A Rendezvous with the ‘Waterman of India’ !

Writing this Paper shall be a fond memory as the curtain comes down for the Days at the YIF.

 Paper (Option 4) for ‘Group Dynamics and Leadership’ – Dr. Kenwyn Smith (First submitted in December 2011)

PROLOGUE:

The natural order is predicted on the principle of abundance, while scarcity is a psychological condition expressing our existential angst; the gift of manna is an invitation to take the spiritual journey from scarcity to abundance.”[1] This concluding note of Dr. Kenwyn Smith’s inspirational book – MANNA, In the Wilderness of AIDS had nearly left me in tears. The tears flowed not only because it touched a chord of my heart, but also because I couldn’t help but relate the tale with another remarkable story of a man with whom I had the privilege of working with and regard as a father figure in my life. In the same concluding chapter of the MANNA book Dr. Smith writes – “In the economic structures human beings have constructed, money can be made only when there is scarcity. Back when water was freely available, it was not possible to make a dollar off it. However, once we poisoned the streams and showered the lakes with acid rain it became possible to sell bottled water.”[2] I marvelled at this insight, because I know it to be true, not from a series of researched facts but having experienced a journey learning about the politics of water in India (likewise, any other developing nation) first-hand.

The story I share here is of a man who toiled and fought hard and brought water in abundance in that part of India known to be a ‘Dark zone’[3] for water scarcity. If MANNA is about abundance in food, this story of Tarun Bharat Sangh (hereinafter referred to as TBS) is of combating water scarcity and letting the deserts flow in abundance. Truly, the elevation came when the remarkable energies of the masses were joined together to create synergistic possibilities previously only imaginable in dreams.[4] I too became a part of this incredible synergy when I witnessed this Herculean effort. It thus is a very humbling moment to share the story within the story through this paper, after re-examining it using the lens of a transformative act of leadership that enhances the well-being and value to the most vulnerable fragments of our society.

A BACKDROP:

It looks as if ‘the Environment’ is an idea whose time has come.[5] The world is abuzz with debates of the recent COP-17 Climate negotiations that happened at Durban earlier this month.[6] Newspapers and editorials can be seen quoting the standpoints taken by different countries in the world on carbon emissions. Climate Change is now called a “wicked problem”[7] – it does not present with it a solution – and nations often repeatedly ask – Can ‘equity’ in global atmospheric space really be attained?[8] Each time the news of another (failed) environment conference comes to the forefront, the budding environmentalist in me is convinced that–“Unlike the situation in the West, the question of environmental destruction in India is not an issue related to quality of life but rather a matter of survival.”[9]

If ‘Environment’ is about ‘Ecology’ and ‘Development’ about ‘Economics’, there is a third ‘e’ is that of Equity. Our rich, dynamic and multi-faceted India has 80 per cent of its population having access to only 20 per cent of resources, and the remainder 20 per cent demands and consumes 80 per cent of available resources. This skewed figure gives a different perspective to economic growth and human development, especially while discussing sustainability. Consequently, peace and harmony prevails where there is ‘environmental justice.’ – Resource sharing even amongst marginalised communities.[10]

I am fortunate to have witnessed a story of where environmental justice and social equity was attained long before these ideas were even conceptualised. The narrative I shall follow here is therefore more personal than political and truly where I am convinced that ‘the greatest insight comes from the most vulnerable in our midst’[11] and also   ‘the miraculous is contained within the mundane.’[12]

RAW BEGINNINGS:

May 2008 marked a turning point in my life. It was an experience so intense that I do not talk about this experience randomly. It is fortunate that this paper allows me to explore my experience in a manner that befits the learning and values I could imbibe from in there.

I was an innocuous twenty-year old back then, full of ideas about changing the world. As a law student in my Third year – I believed that Environment Law was my true calling and if the Indian body of laws and policies, on environment had all its implementation mechanisms in place, the solution to the ‘environment vs. development’ problematic[13] could easily be grasped. I would intern every summer with a non-profit environment group, as opposed to a law firm or an advocate with a hope that the travel to a new corner of India and the grass-root experience would teach me more about environment laws than what was taught inside our classroom.[14] An internship with Tarun Bharat Sangh (TBS), in Alwar district, Rajasthan gave me all that and much more. TBS is led by Rajendra Singh who is the recipient of the 2001 Ramon Magsaysay awardee for Community leadership – and is also known as ‘Jalpurush’ or the ‘Waterman of India.’[15] I was in awe of him before I met him, and four years since after having resided as a guest in his house, travelled with him across three states in India, translated his works and maintained a friendship with his family, continue being in awe of him today.

