My life was never the same after this ‘yatra’: Vidyut Varkhedkar, deputy collector PMRDA
Approximately 450 travellers (yatris) are selected every year in the 20-25 age group, who are either budding entrepreneurs themselves or wish to become one in the future.pune Updated: Jul 20, 2017 15:28 IST
Vidyut Varkhedkar is a deputy collector with the government of Maharashtra and is currently working with the Pune Metropolitan Region Development Authority (PMRDA). She has an experience of over fifteen years in administration. Along with administrative experience, she is also a passionate traveller. Her book ‘Diary on the Wheels’ will be released July 22 in the city. She undertook a 15-day journey with five hundred youngsters in a train. She shared her experience with Abhay Khairnar.
What is Jagriti yatra (journey)?
Jagriti yatra is an ambitious train journey of discovery and transformation that takes hundreds of India's highly motivated youth, especially those who are from small towns and villages of India, on a 15-day, 8,000-km national odyssey to meet role models - social and business entrepreneurs - of the country. The vision of Jagriti is 'building India through enterprise'. It is organised every year by Jagriti Seva Sansthan which is a not for profit organisation with its headquarters at Deoria, Uttar Pradesh.
What is the process followed in order to join the Jagriti express?
Every year thousands of applicants make a beeline to apply for the journey (yatra) which remains a flagship event for the event. The online application form asks the travellers (yatris) to answer several questions in the prescribed word limit. The applicants are expected to write about their role models, career plans, challenges faced, previous entrepreneurial ventures and the purpose of joining the journey (yatra). The applications are then screened and shortlisted by the organising team and the final selections are made after telephonic interviews. Approximately 450 travellers (yatris) are selected every year in the 20-25 age group, who are either budding entrepreneurs themselves or wish to become one in the future. The rest 75 become facilitators (like me) for the travellers (yatris) who have longer work experience and fall in the above 25 age group bracket.
Can you describe the usual traveller (yatri) profile?
The travellers (yatris) are a diverse bunch. They come from all corners of the country and from several other nationalities. They represent different geographies, different educational strata, different economic backgrounds and religious beliefs. They have different food habits and varied interests and hobbies. Some have never travelled long distance by train either because they always travelled by air and some because they had never had an opportunity to venture to a place that would require boarding a train.
What was your purpose behind undertaking this journey (yatra)?
My purpose behind boarding this train was to have an insight into the future of the country especially from the perspective of the younger generation. Though I had a bit of experience on one side of the table, the world of enterprise was certainly enigmatic for me. The startup culture has also been growing for the last few years in India and I had been reading about several efforts to encourage and nurture entrepreneurial instinct among the youth. Besides, this would be an interesting opportunity to interact with a group as diverse and varied as the travellers (yatris).
Why did you decide to write a book about the journey (yatra)?
It was surprising that none of the travellers (yatris) had ever put together a book on the journey (yatra) which is a life changing experience for all of us. As for me, life was never the same again, since I came back from the journey (yatra). There was a distinct before and after. When I shared the experiences with my close friends and family, everyone insisted that I write them down. Initially, I started writing them in the form of a personal diary but it slowly grew into something more. Though the experience is much more than what I could manage to pen down, nevertheless I am happy to have made this humble attempt. It gives me immense joy to be able to share it with the readers.
What is the lesson you learnt from this journey (yatra) and want to share through this book?
Like there are problems, there are solutions, like there is concern there is reassurance. Like there is despair, there is hope. This is the lesson I had learnt. I wish, I pass on this message through this travelogue.