggest beneficiaries through this project.
I’ll recap my experiences with grass root entrepreneurs and Rang De borrowers, with field partners and Rang De team members in my next blog post, and i’ll make sure that you see the beauty that our country is. Before i leave you with a picture from from a field visit in a village near Sambalpur, Odisha, there area few last things that I’d like to say:
“To anyone who is reading this, go out there and do something that you think is beyond your limits, do something for someone who might never be in a position to pay you back for what you did. Rediscover your own self, because in doing that something beyond your limits and in doing that something for others, you will have changed yourself beyond what you think you could ever be.”
Also, i’d take this opportunity to announce that i’m undertaking another project in December, and that too shall have one of its intents to raise funds for rural entrepreneurs through Rang De.