This week has been rather intense at Sauhard! We believe in creating a free space that is open to all – our friends, colleagues, enemies and more! In the same vein, this week we were visited by very special friends. Falak Choksi is one of the first volunteers to have worked with Sauhard, and she recently visited our office Thikana when she was in Ahmedabad. This is her Sauhard homecoming experience.
Coming back to Sauhard has always been an experience that I find difficult to put into words. At first, I realize how everything has remained just the same. Sure, the wall paintings are new and Thikana (Sauhard’s office) has shifted from the second floor to the first in the same building but the feeling of home and the sense of security have remained intact. ‘Thikana ni cutting Cha’ (our addiction to tea remains famous no matter where we go) and ‘Gujarati Chinese’ still taste the same! You still feel sleepy after overeating at the potluck lunches and Gaurang bhai still makes everyone laugh with his stories.
Then even if I didn’t want to, I ended up comparing the Sauhard I knew vs the Sauhard that I see today. When I started talking to the people around me at Thikana, I recognized how the conversations and
attitudes of students have changed in the past six years. The fellows are more aware of their surroundings and socio-political issues; they are not just debating issues that concern them and the society at large but they are also proactively taking the initiative to do something about it and in a large number! I see more socially and politically aware young people who are able to think critically and make informed opinions. There are students from multiple colleges across Ahmedabad and I see more ownership in Sauhard. The fellows are more patient and accepting. I am genuinely in awe of the team that is leading organization today!
The more I think about it, the more I realize why the work that Sauhard does with young people is so crucial. It also reminds me of how far I have come and the role Sauhard has played in my life. It reminded me of all the things that I am capable of doing just when I needed it the most. It reminded me that I have a support system and it demanded me to be their support system. This is the impact that Sauhad had on my motivation, and it served as grounding for to create this same space of acceptance and growth wherever I go and in the people I am with, at work and otherwise. In a way, this is my biggest lesson and my biggest takeaway, and I’m so thrilled that I got it from Sauhard.
Falak Choksi has been associated with Sauhard for the past eight years. She is an alumnus of the first batch of the Sauhard Youth Fellowship and the recipient of the William J. Clinton Fellowship. She currently works as a communications coordinator at The Naz Foundation (India) Trust.