Sunday, August 18, 2013

Working with Body and Mind

On 21 July, on arrival I checked in into a hotel on Rajpur road with a bit of bargain, after they agreed to give breakfast and dinner as complimentary for Rs. 1,500 per day. My room was in a corner, with very little light coming into the room. The pressure of work was catching up on me. On 22 July, Monday we had the initial orientation with Sarbjit ji leading it. On 24th we were busy in the morning at a Coordination Meeting called by  Sphere India and State Inter Agency Group at Hotel Aketa. Mr. G.Padmanabhan joined us in the afternoon, as we were told that GP (as we fondly call him) would be staying with us as an expert guide on the part of UN. So, that is going to be my biggest asset as I can count on his wisdom and experience.

We were given 10 days time to complete the first part of our task: clusterization of affected villages and prepare a Social Sector Plan for five districts. By the second day I could feel the heat of work, as I found that there is vast difference in the quality of people I had at hand. It was getting tough each day: there were several meetings lined up each day at the state level with various departments, break the grey cells to plan how this Social Sector Plan would look like, and coordinate the six district coordinators who had come with various experience, culture, educational level etc. And, as myself was unsettled, I was really wondering if I fit into the shoes.

In the second week, on Saturday and Sunday (27th & 28th) I took some time off and went around searching for a cheaper and better place to stay. It was certainly a frantic search, as I saw whatever little money I had was getting eroded day after day. At last I found a place "Butola's"--a new guest house just two months old. The rooms were clean and tidy, the room was bright, and even I had a bit of sunlight into my room at different times of the day. Though the place was about 5 km from the Secretariat (the headquarters of the Uttarakhand State Administration) from where I am working currently, it was well connected by road. And it was just about 2 km from my colleagues P.D.Mathur's home. So, at last I shifted there at Rs. 3,500 per month, and with additional 2,500 for breakfast and dinner. Since I found that the food is not worth it, after two weeks, I opted out of the dinner package and kept the breakfast only.

Once I got settled, I was now able to focus better on work. By 30th July I cracked the idea of how to make the Social Sector Plan, and started working on it. But, because the data was not coming from the districts, it kept dragging eternally, and by 15 Aug, we could complete just 3 of such plans. Two more are still pending.

But in the meanwhile, I have been able to get into lot of networking with several departments of the government: Women & Child Development Department, Education, Health and Disaster Management - to be specific. I also found some not so frequented sections to come around and help me. I took assistance of the GIS section in the Disaster Mitigation and Management Center and the NIC cell within the Secretariat to help me with several information or to validate certain information. 

I also grew in good friendship with GP, Sarbjit ji, Shachi, Rahul, P.D. Mathur, Shailesh, Divya and Aashima. Aashima left the team due to personal reasons after a three week stint here. I also got some new friends in the government: Mr. Sudhakar, Mr. Badauni and Ms. Suman. Things are shaping up for better. I have a hope of completing the assignment on a high, though I have to work long hours that take a toil on my body and at times on mind.

Note: Indeed in the second week, I was so stressed that I took a stress test and other tests relating to heart just to check if I am fine. Or, else I should quit this place. But, luckily, my system was able to take it and move on.

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