"We are only as strong as we are united, as weak as we are divided". At Udaan 2013, we had more than 100 participants, from 13 different states. And though, all of us were from totally different cultures, we all had one thing in common, we all wanted to 'Stop Climate Change'. It has been such a wonderful and amazing experience at Udaan, meeting so many people, listening to their stories and learning from them.
The moment I entered the Fireflies Ashram, I felt energetic and rejuvenated. The Fireflies Ashram is a spiritual centre that lets you connect even more deeply to nature. It follows the saying that, 'Each step we take on this earth is sacred and can enhance our awareness and joy'. All around the campus there were so many handmade sculptures and each one of them had a story behind it. Somehow I felt that no other venue could be as perfect as Fireflies for understanding climate change.
Every morning at Udaan, we would sit under a banyan tree and listen to inspiring stories from dynamic activists. Then, later around noon, we would have sessions to understand climate change better. We also learnt how to design our own campaign and execute it. Every day there were speakers from different fields including Nithyananda Jayaramana, Vaishali Patil and Kathyaani Sen. Said Nithyananda Jayaramana, "The fight is not to save the earth because the earth is self-sufficient. The fight is to save us because what we are doing to the planet is causing harm to us. What goes around comes around." Nithyananda is a freelance journalist and is associated with different groups and struggles. Same with Vaishali, she is associated with Ankur Trust and similar organizations.
Most of us think that villagers are ignorant and don't know about the impacts of climate change. But, Udaan changed my perspective totally. I met people from Raipur and Maharashtra who even though have limited resources have successfully fought against coal mines and power plants in their respective towns. They even shared shocking stories of corruption and bureaucracy with us.
One thing I personally liked about Udaan is that we recycled a lot. Also, working with other Udaan team members including Chaitanya, Ayesha, Renuka and Shalini was a great experience. I feel I also learnt patience and dedication through my involvement.
After Udaan I feel like a different person, all thanks to my team. Udaan is not just about going somewhere for five days; it's an experience that stays with you forever. Like Mahatama Gandhi once said, "You may never know what results come out of your actions but if you do nothing, there will be no results".