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Life is beyond uncertainties – The spark of Doing What You Love!

Every day, at around 5:00 AM, I’d be rushing down the flight of steps to board the Churchgate local transiting through Vasai Road (a small town in the outskirts of Mumbai) to kick-start my day as a University student. In about 90 minutes I’d be at the Churchgate station at an hour of the day where Bombay still seemed to be dressed in the freshness of a golden morn. Treasuring the silence, I’d be happily strolling down the heritage lanes of South Bombay, or stop by the bay and relish the beauty of the morning calm. With the rise of the Sun, my hours would soon be devoted to attending Sociology lectures followed by French lessons until late afternoons.  Towards the start of a pleasant evening, I’d slip into the shanty slums of Dharavi and transition my role from a student to a part-time English and French teacher at a non-profit. This was what had got me productive during the weekdays. The weekends, however, were quite rigorously meant for short day trips and a volunteer project that identified me as an online English tutor for the orphans of rural West Bengal. Occasionally I’d also be gladly working part-time as a city guide, showing around hidden nooks of Bombay to guests from Sri Lanka, Turkey, West Indies, Canada, Australia, just to name a few! 

Bundi, Rajasthan

Right from my hours spent studying culture, norms, and society to exploring the diverse vividity of this globe as a Sociology and a French student, I’ve always loved the idea of materializing my learnings; in an environment that would allow me to share my skills and take it to the ones in need. Certainly, that was what led me to start working in Dharavi and eventually handed me a fellowship in rural Rajasthan. Simultaneously, my love for traveling to foreign lands and connecting with people from across the globe also motivated me to come up with my travel blog – ‘Steps and Streets‘ to share my travel stories. 

My work in Rajasthan was that of an English teacher at a rural school which parallelly also allowed me to travel and write stories during school vacations and long holidays. However, a few months down the line, a prolonged illness dropped me at the crossroads of quitting the fellowship and looking for another job in the development sector or diving into a less-promising career option of being a full-time travel writer. I chose the second one. The one that I’ve always had connected with. 

With my students in Tilonia

Tanisha with her students in Tilonia, Rajasthan

Since then, my travel-writing career has taken me to the remote villages of the Uttarakhand Himalayas, to lesser-known heritage nooks in Rajasthan, and several other parts of West Bengal, Gujarat, and Maharashtra. 

But none of this was a bed of roses. There still are days where I think of opting for a full-time job. But every time I think such, I’m turned down by a virtual loop of all the adventures I’ve had on the road ever since I got into travel blogging. Despite the pain and the instability of financially sustaining my life as a digital nomad, I’d never trade this life of pure bliss and pure struggle for anything that is less exciting than the one that I’m in. 

At an unmapped village, Uttarakhand

Ever since I was 17 till today that I’m 21, I’ve never thought of rewinding or living my life differently! As a less-experienced teenager to an ever-evolving adult, I’ve always chosen what rang with my passion. 

By the verandah, as I sip my coffee overlooking the fresh paddy fields of Bengal, once again, I ask myself, ‘how do I manage to stick to the drama of having a life with all sort of uncertainties?’, my gut simply murmurs, ‘That’s the spark of doing what you love!’

Tanisha Guin
(YIC Mumbai 2017)

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Footprints of YIC Impact Edition – 2017

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Everyone has a turning point in their life. Some might have experienced, some might be experiencing, while some would experience it. In my case, it was during the 4th and 5th March of 2017, when the 8th Young India Challenge happened in my life. I remember, one of my friend, Mahadevan, who also closely works with the YIC Team, telling me, ‘You must attend YIC, at least once, no matter what’! I filled up the application form and soon I got an email stating that I was shortlisted for a telephonic interview. Later, I qualified and got the chance to attend the 8th YIC at IIT Delhi! I was thrilled to get such an opportunity; which also meant that I could actually experience something new for the first time in Delhi. Yes, I could never explore Delhi before YIC with reasons given that I was an alien to that place!

Did I tell you that I was in Delhi for my post-grad? The reason to mention it is, I knew, I only had a few months to explore Delhi and I will be returning back to my place in Gujarat. So, YIC played a major role in taking the steps towards moving out of my comfort zone. Coming back to my experience, I recall, all the delegates were welcomed with a cheerful hi-5 from volunteers standing along the doorways of the entrance. Being an ambivert (more inclined towards being an introvert), my heart felt lighter. I was spellbound by looking at the number of students who were attending the event. From compelling real-life success stories to mind-challenging activities, every minute in YIC was a captivating moment. 

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YIC is meant for people who:

  • Want to do what they love
  • Want to become a youth influencer 
  • Want to create an impact
  • Are an active learner
  • Are social media savvy
  • Are committed to excellence
  • Have a global mindset

I belonged to the first group, I wanted to pursue arts, but fortunately or unfortunately, I was pursuing my M.Sc. in Biotechnology from Gurgaon. Although I never belonged to the 1% of the population who could actualize a change, I knew, YIC had influenced my mind in some way. From writing poems when alone to writing for a publishing house and a fashion magazine, I evolved to be a writer in its true sense. I couldn’t make friends during YIC due to my phobia in initiating talks (as I define it). However, I try to follow every person I met there and get inspired by their amazing works. I recall a few mentors and friends of YIC at IITD such as Onkar Sir, Durgesh Sir, Deep Shikha Ma’am, Pankhuri, Tanvi, Ishani, Vagisha, Nikhil, Mahadevan, and most importantly, Kamal Sir and Wioleta Ma’am; everyone inspired me to transform my passion into profession. 

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YIC was the foundation of my writing career. I could gather my courage to not work in the field I educated from and switched my career from a Microbiologist/ Biotechnologist to a full-time Content Writer. It’s been more than a year since I have followed my passion and guess what – No Regrets! The #DoWhatYouLove movement not only helped me step out but also gave me wings to fly and actualize my dreams. I always felt guilty for not being able to contribute to the platform that completely changed my life. However, the only way to cross these geographical barriers was writing! I was overjoyed when I was asked to be a part of the contributors’ network and I am elated to contribute my YIC experience through this blog. To everyone who contributed to enhancing my life, here is a virtual hug and a Big Thank You! You all have carved a special place in my heart. I am obliged to have met you. Kamal Sir and Wioleta Ma’am, you both are creating tremendous impacts on humanity and your contribution to Sustainable Development is unparalleled. The world needs people like you, thank you for inspiring every human you come across! YIC is and will always be cherished.

Justina Jose
(YIC IIT Delhi 2017)