Within minutes of interacting with him, I realised that ‘BhaisaabTranslation:(Elder Brother/Sir) as he is fondly known by the villagers and NGO workers is no ordinary person, and despite being someone who has faith in the legal and democratic system said one thing to me so matter-of-factly, that it has remained etched in my memory forever. I can still hear his voice inside my head – in the deep respectful tone it has saying “Chiteisri, aap ek baat ko samajh lijiye – adhiktar kanoon sirf bade logon ke liye banaye jaate hain. (Translation: Chiteisri, Just understand one thing very clearly – most of the laws are made only for the big {or rich and powerful} people)  The solution lies with people, and not our laws.” As the main objective of TBS reads “…Good intentions, good policies, good decisions must turn into effective action. Work is not done by having a lovely plan. Work is not done by a magnificent statement of policy. Work is done, when it is done. Done by people…”[16]

So there I was at the village having made a resolution. If I thought I could ‘help’ these villagers with all my knowledge of Law, I was quite mistaken. I was illiterate to the language of the land, the forest and the people of Alwar district and my first lesson here would be to learn from them. I should also mention here that this was learned after a hard lesson of pain and discomfort, which could have been altogether avoided, had I been less arrogant about my so-called education.

The previous night, was when I had arrived at the village, and was promptly attacked by mosquitoes. It was a sweltering summer night, where I felt compelled not to use the thin cotton sheet to cover myself. But this obviously could not prevent a series of continuous mosquito bites. The table fan that thudded for part of the night also screeched to a jarring halt when there was a power cut so my last option to have a hot breeze, keeping mosquitoes at bay was gone. Come morning and my hands were splotched with bites that had turned into an angry shade of red by the more I tried to alleviate them with numerous forms of anti-mosquito creams and balms.  Bhaisaab quietly watched me in agony and after I began applying Odomos (a mosquito repellent) for the third time told me to follow him, with a grinding pestle and a steel bowl to the little patch of forest at the back of the headquarters campus. He pulled down a few stems of raw Neem, ground it into a thick green paste and applied it onto the red patches on my arms. It stung for about fifteen minutes, and then suddenly felt a minty cool. He asked me to wash it off and Voila! The large red boils had shrunk into tiny dots. I did not feel the urge to scratch on them after that. I stared in wonderment – and from that moment I was convinced I needed to throw aside some pre-set belief system that the ‘city-way was the scientific and right way’ – and just be. After Bhaisaab and the community believed that my eyes had now ‘opened to their world’ they began telling me their story.

THE JOHAD and the JOHAD-WALA BABA: [17]

I was first astonished to learn that back in 1975 when Bhaisaab first came to Alwar district, he was as much of an ‘outsider’ educated and qualified to practice Ayurveda by a prominent college in Baraut, Uttar Pradesh. In pre-liberalised India, his qualification would have earned him a government job, guaranteeing to a comfortable life and prospects. He was the eldest son of a wealthy landowner, but had been motivated by social work since boyhood. I later learned of many of his childhood influences but in his words – “My own story is not that important – I am only a face to the world for a thousand others like me.” He and four others, who were students of the JP Movement[18], had one day boarded a bus that finally stopped at the village called Kishori (where the headquarters of TBS was now located). They had disagreements amongst themselves and were viewed with scepticism and derision by the villagers when they let it be known that they were desirous to start a school and lend free health services to the villagers.

Kishori, Bhikampura and Gopalpura – the three nearest villages in Thanagazi tehsil of Alwar district[19], was a barren land back then – wells were dry, forests were mere shrubbery and the menfolk of the villages had mass migrated to nearby cities for work, leaving women alone to tend to agriculture, largely pastoralist nomadism and grazing. When the young outsiders asked the womenfolk to send their daughters to the free school, they were struggling to even develop, not one family had obliged.

It was a sixty-year old farmer named Mangu Lal Patel who had provided the much needed direction to Bhaisaab and Co. He asked them “Why did you come here?” “To do some social work,” they replied. ‘We’re not interested,” he told them, ‘outsiders are always coming, making studies and doing nothing. If you are interested in helping the village, build a johad.”

