“What is this life full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.”
In a world infused with relentless pursuits to summit one peak after another and an interminable sense of maddening urgency, these words of WH Davies resonate with resounding amplitude on one-off lonely nights, wherein one transcends involuntarily from the physical to the metaphysical, and more often than not, sleeps it off only to be born into renewed vigor on the morrow. In a B School, this is all but a frequent occurrence, one might reasonably estimate.
But there are windows – windows that present themselves, not unlike the rabbit-hole leading to Wonderland in Alice’s tale, portals that once stepped through, take one upon adventures of a lifetime – delivering experiences that station themselves as beacons of hope, love and empathy. Over the past four weeks, one such portal was bestowed upon the ISB cohort at Hyderabad, and my word – the world beyond was magical to the core. Bandhan 2018, carried with it many things – among them legacy, traditions, expectations, memories and hope – hope that the spectacle would touch more hearts and forge deeper bonds. And in one of those rare occasions when reality trumps even the rosiest of imaginations, Bandhan fulfilled each one of them and much more. It was magic objectified and celebrated by many hearts beating in unison.
150 children from 10 schools (375 on the day of the finale), 175 odd volunteers, 12 odd clubs – social and professional – under the aegis of the Net Impact Club, 7 NGOs including Teach for India, over 30 contact hours, paramount informational and emotional exchange between volunteering mentors and visiting mentees – it was one extended fun-fair culminating in a rapturous carnival for the kids, on Independence Day. Independence Day being the finale is not by coincidence but by elaborate design, the significance of freedom being permeated through one and all engaged, intricately – at the essence of it the notions of empowering fellow humans who might not have been as privileged as most of us, of collective social upliftment, of being instruments to uncovering potential and most importantly perhaps, the joy of being platforms – however minuscule – for our future, the future of this nation, to fly. It can be safely espoused that the cohort reached new heights in their endeavor this year. And surrounding all efforts and results – from plays to song renditions to eloquent recitations and storytelling to heart thumping dances and more – was an overarching theme of boundless Mirth, equally shared by the giver and the taker, mirth that is rarely observed, let alone experienced in the monotony of our daily lives.
A uniform theme to the event would not do justice – it would be tantamount to caging a free bird. It can only be summarized as an experience. The beauty of it lies only in the eyes of beholders, of which there are many – both inside and outside the campus. For someone it was encapsulated in a wind chime they received as a surprise gift, for someone else it was a mere expression of gratitude by the kids, for some others it was a teary-eyed hug at the end of it all, and for some like me it was the mere joy of observing and capturing a few candid moments – getting lost in the smallest of things and emerging light-hearted, appreciating life a tiny bit more, celebrating the sunshine with a bit for zeal.
After all, in the end, isn’t it all about the memories?
– Syed Shakeel Imdad
PGP Class of 19