Born into a well off family, fed with a golden spoon, brought up in the best of the conditions possible, given the best possible educational exposure. Isn’t this how most of you reading this would describe your life? I’m sure you would. Till today, I would too. Today was different. It made me feel that the version of life we are living is life as we choose to live it, our self made reality, not what it actually is. We might learn, but is that the actual learning? Most of us, including me lay far away from what the reality is.
Today, thanks to assignments, I visited Chandani Chowk and Azadpur area for the first time! Yes, first time! There, constant thoughts came running to my mind. For instance, books may tell you ample facts about slum areas and the people there but till the time we actually step out and visit the slums and talk to the residents, we can’t say that we know anything about it. Having read about them and today getting to talk to a few of them, I can easily say that books can take you closer to reality but exploration is the only thing which will help you see reality better. What a simple chat with them can help you learn, a book won’t. I’m not anti-reading. Read but do explore. Reading in stories about unemployed people spending their day playing cards and actually seeing them sit under a bridge and do that is an altogether different experience. Will you chit-chat with friends over text or commute with them in a metro discussing about everything ranging from their school experiences, to their families,to marriages, to acquaintances and so on leading to some shared smiles? I bet, once you experience the second, you will never crave for the first. Learning isn’t reading or listening about the shops in places like Chandani Chowk, learning is setting out there on the road, walking under extreme sunlight and yet searching for what you want from n number of shops there. Learning isn’t ordering something online. Learning is using your skills and convincing the shopkeeper to sell the good to you at a little less price. Learning isn’t just listening from people that you need to keep a check at your stuff while you roam around in Chandani Chowk. Learning is roaming around there for the first time holding your bag close to your body and your fear close to your heart.
Learning is coming back home realising that a lot of time has passed since you actually learnt something. Learning is coming back home realising that you have wrongly defined learning all these years. Learning is coming back home realising that you need to stop learning and start exploring. There can be no better learning than that.