Jagriti Yatra Day 6: Tamil Birthdays

Today was my birthday and what a unique birthday it was. Last year I was skiing in the Pacific Northwest of the US. This year I was in rural Tamil Nadu learning about Indian farming techniques. We were supposed to meet with R. Elango, a man who developed his entire village. How, you ask? I have no idea. R. Elango was not available so we ended up hearing from a farmer who was also very successful…for himself. A large, rich…

Jagriti Yatra Day 5: Aravind Eye Care

It was eight o’clock, 10 hours behind schedule, when we pulled into Madurai, the town of temples. But it was not the temples we were there to see. Or at least, not the religious temples. Rather we pulled into an eye hospital, Aravind Eye Care, the most famous eye surgery facility in the world, and certainly the most spiritual. The hospital was started by Dr. G Venkataswamy who passed away a few years ago. However his chief medical officer, Dr….

Jagriti Yatra Day 4: Home in Bangalore, Land of Technology

As I pulled into Bangalore this morning on a bus full of my new Yatris friends, I felt a sense of pride showing my city. Our bus pulled in from Whitefield past Domlur and towards Jaaga Penthouse. As we passed the Penthouse on Richmond Road I was mocked by my friends for how excited I was to show them my work. They called the attention of the entire bus to me as I pointed out the Rich Homes apartment building, nearly…

Jagriti Yatra Day 3: Education in Hubli

Ice cold water poured out of a small bucket woke me up this morning in a juugad shower stall created between plastic covered seats. I had thought myself clever for having woken up before the 6 o’clock alarm for a shower. With five bucket shower stalls for almost 200 girls who hadn’t showered in two days, it seemed prudent. Unfortunately for me, 25 girls had thought the same thing even earlier in the dark train and there was a large…

Jagriti Yatra Day 2: Chaiiiii

This morning I woke up at 8am to the calls of ‘chaiiii’ in the isles of the 15th bogie in a train somewhere between Mumbai and Hubli. In our non-AC sleeper car 60 girls groggily sat up in blue plastic beds. We took turns using the one sink and two toilets as an overhead speaker announced that breakfast would be served shortly. Breakfast for 500. Through the isles of a train. Sounds brilliant. But I was pleasantly surprised as plates,…

Jagriti Yatra Day One: Yaaron Challo!

Zoe is on the Jagriti Yatra journey across India studying social enterprise. She is (trying to be) blogging from the train about her experiences as often as possible.    Jagriti Yatra has circumvented the globe. Now on it’s sixth Yatra, the train journey has taken over 2,000 young people to the far corners of India collectively traveling the distance it would take to cross the entire planet. The energy was palpable yesterday as hundreds of participants, or ‘Yatris’ as we…

Jagriti Yatra: Pre-Departure

Tomorrow at 10pm the Jagriti Yatra train will pull out of Mumbai not to return for 15 days. On board, 450 people between the ages of 20 and 27 will embark on a journey to explore social entrepreneurship in India. Making 12 stops and meeting 15 mentors, the Yatra will cover over 8000 kilometers. The goal is to teach and inspire young people about how to build India, solve the most pressing issues, using enterprise. Tomorrow at 10pm I will…

Jaaga Penthouse / Jaaga Banana Plantation

If you drive along Double Road, pass the Shanti Nagar bus station, towards the dusty flyover that takes you deeper into the heart of Bengaluru, you will see a strange sight. Amidst the urban jungle of the third largest city in India there lies a malleable work of art that’s changing day by day. Rack by rack she sheds, beautiful as ever, revealing the intricacy of the interior. Jaaga is disappearing from Double Road, and quickly. In this place, for…