It was this time, last year. My big 30th birthday. And I had got the best present ever, when I wrote this.
Akanksha, someone once told me the closest they can come to explaining that word in English is ambition. A quick search on the internet and you see words like ‘desire’ and ‘want’ explaining Akanksha. Desire and want, are about yourself, to me they sound selfish. Ambition, does have a slight negative tone, smelling of arrogance, lacking in soul. All of these perceptions, connotations, synonyms are lost though, the moment you see the amazing work that the Akanksha Foundation is doing in India.
If you have lived in India, and are remotely interested in NGOs working with children, chances are you’ve heard of them. I had too. And found it inspiring. And then I read about the founder, Shaheen Mistry’s journey in the Rashmi Bansal book, ‘I have a dream‘ and I was blown away! The determination, the belief and the simplicity in her thought “in today’s world, how can the idea of basic education be revolutionary?” was beyond inspiring!
Art for Akanksha, is their initiative to provide the Akanksha kids an opportunity to get specialised education in arts. They design and produce a fantastic range of products and market them under the Akanksha brand. In my most precious birthday present until now, I got a chance to spend a day at one of their art workshops at their center in Worli, Mumbai.
It’s been a while since I wrote on the blog. Ironically, though the last post spoke of ‘a full circle’, it has worked as anything but closure. Not that I didn’t mean to write anymore, but if I had come across that post on another blog, I would’ve assumed that to be ‘the last of sorts’. Quite contrarily, that post ( weeks later) continues to bring me conversations with strangers.
In one such recent mail from Geneva, (if you are reading this, thanks once again for writing :-)), my ‘stranger’ wrote to me about soul to soul connect. And the last few years of my life flashed right in front of me! My most cherished memories, some of the best conversations in the last years have been with strangers, some of whom I have lost along the way and some, have gone on to become my soul mates (I believe you have many in one lifetime!).
One thing these experiences have made me, is a HUGE advocator of solo travel and open mind – so far it’s been the greatest potent combination I’ve seen, to make special connections. 🙂
Recently, I was at the Rainforest Music Festival in Sarawak, Kuching. I wasn’t traveling solo, and sure enough, when I am not, I don’t make very many strangers’ connections (that perhaps explains the deadly combination observation earlier on).
But something said this trip was going to be different – and I’m glad it was :-). There was music, a cultural village, meeting a few locals, world musicians, many a travelers and a strong strangers’ connect!