Anaghaa Venugopal, a Mechie turned ‘Yuvaveer’ talks about why she decided to start her career by choosing a path often chosen by our ‘youth’ post-retirement.
Everyone tells us what we are supposed to do. Birth, schooling, engineering, MBA, high paying job, marriage, kids, and thereafter making your kids do EXACTLY what you did. If you manage to do all of these without too many obstacles, apparently you’re successful. And in between, just for a few extra credits or for your resume to stand out among a stack of others, you do what everyone else does: A stint in an NGO or community service. But whose interests are you really ‘serving’ in the process? Why, yourself, of course.
I believe there is a life beyond the road map we call ‘normal’. I believe every student, every youth must take a path he is comfortable with, and which he is passionate about. I’m not here to tell you what path you must take. I do my job to educate youth on the difference between the ‘normal’ and ‘what feels right’. I do my job to help them think. Because, unfortunately, that isn’t one of the things we’re taught in school.
Enough of the abstract. Here’s what I do everyday. I work as a ‘Yuvaveer’ with Chinmaya Mission. I go on a weekly basis to different schools, colleges and corporate, conducting workshops and seminars on basic life skills like –
There’s many more, really. All of these topics are dealt with from the standpoint of our scriptures: The Upanishads, and the Bhagavad Geeta. Okay, have I lost you now? Do you think these are texts to be taken up, if at all, only post retirement? You’ve got an appliance that comes with a manual with step-by-step instructions on how to use it, but you read the manual only after decades of using the appliance wrongly. Is it of any use? The Geeta is a manual of life.
The youth associates spirituality with sitting down and meditating aka impossible. But if you really think about it, theatre can be meditation. Sports can be meditation. Being in the here and now is meditation. And that’s exactly what I do. I organize movie workshops, group discussions, adventure sports, treks, theatre, presentations, games and a host of other activities: All different media to bring home the same point. No matter what you do, bringing your mind where your hands are brings forth a masterpiece. Why so many media, you ask? Not everyone likes the same foods, or the same kind of clothes. Why restrict our learning to one kind of method?
The Global Youth Wing of Chinmaya Mission is called Chinmaya Yuva Kendra, which very simply follows the motto: ‘Harnessing Youth Potential through Dynamic Spirituality’. Team work, skill-building ( I’m a Mechanical Engineer who currently manages events and talks for a living), humility, leadership, public speaking…I can keep listing, but I have to stop. But really the most important quality I have developed being here is recognizing HOW MUCH my potential is really worth which, needless to say, never really was tapped otherwise.
The youth are not useless, they are used less. ~Swami Chinmayananda