Johads are the traditional system for harvesting rainwater in Indian villages – the same structure has different names across the length and breadth of the country – but the functioning essence of it lies in this – small earthen check dams that capture and conserve rainwater, allowing it to percolate and recharge the groundwater aquifers below. It is usually a semi-circular pond, outlined by a convex solid wall that collects the run off waters from tiny streams and rivulets of a much wider area.

While Bhaisaab agreed to follow the villager’s directive, his comrades were not in favour of taking up menial labour – at least teaching was not work with their hands for the city-based youths. Bhaisaab himself wondered how – in a village of women and elders, his lack of experience in engineering or manual work would assist them. But he was assured by Mangu Lal that rather than engineering – it was firm commitment on the part of one youth that was really needed.

Gopalpura village was where the first johad was built. When the monsoon arrived that year – many of the young men had returned so Bhaisaab convinced them to assist in re-building two other badly maintained johads, with each household contributing to a per cent of its annual maintenance and repair. The nutrient rich top soil of the johad was used as raw silt for many dry fields, and harvest for Gopalpura doubled that year. What was more was that groundwater aquifers were recharged to its full capacity for the next six months, which had convinced the nearby villages to approach him rebuild their own johads. In the next three years – three adjoining districts had over one hundred johads built from scratch or temporarily restored. This was the era of the 80s when until a marked resurgence in crop wasn’t noticed – not a single government official had taken notice of this ‘Dark zone’ for water scarcity. In this desert and for the thirty years of Indian Independence – it was Bhaisaab who first made this stupendous effort for doing ‘anything that contributed to the development of these villages.’[20]

An internal network of village elders began to organise themselves, marching across different villages to spread awareness of this network. TBS had now set the task up for themselves to re-build johads and ensure that every habitable village had “access to potable groundwater all year.”  Water, he realised was the one catalyst for public health, education, poverty reduction, sustainability and economic dynamism. Bhaisaab even quoted the Holy Koran to me – and quoted that every religious text on Earth acknowledges that ‘By means of water, we give life to everything.’ In the next decade – a network of TBS followed over 675 check dams built across Alwar and saw the topography of the area change. Bhaisaab and his small band of youth volunteers had gained the trust of villages in other districts across northern Rajasthan and would march for days on end –spreading awareness, planting trees and calling for community based action to rejuvenate their own environment (independent of any external agents). What nobody anticipated but seemed to be Mother Nature’s reward for the decade gone by in building johads, one village at a time, was that a river sprang back to life! It was Nature’s abundance that when groundwater was tapped and recharged to its full potential, the river basin saw many of its tiny rivulets forming a perennial channel of water – by 1995. This motivated many other communities – cutting across several caste barriers to work towards water-harvesting, six other rivers had been rejuvenated – two of which were again perennial.

The community of people formed a local parliament once the river revived, mutually agreeing to manage the land, water supply, grazing tracts etc. entirely by themselves. The small act of water-harvesting had multiplied to a working system of self-governance.

I listened to this story in awe – it had run well into late night. I was struck by one remark Bhaisaab would constantly make – especially if someone else was filling me in on the story if he was busy attending to some other work. He would insist that at every place TBS went, the solution to the problem was already known or found amongst the villagers themselves. He would credit the local farmers for teaching him to build the specific type of johad after understanding the objective, the topography, catchment area, and soil type – all of an ancient wisdom of earth science principles used to recharge groundwater. TBS was to only act as a facilitator, and often leave after the johad was built or water source re-examined or replenished.

More so, every person in the village would invest in their johad – as they could foresee a return – in some cases about ninety per cent of the investment in the johad was made by the villagers themselves. TBS had gathered funding from a few international NGOs and support agencies – but the founding principle to build the johad was always to have the village contributing to its costs and then governing it completely by its own democratic principles. As women were the constant residents in the villages, each Gram Sabha (or local parliament) would have a woman running it by default.

