Thursday, June 21, 2012

Still with ASHA?

Education is the only way we can wipe out problems that plague today's society. (Read on, it's not about what you think!) It may-not be a quick solution, and hence may not look like the most apt thing to do right now. It may look better to find ways to actually feed some folks, create jobs, stabilize families. These will solve the problem right away. Some call is socialism, some don't agree with this paradigm. Neither do I. I believe in solving a problem bottom-up, from the roots. Hence education, to me, is the only way to solve societal, not just economic, problems. But everybody knows that and that's not what I want to write about now.

I have, now and then, asked myself, why do I find myself involved with Asha. Is it something I am in because I cant get out? Is it taking a huge bite on my lifestyle? Is this commitment more than I can chew? Answers to some questions are 'yes', while some are 'no'.

Asha has made me grow. It has been a project, an assignment if u will. To fit it within my life is a challenge and people of who can do it easily, there are examples abound worldwide, are honestly IMHO the best schedulers and managers! I find myself somewhere at the start.
It's better to explain taking an example. Take Asha Marathon team (Team Asha Cle). Now, a team doesnt get made just because some people want to run. Besides, in this case, the team  also has a target to do some fund-raising. So when the marathon season begins, we have an info-session, and then the training starts with our partners at NeoFit (extremely grateful, u guys rock). But that doesn't make a team complete. The purpose of the team is bigger, and to manage it, is a huge responsibility. Gives u a kick. That only the want of a kick can make u, at 2 am at night, think of PR avenues to spread the word, re-shape blogs and websites, write emails, is something fascinating. (And of course there are multiple ways to get your kick!) The want to plan for something bigger than your big effort last time. Make no mistake, running a marathon is a huge madness in itself. But something that is important to fuel and sustain this madness (yes we encourage and love mad runners) is organisation, planning, strategizing, forecasting and execution. All that they teach at an MBA course I guess. With every passing event I end up being involved in, as part of Asha Cleveland, it makes me a stronger person. Definitely more prepared to take on the world than if I just went to school, did my job and ate my sandwich. 

Imagine doing an event. At Asha Cleveland we do events as a hobby. Remember our Notes of Hope concert from last year? There were countless  adverse moments, outside and within the group, but we stuck together through thick and thin, got all the help we needed from our dearest friends, and pulled the show off. What did the junta who paid for their tickets say? If Asha Cleveland were a stock, its value wouldve, tripled,  no, gone ten-fold, after that event, and I'm not exaggerating, this is all feedback from our supporters.  Now imagine doing a Bollywood party. What does it take? getting the venue, getting the DJ, dealing, bargaining, publicity, and of course, D-Day.

The above paragraphs mightve sounded as beating our own drums, but that's not the aim and not what I want to do. I am trying to answer people who have asked me, directly or indirectly, 'Why Asha'? 'Is this a whole thing about fund-raising, supporting some poor people, etc, a sustainable thing?' Well, honestly that's a different discussion. Initially, for me, the whole reason to become a part of Asha Cle was due to these points. I wanted to be involved with something that has a worthy cause. But now, after more than 2 yrs into it, its more than the cause that keeps me going. It's the kick!

So all that we learn about management, trouble shooting, intelligent scheduling, PR, planning, etc., I get to do all that at Asha. Real time, with real people. That's why I'm still here.

See yourself doing a real-life project like this, not once a year as end of semester assignment, but almost every three months? Let us know.

(ps. Image taken from )