Some day in June,2005
At the Modern High School for Girls, Kolkata- My Alma Mater.
Somebody from the other end of the third floor corridor, called out .
‘’Anwesha, today is the admission to IAYP.Wont you come?’’
Me: ‘’Admission? Huh? IAYP? What on earth is that?’’ was my first reaction on hearing about the Award.
A friend very enthusiastically explained that it was all about trips and camping. Being complete unaware that the Award programme is much more that just camping, I somewhat unwillingly joined in. Days passed and the only significance of DEAS was the meeting held every alternate Wednesday at school.
I still remember those early days when the meeting room was filled with ‘’enthusiastic Awardees’’ and I used to silently stand in a corner, rather bored. Time was flying away at its own pace. I had somewhat managed to squeeze in three additional activities into my already over packed routine. The sense of it was still hazy in my mind when one day I suddenly saw a notice saying ‘Camp to Talsari, Orissa. A sudden desire sprung up and I knew I had to be a part of it.
Talsari, a sea coast in Orissa was just the place to be in. With breath-taking scenery and crushing waves hitting the shore, I first got the feel of the Award- the need to be equipped for life. The early morning treks, the coconut water, singing, dancing, with winds blowing my hair at all directions- I completed my bronze preliminary trek successfully. From there I came to know Mr.Bivujit Mukhoty, popularly known as Chandansir-my mentor, guide, assessor, my Sir.
With the next camp at Kaushani, near Nainital I qualified for my Bronze Award. The diary came back from office. It said ‘’qualified for Bronze, signed Mr.Mukhoty.’’ The sense of Achievement overpowered me. Just within six months, I had learned karate, took drawing lessons, proved myself at the high mountains and roaring sea and worked several hours at the hospital looking after newborn children.
The Silver Award was not far away. By this time I had realized what the Award could offer to the young people. I had felt the change myself. A programme which is non-competitive, which challenges you to better than just one person-Yourself! A programme that motivated you to utilize your leisure time fruitfully-a programme meant to ‘’equip’’ every young person ‘’for life’’.
While working toward my Gold Award, many opportunities came up. From attending camps with the ‘’special projects units’’ to making videos with them, accompanying introductory sessions at various schools and colleges to being a part of the Indo-Mauritius exchange programme, I did it all.
The content of serving the society, the joy of learning, the pat on the back, inspiring lectures, and few words of appreciation -the Award offered me more than I could want from life. It taught me to ‘’Cherish Service and Relationship’’.
While receiving my Gold Award on the 12th of May, 2011 all the memories came rushing back. The images ran in my mind like a slide show. Am I quite the same person anymore? I wonder if there is any similarity between the Anwesha sitting in the hall at Talsari with Chandan sir explaining the Award and the Anwesha who is considered capable of being an Assessor today. Maybe without the Award I could just be another student pursuing her honours , fighting with the competition, racing to come first –completely unaware of the learn meaning of human life. Who knows?
- Anwesha Ghosh, Award Holder, Mentor, Assessor, unedited shared her experiences with Communications Team on the way back from College.