Bhaisaab until this day, has been revered by the villagers of Alwar as the miracle man or the divine presence – fondly also known as the ‘Johad-wala baba’ or Johad-God. TBS has won several awards, and his enemies in the Government became his allies. He is now involved in reviving rivers in the Himalayas and is campaigning in preventing mass construction of large dams on the upper stretches of the Ganga, a campaign that I actively became involved in the following year (2009) as his intern – where he genuinely applauded the laws I could look up to assist him! Indeed he believes it to be paradoxical – having built so many check dams in one state of India he must now fight to prevent the construction of a massive run-of-the-river type dam on the Ganga in another state.[21] The battle continues in different states as water, he believes, shall always be the most contentious issue in India. But the success of TBS’s work, “is the triumph of the traditional, of the people over classroom learning.” His concern has been to “fight injustice against people” and “to clean the society of all evils.”[22] He has pursued his goals and drawn strength and inspiration from the trust and faith of the communities. “I am a follower of the community, and the community made me a leader,” he says.[23]

THE ACT OF LEADERSHIP: A Defining Moment

“By means of water, we give life to everything.” This simple teaching is based on a deeper wisdom – that water is ‘life’. Clean water and sanitation sustains an individual’s health and dignity. Beyond the household, water also sustains ecological systems and provides an input into the production systems that maintain all livelihoods.[24]

When people are denied the access to water as a resource their choices and freedoms are constrained by ill health, poverty and vulnerability. Approximately 1.1 billion people in developing countries today are denied access to water, and about 2.6 billion people lack basic sanitation. The paradox to this problem lies in the fact, that the problem is not due to scarcity as understood by the Malthusian model of development constraints.[25] The deficit is due to institutionalized inequality and political choices. Sharing of water using the principles of sustainability and equity for all of humanity stands as the single biggest challenge for security in the next century as Water and Environment shall be at the heart of the anticipated crisis.[26]

But if we are to take the lessons from the MANNA book or stories like TBS, would conventional economics take the teachings of stories of a paradigm in Abundance instead of the scarcity model?  Rather than the person or the organisation, The TBS story and Rajendra Singh’s life is the illustration of Leadership that deviates from the classical approaches to leadership where an endless debate continues on whether ‘Leaders are born or leaders are made.’ What was seen here very clearly, was rather the ‘act of leadership’ in essence, the leap of faith taken by Bhaisaab to dig, mould and re-build the first johad at Gopalpura village, when no other person, entity (State) did – and more so to absorb the beliefs of an old villager in ancient wisdom that could stand the test of time. Bhaisaab was later filled in by Mangu Lal that the old johads had ‘failed’ purely due to a political and caste-based conflict – but the science of the johad had always withstood the test of time – Mother Nature shall replenish only those who nurture her.

The act was transformative – even Government officials in the 90s had to applaud the community-based efforts and take lessons from TBS in understanding any topography before they proceeded to build check dams for other programmes. Over 377 criminal complaints that were lodged against Rajendra Singh every time he was called to intervene in a village were recalled in the one day the President awarded TBS in 1994. It is astonishing to observe, but ancient Indian wisdom is quite similar to the principle of abundance – Nature shall provide for the Manna to feed and drink all, it is Man’s control on Nature that depletes her instead.

The very same principle is enunciated in Mahatma Gandhi’s words – “The Earth has enough for everyone’s need, but not for anyone’s greed.” When we scrutinise the TBS story further, the multiplier effect is obvious – water-harvesting to village economies, gender rights and community governance – but all of it could prove to be a success largely when it was for the community’s needs.  A remote instance of Greed negated the multiplier effect – as I was told a particular village Head had privately sold his johad to a Fisheries contractor illegally. Within two months, the water quality depleted and riot was imminent between the other villagers and a few who gained monetarily by the presence of the ‘absentee Fishery Department.’ TBS had to intervene on behalf of the villagers to remove the contractor (pay back what he had invested) and restore Nature’s own balance in that village ecology. Similarly, TBS had a long-drawn legal battle that nearly cost the life of Rajendra Singh against the mining lobby of Alwar district (red sandstone is mined there) when common property resources in the hills would be illegally transferred to the absent or dead residents of villages, only to be taken over by miners the very next morning. Stories I often here from TBS and Bhaisaab continue to be illustrative of how a fine line is drawn between Need and Greed every single day – on questions of Environment, people, conservation and Development.

The positive social, ecological and collective impact of the act of leadership outweighed the costs and the deficits of that act. Bhaisaab had to un-learn most of what he had learned in life, be hailed as a madman by a few of his relatives and more so lose out on the support of a few dear comrades in the beginning of his journey with TBS. At several villages, the residents would spend hours into the night doing manual labour for the johad and reduce the work in the day on their farms in order to re-build their community. The paradox of the effect lay in the individual sacrificing for the collective – only such that the individual who sacrificed the most would be richly rewarded on their behalf.[27] Each of the paradoxes of Engaging comes into play here – TBS grew when they placed their Trust in the collective wisdom of each new village – gaining intimacy, seeking their knowledge of the past and disclosing the very obvious and seemingly uncomfortable reality that they would only be able to facilitate, not donate to each village’s enrichment.[28]

Lastly, the act of leadership – water harvesting in the case of TBS added value to most vulnerable fragments of Indian society – marginalised caste communities, nomadic tribes and women. Especially young girls would spend hours walking in the arid region for search of water to support her family’s most basic needs – sustenance. The consequence of empowerment to women and scheduled tribes were of how their voices were now heard in the river parliaments subsequently formed.

