When the young inspire

You learn a little everyday… by meeting somebody new and by attending meetings, most boring and staid, until you find yourself at an event that makes you sit up and think. This happened to me last month at the Rotaract Conclave in Delhi where so many youngsers had assembled for a training session convened by RI Director C Basker. A refreshing change was the manner in which the batch of 2018–19 DRRs expressed their opinions, freely and sometimes even cheekily. Cheekily, considering that they were interacting with a bunch of very senior Rotary leaders, including DGs and PDGs.

That is what the young bring to the table; the ability to express their views freely, and this because they do not have too much baggage. Advancing years bring in experience, and hopefully, wisdom, but they also add on piles of baggage, mostly filled with negative memories and teach us the time-tested adage once bitten, twice shy.

On the sidelines of the conference, I grabbed the opportunity to talk with as many DRRs as I could manage. And I was fortunate enough to chat with RI District 3231 DRR Udhaya Kumar, who was chatting with his DG C R Chandra Bob. DG Bob introduced me to the youngster saying he has been invited to attend the International Assembly in San Diego in 2019. I wondered at Kumar’s low-key response to that bit of information, till I started chatting with the young man and learned his incredible story. A passionate researcher in energy optimisation, this young IT professional has travelled to Japan five times, and was offered a permanent resident status there with an attractive salary. He opted to stay and work there for two years and gave it all up… not to take an even more lucrative job back home but to strengthen the Rotaract movement in his region. And not in the big towns, but in smaller areas, and by doing so he has proved once again that your roots… the background you come from really matters. He hails from a tiny village, studied in a Tamil medium school and his family used to live in a mud house, till he graduated from an engineering college and started working in the IT industry.

These are inspirational stories; like others in his age group — he is 29 — Kumar too puts forth his views frankly. Read his story in this issue, and get inspired!

And then there was the opportunity I had of travelling around Chandigarh, RI District 3080 with RI President Barry Rassin last week. His two-day visit had a prominent sprinkling of events with Interactors and Rotaractors. You will get details of that visit in the next issue, but the crux of his message to Rotaractors was: India is rocking as far as the Rotaract movement is concerned. He urged the Rotaractors to engage deeply with Rotary, get involved in community projects and resolve to make a cent per cent transition from Rotaract to Rotary. The answer to that challenge is in your hands.

Rasheeda Bhagat

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