What is the other India? Why there is a gap between the rich and the Poor? What is wrong with India and how to set it right ? Now if you are Young ( below 28) and wanted to do something about these questions you have a range of choices to pick from. And let me tell you why.
In the last 20 odd years India has changed completely. For someone who went to college in early 90s and saw internet in 1998 and my first flight in 2001, this is a completely new India. Gone are the days of early 90s when all the young people ( then) were forced to choose between engineering, medical or Bank Po’s or something to do with the Government. Atleast that was the case in Shimla where I grew up. There was this constant fear of not able to get a job ( again I mean the engg/doc/or any other respectable job) and be on the street ( and miserable). I mean honestly my father came from a village to Shimla and was the first Generation wage earner. Without a job it would have not taken me back to the village.
So my decisions of Engg, MBA were pretty much driven by one factor: Get a Job and be on the safe side. And I was wondering where did I got time or space to think about bigger questions in life like ” what is the purpose of my life” what I’m doing to help the society”. I was just a regular guy trying to not risk leading a life on the street.
But that was early 90s. 2011 has a brand new India. There are so many opportunities. You can be what you want irrespective of where you are from ( Barring may be films, politics).
So a Young Indian in 2011 is spoilt for choice when it comes to “finding the purpose of life” and trying to make a difference. There are programs like the ICICI Bank’s ICICI Fellowship program,SBI’s Youth for India, Piramal’s Gandhi Fellows, Teach for India that provide a fantastic opportunity at the same time take away all downside. Isn’t this great?
I mean associating with programs like these give you the time and space very early in your life when you are trying to figure out the bigger What? question. At the same time , time spent in these programs is time well spent. For e.g the 2 year Fellowship program of ICICI Fellows not only provides you with a fantastic opportunity to work at the Villages of India but also provides leadership and management training to transform you into a leader. And the exposure that these programs provide will make you a valuable asset for any company, university or any other thing that you might wish to pursue.
My sense is that just like the west, in a few years taking time off from work and between studies like a “Gap year” will become an important trend thanks to programs like the one I mentioned above.
How ever there is a underline risk- this might transform you and you might find your purpose. And that my dear friend is always risky .