This approach affirms that leadership is about change, about power, about releasing untapped capacity, about giving birth to the possible; and it highlights that change, power, and realizing possibility are embedded in relationships, both the established and those being brought to life. Alwar district and the districts nearby were de-classified from being dark zones in the 1990s once seven rivers had rejuvenated as a reward to the community’s collective efforts. Water flowing in a desert – I believe there could be no better instance of releasing untapped capacity or the impossible to possible. It was an event deemed miraculous, but mundane for old Mangu Lal at the point where he believed it was only a simple reward for their community’s effort to replenish their environment. In 2008, power problems in Kishori and Bhikampura persisted when I visited there, but drinking water is still available to every household all year – merely because a judicious use of wells and johads continue to be the norm.

CONCLUDING REMARKS:

It has been over four years since I associated with TBS and I still maintain that the summer of 2008 has been one turning point of my life – even what is yet to come. Nothing that I have learned in a classroom has outweighed the period of learning or rather un-learning there. In fact I now am able to give a better context to TBS via ‘the act of leadership.’ and stand convinced to that take that Leap of Faith[29] I envisage upon finishing this year at the Young India Fellowship. Bhaisaab is and has always been someone who as Dr. Kenwyn Smith describes “thinks relationally.” I wanted to join TBS immediately post Law school, but he believes that I must engage and study further not only because it would befit my understanding of his work better but also enable to earn for myself – I being the only child of my single mother who is now on the verge of retirement. He would like for me to be involved in making a forum nationally and globally to understand the voices of those unheard when the basic question of resource-sharing in water arises.

Bhaisaab continues to speak in Hindi and does not use a laptop for his communication needs. Yet, he understands that times will evolve and a band of volunteers in the future can balance being locally present and globally significant – if and only if, we are taught well from the local, regional and global levels. He thus is strongly for my studying Riparian Ecology from a standard University abroad – and broadening my own horizons, believing that then and there will be where I can contribute to TBS better. As he moves to a different environment – from the deserts to the mountains, being currently in a campaign against large dams and representative of the ‘NGO’ voice at the National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA), there hasn’t been a single instance where I hear him narrating the TBS story to support his arguments for an intervention. Instead at 50 plus, he approaches every new community (whether the Prime Minister’s cabinet or a plethora of Saints at the Ganga) with a humble declaration that he must learn the ways of their water only from them. Over 8600 water-harvesting structures – have been built across India by some direct or indirect intervention of ‘the Waterman’ – but not all of them are johads, and neither does he ever let his name be imprinted into its creation. The language of water is beyond boundaries, he argues – how can one man ever claim to be the authority on ‘water’ its access and use and rights to all?

I believe that it is this ability to think relationally each time that creates the Paradox of Dependency unto him.[30] He has now become considerably powerful in the mainstream media for any water-based issue and yet, chooses his words and stance very carefully. Often, he uses his authority to authorize the others of his group and one sees his tremendous Courage and Creativity[31] – when all those around him fear doubt and total despair.

He is a simple man, but with profound insight gained from the simplest of lessons. I am convinced that when I meet him early next year and be given the opportunity to share this learning of the ‘principle of abundance’ – he will not only agree but enrich my understanding further with several other stories of voices unheard and personalities quite unknown who engaged in acts of leadership but refuse to be called ‘leaders’ in humility . Each day I feel a tremendous burden on the small role he would like to see me play – stating “Just be you – your time will also come.”

 

 

[1] Dr. Kenwyn Smith, MANNA: In the Wilderness of AIDS,( Pilgrim Press, Cleveland, 2002) Conclusion at pg.205

[2] Ibid at pg.209

[3] Regions in India are marked as Dark Zones to White zones for Water based on the availability of potable water by the Geological Survey of India.

[4] Supra note 2

[5] Anil Agarwal, Politics of Environment-II, (CSE, New Delhi 1986) Pg.1 para 1.

