Day 1: The Journey

Rahul Masson and Raina Singh: RISHI Trip Day 1 Experiences

What’s a RISHI adventure without a few adventures along the way?

These past few months have been absolutely hectic and absolutely amazing. We’ve all had our fair share of tough times, but working together on projects that could impact thousands of lives really bonded us together as a group. It’s no joke that misery loves company, but we powered through months of intensive planning and coordinated effort to successfully make our way to the airport without incident. From there on, let’s just say it’s been more than a bit wild.

The past forty-eight hours have been a true rollercoaster of emotions, and it both excites and scares us that this is just a taste of what is to come. With seven American college kids spending little more than a week in a foreign country, we didn’t anticipate anything extraordinarily difficult (our last slices of pizza at the Los Angeles airport were a decidedly good start to our initiative). The same can hardly be said of a one-and-a-half hour delayed flight to Dubai, in which we barely made it to our next flight from the layover. After barely cooling down in the hectic hours on the flight (wherein we alternated between bonding and serious discussion of our initiative game plan), we managed to find ourselves in Mumbai.

Needless to say, our woes were far from over. We found ourselves stuck at the airport for over four precious hours, desperately scrambling for one bag of vital supplies lost in transport in transport (we desperately prayed it had not been left in Dubai). After a mercifully quick resolution and a lunch, we trudged through the seasonably muggy weather to the bustling train station (Bandra Terminus) after a considerable amount of bumps and twists on the streets of Mumbai.

Our train seats were decidedly separated from one another, so we haggled with quite a few people and managed to procure the seats we wanted. It truly was an incredible experience for something as mundane as a train ride – all the quintessential sounds, sights, and smells of India seemed to come together (even at the train station, with the chai and idli peddlers raising a clamor amongst veritable bookstores laid out upon rugs. Upon arriving in our operational home base in Gujarat, we ate theplas, bhaji, shak, and chaas in true Gujarati fashion, taking a breather to bond and immerse ourselves in our surroundings.  After fifteen arduous hours we finally stopped in the small city of Gandhidham and unloaded our (mercifully still seventeen) bags, welcomed by a slight drizzle and a surprising amount of attention from the locals, who had heard about our initiative. Three successive car trips to the local hotel later, we had all of our initiative members and supplies respectively assembled and accounted for.

With our initial journey done, we all look forward to the real challenges ahead – running both of our charitable missions and conducting the research that informs our future projects. Yet it’s been an exhilarating start to our initiative, and although this trip has been a rollercoaster, we are more than eager to see what this ride has to offer.