The adventure started on 18th September with my journey towards Balangir (Orissa) from Bangalore. I was thrilled to start the new phase of my life in one of the remotest part of the country and at the same time I was cautious of what was to come next. To travel across India, railways offer the best mode of transport. They not only connect the India together but also provides with the glimpses of Indian culture and society. I boarded the train (Sambhalpur Express) at 00:30 AM from Yesvantapur Railway station in Bangalore that connects Bangalore with this part of the country. Being too exhausted during the day especially with the preparation for the next step in my life, I immediately chose to sleep. By the morning at 7:00 AM train had reached Tirupati (world’s largest visited religious place) in Andhra Pradesh. A lot of devotees boarded the train from there in their return journey after getting the blessings of Lord Venkteshwara, and with one such devotee I got a chance to interact with. He seemed to have a good knowledge of Indian diaspora and had been across various pilgrimages in India. We discussed on issues concerning India these days and about the unique diversity that has evolved in India. I didn’t mind of him being conservative in his thoughts when it helps in killing a few hours on your long journey. The train journey also helps the traveller in cherishing beauty of Indian landscapes, its rivers, villages and agricultural fields. By the morning of 20th September, I had reached Balangir station though 3 hours late. It is not uncommon for trains to get late in India especially that run quite a long distance. As informed earlier, Mahashakti foundation staff had been there to receive me at the station. The MSF office is only at half an hour distance from the station. You get taxis, autos and rickshaws from the station to your destination place inside the Balangir town. My first impression of the town was that it is very peaceful and most of the people here understand and can speak in Hindi but the ones who are at the bottom of the economic pyramid can’t. Your limited capacity to communicate with the people, especially the ones who can be economically advantageous to you, affects your prospects of excelling severely. The people here are welcoming to the outsiders and try their best to listen to you in your language and make efforts to reply in way that you can understand. Sometimes it can be challenging for the outsider unless you have a person with you who can understand local language and Hindi and can help you with the translation. It is the initial phase of the adventure and I have already started learning and unlearning many things.
My fellowship adventure Begins here