[6]Full details of the Conference may be found here http://us.oneworld.net/durban?gclid=CPS1hNyZlK0CFUZ66wodTUEumQ, last viewed on December 22, 2011

[7] Dr. Arunabha Ghosh of Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW) delivered a lecture at the YIF on this topic http://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=246176005400779&id=219910274694019, last viewed on December 22, 2011

[8] Sunita Narain, Editorial Note of Down-to-Earth Magazine, Centre for Science Fortnightly, 16th December 2011 Issue

[9] Anil Agarwal, Politics of Environment-II, (CSE, New Delhi 1986) Pg.15 para 3.

[10] Editorial, Ritodhi Chakraborty and Chiteisri Devi of 80-20, In House Magazine of Agenda for Survival, a short term course conducted by the Centre for Science and Environment in June 2010. Last viewed at http://www.cseindia.org/agenda2010/index.htm on December 22, 2011

[11] Dr. Kenwyn Smith, MANNA: In the Wilderness of AIDS – Lesson 2 Title

[12] Dr. Kenwyn Smith, MANNA: In the Wilderness of AIDS – Lesson 10 Title

[13] The ‘Environment vs. Development’ debate is often called a problematic because it is seen as a problem which does not present with itself, a solution.

[14] The NGOs I have interned with are (in chronological order) Environment Support Group, Bangalore, Open Space, CCDS , Pune,  Tarun Bharat Sangh, Alwar, Paryavaran Mitra, Ahmedabad and Jal Biradari, Uttarkhand.

[15] More information about Tarun Bharat Sangh can be found at www.tarunbharatsangh.org

[16] As cited from http://www.tarunbharatsangh.org/index.html, last viewed on December 22, 2011

[17] The Life story of Rajendra Singh can be found online here http://www.rmaf.org.ph/Awardees/Biography/pdfbio/RajendraSingh.pdf, last viewed on December 22, 2011. However, the narrative here has been consciously just my own conversations and recollections – partly written in my own diary. I have referred to that document to verify dates and accuracy – but not quoted from that text.

[18] The social movement led by Jay Prakash Narayan, a prominent Indian socialist leader and Gandhian in the 1970s.

[19] The smallest unit is a village, then the Tehsil (here Thanagazi) and then the District (Alwar) as per the Revenue records system of Rajasthan since British India.

[20] A quote I have recorded in my diary from an eloquent speech made on Bhaisaab I heard personally by one village elder of Bhaonta- Koyla

[21]The campaign is called the Ganga Satyagraha led by Dr. G.D. Agarwal who is India’s pioneering Environmental engineer –ihttp://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2010-09-05/lucknow/28251496_1_ganga-action-plan-gangasagar-hunger-strike, last viewed on December 22, 2011

[22] Quote from the Biography of Rajendra Singh found at http://www.rmaf.org.ph/Awardees/Biography/pdfbio/RajendraSingh.pdf

[23] Ibid

[24] Human Development Report 2006, Chapter 1: Overview Beyond Scarcity: Power, Poverty and the Global Water Crisis, UNDP at p 1.

[25] Thomas Malthus was a 19th C. English Political Economist and Demographer who analysed food supply available that is inversely proportional to rapidly increasing population potential.

[26] Supra note 25

[27] From the learnings of ‘Paradoxes of Group Life’ by Dr. Kenwyn Smith

[28] Ibid

[29] As understood from the context of the book MANNA: In the Wilderness of AIDS, by Dr. Kenwyn Smith.

[30] Supra note. 26

[31] Supra note 32.


 

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About Chiteisri: The Gypsy Diaries

Its a Fair Warning to all =) While there may be some things about me that everyone knows ... There will always be something about me which nobody can or ever will, figure out! But for a typical introduction - I am a former Law student from India, who is a writer and traveler at heart. I am 27 and have been to 28 countries (and counting) and this blog is a humble attempt at taking a part of my life, experiences, holidays, learnings and dreams to another world of imagination in cyber-space. I know that the world has its fair share of problems, and there is plenty to despair about out there. But I truly believe that this world can be diverse, plural and inclusive and yet one entity - humanity. I am the Dreamer, a lost soul - slowly finding her way back home i.e. to herself! I write. I read. I paint. I dream. I learn. I listen. I empathize. I travel, and no matter who or what I become - these I shall always do! https://chiteisri.wordpress.com/2012/04/11/defining-a-me-at-23/
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