“Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds you plant.” –Robert Louis Stevenson

seedsOn Wednesday, we woke up in Chandigarh. As our guides from the NGO, Yuvsatta, arrived to take us on a speaking tour of the schools there, Mark announced that he wasn’t coming along as he was feeling ill. We had entered a new phase of our program and the pressure was entirely on me to deliver. Pramod, Rahul, and I all hopped on our bikes – and pedaled to the first school where 2000 students were standing outside waiting for my arrival. Enter the dream.

I don’t have much public speaking experience and am generally pretty shy, but have been put into this spot on enough occasions now that I’m starting to adapt. I surprised myself, by delivering a great little speech. Soon after, we were pedaling to a blind school, and then later to an all girl’s college, where I laid it all down.

That first day, I spoke to several thousand students.  Combine that with the following two days, and we reached nearly 20,000 students. All in all, it was a tremendous success, and based on the feedback, it’s obvious to me that we actually made a real, lasting impact in many lives – students, teachers, principals, and even the general public as the media coverage over these three days was extensive.

By this time, you’re probably wondering what exactly we are talking about to all these students. Since we don’t know any better, it’s been taking the form of life insights combined with simple messages about the power of this exercise – that is, of reaching within and gifting messages of friendship, peace, and love for others across the border as a way to help change the world.

Everywhere we went, we were met with awesome hospitality. It started upon our arrival at the train station, where we were greeted with bouquets of flowers, and continued throughout our whole visit, as we were warmly met with banners, lines of enthusiastic greeters, snacks, and more flowers. All along the way, we’ve been harvesting extraordinary goodwill – and are so totally lucky to be playing the roles that we are playing.

gurunanakAll of this coordinated effort and participation was orchestrated by one Pramod Sharma of the NGO Yuvsatta. Pramod is a selfless man of tireless action, working to promote peace in Chandigarh, in addition to running its only composting center, promoting bicycle riding a la Greentire (from which our bikes came), and running many other extraordinary efforts. The team around him is equally colorful and authentic, composed of Rahul – a terribly honest and emotional lover of grunge rock – one of the few in India, and Vikram – a robust, sparkly-eyed Sikh man resembling Guru Nanak who is an extreme lover of Nature and mostly vegan – also one of the few in India. I was most fortunate to be directed to Yuvsatta through their relationship with Gandhi Smriti, an organization in Delhi promoting the living legacy of Gandhiji.

In general, our efforts seem to be going national, as our base of support is growing, though as of now, we’re still lacking the needed support to make this as effective as it could be before our intended departure for Pakistan in late October. Day by day, student by student, we are planting seeds and touching lives. It’s odd for me to be in this role, but again, we’re just playing in the dream. This whole thing has been an accidental turn of events, which is just way too fun for now to put aside.