He said, "Part timers will have a target of enrolling 14 supporters in a month and full timers will have a target of 25 supporters in a month, you will not be given any leads you have to approach strangers on the street and convince them to become supporters. Now! People who are interested stay back and the rest can leave."
I was one of the 80% people who stood up to leave but I don't know what came to me, I sat down and decided to go through the interview process and see what happens.
After clearing two rounds of interviews I was called for the training and induction on 29th January 2002. Most of the first day went over my head. There was a major debate going on about genetically modified organisms (GMOs) between two groups, led by science students, who were on course of collision over its pros and cons. A commerce drop out like me did not have a clue what was going on.
February 1st, was my first day on the street as a Greenpeace fundraiser. I was standing outside the Strands Book festival in Churchgate, Mumbai. The first stranger I approached was a scientist from Mauritius. I told him about our campaign against HLL in Kodaikanal, skipped the GMO page, told him about all the work we were doing in Bhopal. Then I asked him for his support and got my first Greenpeace supporter.
It's been 10 years since that day, and even though I switched from fundraising to public mobilisation in 2006, I have been enrolling supporters every single day. Some pay money, some pay their time and some just walk away saying, 'Keep up the good work' and that's the most valued reward each Greenpeacer gets for the sacrifices they make. A reward that makes me wake up every morning feeling excited to come to work, like I did on the first day of my job.
Last 10 years with this unique organisation have helped me change as a person a lot, and for the good. It's not been easy always, but it's been fun. There are a lot of things that don't come here as a part of your job description, but you end up doing it because you want to do it. Things like wondering how to get the camels up to Gangotri glacier, or blocking a chief minister's residence with carcasses of Olive ridley turtles because he denied that there are any dying in Orissa, or loading 200 life rings on a little ferry near a fishing village in Mumbai at 1.00 am because we had only 2 hours in the high tide to get the boat close enough for loading, or climbing up a coal chimney and painting "smoking kills" on it, or occupying the roof of the Westminster in London for 27 hours and then spending another night in the prison, or pasting a notice outside Shahrukh Khan's house saying that he needs to vacate his bungalow in 50 years as its going to be under water due to rising sea levels. ......the list goes on
There have been some memorable goof-ups as well. After dodging a lot of security we unfurled the wrong banner outside Tajmahal in Agra. We wanted to unfurl a victory banner for a step forward in banning the incandescent bulb and instead we unfurled the banner saying "Ban the bulb." I was shattered for a while because of a missed opportunity, but when I look back its all these memories that make my last 10 years so very special.
Greenpeace has given me much more than I bargained for. I have made great friends, a couple of court cases, visit to a state prison for 4 days, Freedom to come up with the craziest of ideas and go out and implement those ideas, a sense of purpose and self belief and most importantly parents who are very proud of me. They don't exactly know the details, but all they know is I am doing some great work to save the planet for future generations.
I want to thank each and every supporter, volunteer and colleagues for making Greenpeace what it is. Please, never stop believing that we can't save this beautiful planet from all the mindless destruction that is happening because when you stop believing it makes Greenpeace weaker and I lose my purpose.
"Start a huge, foolish project, like Noah...it makes absolutely no difference what people think of you." ― Rumi