PMRDF - The Journey so far!

Its been a month since a new journey, called the Prime Minister's Rural Development Fellowship Scheme began in TISS, Mumbai and time is one thing that I have completely lost track of since then! You probably start forgetting the concept of time itself if you have a fixed schedule from 9 AM to 8 PM across 7 days of the week. The training began on 10th July, 2012 when 44 curious minds got together to understand what challenges lie ahead of them in bringing 'development' to the 78 Left Wing Extremist (LWE) districts across central India.
The first few lectures were completely about development theories and paradigms that really made me think if there was anything going right about the Indian state. Given a chance, I think, a lot of professors in TISS would take up arms themselves to throw out the State and bring in a Revolution. Thankfully, things calmed down over the next few weeks which were more about different government schemes functioning in IAP districts, Research Methodologies & Data Analysis and Project Management. However, the classes on Leadership and Communication to me were the most valuable ones in the entire training.   
The good part about the classes was that we were kept busy the whole day but without any pressure to perform in exams and so, we could participate and debate on topics we found most relevant and browse through the rest (The NCF Ideology suddenly starts making a lot more sense to me!!). Besides the classes, the visits to the slums in M - Ward and the beggars' home were particularly heart touching. The kid's story in Shivaji Nagar will keep ringing in my ears for years to come.
Also invaluable are the bonds of friendship created over the month. I ll hope to carry them along forever because I guess that is the only thing that can help me tide over the difficulties I 'll face in the worst affected naxal districts of the country in Chattisgarh. And I also have the added pressure of breaking the 4½ months job jinx that I have got into with my three previous stints! 
So its a bit hazy right now but I hope things start clearing up after 16th August when the second phase of our training - the field immersion starts in Raipur, Chattisgarh...

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