This week i seem to have been heavily swayed by music i probably haven’t listened to in over a decade, first N.E.R.D, now Missy. All convulated ways to get back to ‘My story of India: Part 3’
Yep. This is the third time i’ve found myself over here in 3 years. The first, the long awaited 51/2 month trip that did something to my soul that was decidedly dangerous if not incredibly restorative. Back in Feb 2015 I hadn’t *wanted* to go anywhere, I wanted an actual contract with my job, I wanted to stop being a casual on a crap salary and stop my self-esteem from slowly disintegrating. Whilst the 4 weeks did indeed put me back into that restorative space, the return made me reflect even more so. I couldn’t stay where I was, but I didn’t know where the hell else to go, could living in India ever actually work? Well, why not try?! They say you don’t ever truly know a place until you live there and have the opportunity to get under the surface.
I spent an entire weekend scouring the internet for options… There were certain key factors that were at play as in all job roles. Firstly – location. I love India, most of it. I’m a big fan of Delhi but long term? I don’t even think the beauty peace and tranquility of Akshardam and the multiple branches of McDonalds could keep me there for much longer than 3 months… I wanted somewhere I could picture, somewhere that had enough western amenities to stop me from going insane, wasn’t cold and was ideally coastal. Which doesn’t actually obliterate the whole of India, it left me with Kerala (not Trivandrum) Kolkata and some other vague possibilities. The ‘jobs’ I found were few and far between. The ones that paid well, came with incentives, long term contracts, relocation bonuses and my CV was simply not risk-free enough for a sane person to consider. I get that. Then I thought about volunteering. And entered a new rabbit hole of wonder, then a
colleague friend led me to an online community called, Escape the City (she asked what I did at the weekend, I told her, she helped) and that eventually lead me ever so slowly, back to India.
In less than 3 weeks i’ve gone from bottom of the pile to pivotal member of a growing business, a business that has social enterprise & education at it’s heart. All of those skills I’ve said i’ve got on my CV, are now being used to the max and I’m definitely having to prove myself. Career wise it’s great, however my personal goals for being in India are destined to become less of a priority – although not if I manage to
fine tune set up processed that can make the road rocky if not smooth, which would be better than mountainous!
So what’s changed and what have I managed to achieve? I mean 4 weeks ago my view was of the helipad of The Royal London not palm trees and potentially rabid dogs…
I’m a Program/Project Manager – it’s intertwined and I’m currently managing all of the operational side of the business, whilst training a staff member to assist me which includes managing, developing and providing online marketing support to 5 projects with 9 partners (an ever increasing number, we’re due to gain 2 more tomorrow) across the region, where I have no independent transport, no clue of directions and can’t speak the local language! And did I mention the ever changing team we have that work on the projects? Well I look after them as well, all of them. FUN TIMES! (On the plus side, it’s hot (did I mention that?) so I’m getting tanned whilst I write copy, tweet and visit our schools and orphanage sites.
It’s insane, it’s tough, it’s often minorly awkward and it’s exactly what the Dr ordered. Quite literally. Although i’m not sure they would aprove of the hours or my liking for thumbs up or my new dairy milk ‘dealer’ but you get the drift. I love my job!
The logistics however are a bit more complicated. It’s voluntary to paid which mean I get certain benefits and then after a set period of time some cold hard cash. It’s temporary with the potential for extension. My reasons for being hear are predominantly professional but I couldn’t be here if I wasn’t focusing on the personal. Instead I would be sat in an office organising diaries after all the temp agencies I met with in May finally got back to me, a week after I arrived here (irony) Or worse lying on my Mum’s sofa crying, or given recent hospital admissions and England’s prevalence for grass – back in hospital apparently.
I have until March to figure out what life’s going to throw at me next – all options open, including trying to get onto a Thai meditation retreat after my visa expires… but £££££££££££££££££££ and biological clocks and tick tocks and listening to others too much and not myself pushes me back towards London and the one thing I have to try and pin down, for the last time, is do I really, truly want to go back to a city currently over run by beards and craft beer when i despise them both?
Title words by Missy Elliot, duhh