The State Bank of India sponsored Youth for India Fellowship, or SBI YFI, as we call it, was born as a CSR activity of the State Bank of India. Anyone interested can check it out here http://www.youthforindia.org/
A chance mail from the IITM alumni network had brought me to the unread mail calling for applications from SBI YFI. As I had already been at a point of self-doubt with the rote that I was through, my preparations for the civil services and other techie jobs, I was all excited to apply for the fellowship. A quick read through the website, made it clear that even if I end up getting selected, it’d be difficult to convince all near and dear. Disheartened and distracted, I closed the page to go about with my regular activities for a month. However, as pre-destined, on the last day of application, I somehow managed to laboriously fill up and submit it, just before it closed.
Barely a week later, I was getting a mail to confirm my interview dates. I had chosen day 1, and was actually too confused wondering if it was actually a good decision. The interview was really good and I had got very positive vibes from the panel members, Geeta Verghese ma’m, the Program Coordinator, and Joe Madiath sir, the heart and soul of the partner NGO Gram Vikas. Further steps of the selection process; reference, choosing the location/NGO and the batch; all happened too soon. I had selected the November batch to join, and there was some time at hand to convince everyone about my decision.
It was in fact not too difficult for me. I had been planning to stay in a remote location, do some volunteering work, although, only in my head and had never imagined that I would get a chance to actually do it, and that too with a stipend to support myself. I was convinced and was ready to convince all. Only when I began talking about my plans for the next one year, did I realize how big a social mistake was I about to commit. At my age, in my community, unmarried and not having a regular job, for a women who’s crossed 25 is a big disgrace. In the end, by hook or crook, I managed to get my point across, but people chose to call me insane and hoped that I’d soon come back to senses. It was a hurried exit from my previous office and home for the plunge of a whole year.
When I finally decided, I did take the plunge…..