Working with UTMT SocietyToday in such a fast increasing chaotic world, there is no dearth of issues and problems around us. Hence there is no dearth of opportunities for people who would like to take a lead for such problems and try to make the world a better place to live in. Under The Mango Tree Society is an organisation that takes such leads through ‘beekeeping’, the term to which I had faint knowledge before joining it.
Until past few years, I have always wanted to work in the social sector and contribute to areas with lesser privileges. In an organisation like UTMT Society with huge inspirations and motivations, plugging around with a team of people with the right amount of knowledge and dedication, I got a perfect opportunity.
Working as a fellow with UTMT Society Gujarat gave me ample opportunities to learn about the importance of beekeeping and the role of bees in our food chain. I have witnessed beekeeping playing important role in many lives. Apart from noticing several benefits –such as – financial inclusion of landless farmers, curbing migrant labours or be it creating a sustainable ecosystem, the experiences here, especially on grass root level also demanded certain adaptations at times. Some facilities, which were once necessities, became luxury. Bee stings did not panic me anymore and a long hectic day in the village with no reception, a phone call from mother which I might have avoided in the past, felt like a comforting hug.
The interesting part of my work with UTMT Society was that there was no ‘typical type’ of day. Some days we would sit in the office with long meetings, planning over the course of the day, and some days were filled with intense reading and making research reports about different kind of bees or forages for them. Some days were about day-visits to the villages and some days interacting with farmers and listening to their stories. During these, I have also met some of the brightest people who have left far more comfortable lives to contribute to the society. Some days, everything looked unstructured and chaotic whereas other days, I enjoyed the calmness of this monotony in my life.
While learning and listening to the stories of colleagues and farmers, I have learnt about gratitude and empathy and how the same is different from sympathy. While working closely with different stakeholders around, all from different walks of life, each struggling with a set of problems that we generally do not fathom, teaches to empathise and this genuinely helps more to be able to contribute more efficiently in the problem solving processes. With this, I must also admit that the most beautiful places I have visited in my entire life till now have either been a part of a trek or a hike to hills or distant places, or were the locations from my field work, especially during the monsoon. I have had experiences of travelling to different villages in busses, making all kind of noises on Indian streets, only to reach to a place with splendid silence, view and peace. Places where river water is transparent and surrounded by lush green paddy fields, where people had patience to listen to my points and were always ready to offer the classic and tastiest local cuisine.
Last but the most important aspect- such an intense experience of working here has allowed me to explore and know myself better. As someone has rightly said, – ‘the answer to your questions, lies on the other side of chaos.’
India Fellow 2019