A journey of self-realisation through the Award


Gaurav Ghosh- Gold, Bronze & Silver Holder

It was in the eighth standard, when I was in Birla High School, Calcutta; that my ‘then’ Award Leader coaxed me into taking up a multifaceted challenge and I have never looked back. Today when I find myself in another city, pursuing a hectic work schedule, it is the tenacity and confidence that the Award instilled in me that keeps life at its vibrant best. At the onset, let me thank all the people who made it possible and egged me on through the journey- my Award Leader Ms.Bishakha Banerjee and my Expedition Leader Mr. Joydeep Ghoshal.

The beginning is a very nice place to start. In school, there were three distinct categories of young people. There were those who knew what they wanted and where they want to head; those who were utterly confused and ended up in the wrong place for lack of a better option; and there were people like me, who knew what we wanted but our desires were far from the goals of the ones in the first category. “All we wanted was to have fun at anything we did!” The Award showed me how much fun it is to do different things at the same time. Ever since I enrolled for the Bronze level in 2004, I have been on a wonderful journey of making friends, going places, playing fun sports, helping people and coming to enjoy a sense of social responsibility. All my experiences are a result of the choices I made, to do pretty much things I wanted to and I definitely have learnt a few things from here and there.

In 2006, the East Zone Authority selected me with a number of Award participants to be part of the rewarding Indo-Swinton Exchange- an enriching experience that involved interactions and adventure sports with Award participants from four different countries in the scenic Lake District camp. By the completion of my Silver level, I had developed an interest in adventure sports and I took a basic mountaineering course at the Nehru Institute of Mountaineering, Uttarkashi. This was the first school expedition from Kolkata where Award participants successfully scaled a six-thousand-meter peak in Himachal Pradesh.

In the six years of my Award Journey, I engaged in various voluntary capacities outside the activities I was pursuing for the Award. I served as the Editor of Reaching Out, the magazine of the East Zone Award Authority for two years, worked closely with Juniper Wings, an Adventure outfit, to encourage more participation and enrolments of new Award units in the city. The experience with Juniper also allowed me to embark on several Bronze and Silver level Expeditions as an Instructor and I enjoyed being a part of these expeditions outside of my own requirements for the Award. Simply put, the Award allowed me to make constructive use of my time, avoid boredom and gain a sense of direction to pursue avenues that I enjoyed most. I would not have discovered my love for the outdoors or the joys of volunteering, without the Award.

Apart from those on and off expeditions that happen somehow (in spite of law school!), my violin and my running shoes, remain close by my side. When I go back to Kolkata, the one thing that keep me connected to my entire experience are all the people and organizations with whom I worked for the Service section.

The Award does not teach you to preach, it teaches you to get involved, and get ahead. It imbibes you with compassion, skills, and the will to maintain a healthy lifestyle and helps you hone your talents. Most importantly, every Award journey teaches you a very important lesson about life very early on, one that you come to understand yourself with time- the race is only with yourself, and it is really how you challenge yourself in the journey that matters. If you have heard Baz Luhrmann’s ‘Wear Sunscreen’, you know that the Award is surely one of the best brands! Moreover, if you have not, I believe you need to go find this unique piece of entertainment in cyber space.

Not too long ago, I received a mail from my old school Award Leader about an interesting Youth Forum scheduled for July in Russia. Already crunched for time as second year Law student, I did not think I could give it a shot, but a few clicks and web pages later, I found that this seemingly just-fun and adventure-sports meet, is one great opportunity to gain incredible experiences- both professional and otherwise. At Seliger Russia, young people from more than twenty-one countries will converge in a team-building conference related to world politics, arts, international business and sustainable development among other things for a week this year. As the Gold Award is a very tangible part of my life, I look forward to begin another journey after completion of my Award journey.

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