2009 has been a milestone for me. My life changed in such an indescribable way. A year ago, I had returned from work early in the evening and I went to sleep because I was exhausted functioning on three hours of sleep. When I woke up, the world was very quiet. As I was leaving home at 5:30 a.m., my mother told me that there was an attack on Bombay. I thought it was another bomb blast; I shrugged it off and drove to work. Only upon reaching, when I checked the News update, my heart sank.
I was filled with numbness, feeling so helpless that so many had died an unnecessary death and I wasn’t able to do anything. It took two days for the feelings to set in and I realized how angry I was. I’ve never been so angry; in fact, I try to avoid this feeling as much as possible. But I was angry that this happened on Indian soil. I hated how these kids were bribed with a mere few thousand Dirhams to do what they have done. Poverty is really an illness; it drives us to break barriers of humanity. Nobody deserves to be poor. I knew that only education can save us.
The seed was sown.
Two months later, I was all set to go to Rajasthan, India for the first session of my 8-Day Academy. And my life changes completely. After a week-long trip, I returned to Dubai and quit my job to make real change. I knew I would be broke very soon but that didn’t deter me. Either I lived a life of hefty bank balance or I should stop feeling helpless and sad when I watched humans brainwashing and abusing other humans to commit such chilling murders. If I didn’t make the choice, then I didn’t deserve to feel sad. I should only accept.
But I couldn’t accept. So, I decided. I didn’t tell anyone and I resigned. Only after resigning, I sent a SMS to a few very close friends to inform them of my decision. My family found out a few days later. Many opposed my decision and still do but the satisfaction I got because of the change my personal initiative made, was enough to tell my heart that I had somehow found my calling.
So, here I am, the Chief Actionista (a.k.a Founder) of the 8-Day Academy at the age of 26 and not 45, as I had initially imagined.
Don’t forget your anger, remember it and breed it so you can push yourself to do good. Don’t turn anger into hate because then you’ve created a swamp for yourself. Every 26/11, I remember the tragedy and I remind myself of the anger and push myself to do greater good. To me, this is better than lighting candles and participating in rallies.