‘’ I thought the Himachal Pradesh could be a cold place,’’ I remarked as the sun was beating down hard on my face. The driver was taking his own sweet time to drive me down from Bodhisattva to Chandigarh, a full 300 km by road. I was to take the 5:45pm flight from Chandigarh to come to New Delhi. The excitement in me was as strong as the sun’s rays in May. I was dying to reach Delhi. And everything seemed to be stopping me. On reaching the airport, I heard that my flight has been reschedules by two full hours. I mean ‘’comeon, seriously?’’. There couldn’t be a worst day. Oh ! you might be wondering why I was going crazy to come to Delhi. It could be 12th May, 2011 in just a few hours and in just a few hours from now; I could officially be a Gold Award Holder.
So, here’s how things went. I was to attend a camp with Birla High School, Kolkata. We were to leave from Kolkata on 7thMay, 2011 and on the same day we had the zonal training workshop. Quickly wrapping up my session on physical recreation, I rushed home to change into my camping gear, picked up my rucksack and left for the station. We went camping to this beautiful place called Bodhisattva. You should go visit the place if you get a chance. The mesmerizing forest, the beautifully preserved ecology, the rushing rivers and tent stay made it an ideal camping ground. Two full days of early morning trek and then an early morning drive to Chandigarh to attend the Award ceremony.
The Gold Award ceremony was this perfectly arranged event. We first had the giving away of the Award by Mr.Vikram Chandra and then the GAHS AGM. All of the 51 people who received their Awards that day, were full of joy and excitement. Things couldn’t get better. The pride and honor can’t be expressed in words. You can feel it only on the day you receive your Gold Award !! Then the pride of being a Gold Holder followed.
In the month of June, I signed up as a volunteer with the Award. I was happy that I could give back to the Award and NAA could trust me with such a responsibility.
During the coming months, activities followed one another in regular sequence. First a camp to Mandarmani with La Martiniere for Girls, Kolkata, then a camp to Sandakphu. In between were training workshops, helping and guiding other Awardees, answering questions of the parents regarding the Award.
Then came the next big opportunity. A chance to attend the International Youth Conference in Israel. This conference was being hosted by the Ministry of Youth and Sports and Education in collaboration with UNESCO to celebrate the International Year of the Youth. IAYP, India was to send a delegation of four young people to represent India. And I was one of them. I was one of the 150 young people who got an opportunity to have their opinions heard in front of the world. So, November 20-23, 2011, I was in Israel talking and hearing about leadership and team work. It was a life time opportunity to learn.
Back in India, I have started executing every bit of the knowledge gained in the conference. As it’s said, it’s all about the experience. After all what is life if you stop learning?
Reading about the Award or hearing from seniors, you must have come across that the Award teaches you ‘’time management.’’ I wondered if that was really possibly. Can any self development program teach you all that the Award claims to teach?
The answer is Yes. The Award really does teach you everything in life. Even after all the work throughout the year, I managed to get a first class and stood 5th in my first year graduation exams. Now I realize that it’s all about setting priorities and wanting to learn.
I always had the urge to learn and evolve as a person. The Award gave me the opportunity and I am glad that I gave the opportunity to the Award to create such an amazing change in my life!