Some of you might remember me taking part in the Jagriti Yatra (previously Tata Jagriti Yatra) and writing about it. This was in 2010.
Lately, many folks I know are being selected for the yatra, which can only mean that my circle has some amazing people in it. Attending the yatra isn’t free, and most of them wont quality for a full sponsorship. Currently the cost of the yatra is 46,500 INR. Getting to the location and other expenses can easily make the total cost of the yatra at about 50,000 INR.
50k isn’t cheap. My college tuition fees for 4 years was about 26k. Most software professionals getting started with their career would have to toil for 2 or even 3 months to make 50k. So when they ask, ‘Is it worth going to the Jagriti Yatra’, I can try and understand their question.
Short Answer: If you can afford it. Yes!
Jagriti Yatra is not a program that will teach you stuff or show you how to do stuff. Think of it as putting together 350 or so amazing young people in a train with some 75 or so more amazing people. And then take them around India for 15 days. Eating, sleeping and bathing in the train.
Here is one thing I know for sure. If you are just in the train keeping to yourself and hoping for the organizers to feed stuff to you, the only thing you are gonna eat is the food they serve. Oh, and if you survive the trip, you will win bragging rights and can fill in your profile pages with photos and an “I have been on a train across India for 15 days” badge.
But if you let go off your ego and start listening to the people around you, I have no estimate of the things you might learn. Everyone in there will be someone with a story. Someone who is making a difference and is trying to make a change for the better.
I cannot quantify what I have learned from the yatra. However, here is a brief list that I can think of.
- I have very few close friends and I met 3 of them in the yatra.
- Surviving in the train for 18 days (it was 18 days then instead of 15) is not easy. You become disoriented. There is no personal space. The food smells like pantry car. There are no luxuries so to speak. It’s grueling. It was the biggest physical and mental challenge for me at that time, and that gave me confidence to attempt bigger ones.
- After traveling for 9000 kms, a 100km hike feels easy and doable. I have never done that on foot; I have done a 130 on a bicycle though. Still, if that day comes, I know I am up for it.
- I was at a real low point in my life when I went for the yatra. One night a few of us were waiting on this platform with my group mentor and that talk helped me put things into perspective. It eventually helped me to make important career choices.
- I have associated with the people I have known from the yatra on multiple occasions. The network you build is one of its kind.
- I have bragged about the tour and the stories from the yatra many a times. Like the time we sneaked out and went to Jamshedpur to eat chicken. Or how we planned to make an escape and go to Goa.
- I got the first hand experience to interact and learn from multiple MBA graduates and I have used those lessons and their assistance ever since throughout my career.
- This list will never be a complete list. Jagriti Yatra is an experience. Like the Matrix. You have to see it for yourself.
The long answer is still the same. If you think you can indulge with the people you are gonna meet with an open mind and try and learn from them and obviously if you can afford it, I think you should not miss out on the opportunity.
Wish you good luck and Godspeed!
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