Tell us a little about yourself!
I’m an odd combination of idealism and pragmatism, trying to achieve the former by leaning on the latter. I love to constantly challenge myself with new endeavours at work, in art, dance, singing and writing. I honestly believe that where we are is not as important as what we make of what we have.
How did volunteering with Bhumi happen? (Including beginning, which project you volunteered for?)
I had heard about Bhumi at the start of my professional career from a friend, colleague and Bhumi volunteer who had suggested I join given my thoughts on giving back to the community. Due to my work, I was in no position to commit then. When I switched jobs and had got settled in, I knew it was time to start walking the talk.
I hope to be able to give back to community in ways very close to my heart, through one medium or another, throughout my life. I needed a foundation and an understanding of how to do this – to learn from people who’ve been doing this for a while now and who I could learn from. In all these ways, Bhumi was perfect, and still is.
I joined LEM (Mathematics) when I attended orientation. LEM was yet to start for the academic year, so I volunteered for Nakshatra Arts as a Home Specific Volunteer (HSV). It was my first day with Bhumi and I felt my thoughts expanding; I was learning from everyone I met.
What change did these experiences bring in your life? How has Bhumi altered you, personally?
It’s been a humbling, enlightening and extremely fulfilling tenure thus far. I’ve learnt what it means to be patient, to truly empathize, to be strong in the face of adversity, to face and change sceptics, to lead people from so many walks of life, and to humbly learn from people younger than me but more experienced than me
I realized that this is hard work. Change the world and being someone’s hero is never that easy. But every minute you spend is, truly, impacting someone in ways you haven’t yet completely understood and like every drop makes the ocean, your every effort is precious.
Every day with Bhumi builds an extraordinary foundation and yields a new source of inspiration.
One most memorable incident in your life as a Bhumian:
On the first day in LEM, as we conducted the Baseline Assessment Test in our center (a new one), I was very amused by one ten-year-old child who continuously whined her way through every question on the test insisting that she knew nothing. I’d push her to just try to understand the question and clarify with me, if she needed, and she’d get the answer right every time, without any help. When classes began, I saw her doing the same thing for the next few classes.
One day, I asked her what she wanted to be when she grew up. “IPS Officer”, she said. I was very happy to hear about her strong-minded and noble ambitions. I told her mildly, “You know, they’ll have an entrance test for that. You’ll need math to pass it.” I didn’t even have to finish the speech I was building in my head. She whizzed through the questions given to her and I was more than happy to give her an “Excellent!” and two stars. I told her she had no idea how smart she is. All she needed was to remember what she’s capable of.
Sometime later she brought her school notebook to me and showed me that she’d got full marks in a test and the teacher had given her a “Good!” She told me, “I got this only because you kept pushing me.” The joy that sentence gave me warms my heart every time I think about that precious memory.
Tell us about one Bhumian, who has been an inspiration:
Sahithya. She’s a strong, intelligent woman using her skills to push the status quo a little higher with each initiative she takes responsibility for. I’ve seen all of us slacking at some point. She’s one of the few I’ve never seen slacking. She’s not about just doing the job; she goes beyond – sets a new standard and proves that “not feasible” is a matter of perspective. That’s just the kind attitude I think all who hope to make a difference must embrace.
Any specific, special moment with kids or volunteers you would like to share with us?
One that comes to mind is my day participating in CityCon. I really felt like I was in the right place, surrounded by amazing people so different from me and yet so alike in some ways. Everyone had done something wonderful to give back. Each had a unique story and a motivating reason to be there. It was an exhilarating experience.
A message to every volunteer at Bhumi:
It’s not important what brought you here. It’s important what you do while you are here. Maybe you can only join us for an event. Maybe you stay with us for every week for years. However long you stay with us, give it your fullest and do your part with sincerity. That’s really all that any of us can do and what all of us must do.
– Aakanksha Pevekar, Volunteer, LEM – Bengaluru