“I need you to do handle Mr. Mohar’s new building project, Maha. We need that project to succeed and then we can all have a luxury holiday!”I snapped out of my trance and saw everyone looking at me questioningly. “Yes. I understand,” I lied. I smiled confidently hoping they would all believe it. After a long silence, Amit seemed convinced and said, “Good. Get to work.”I went back to my office and stared out the window. An office on the top floor, a luxury apartment in the city, a reputation for being the best engineer in town, and more money than I know what to do with; most people would kill for this life.
Only, I felt like I needed more. My job, something that I felt very proud of, doesn’t make me feel complete anymore. “Something needs to change,” I said out loud.
“Talking to oneself is a sign of genius,” Amit said as he came in. “What is going on?” Surprisingly, I asked Amit to give the project to someone else because I need to go away for a while to find something important. He looked at me with empathy and said, “You are my best project manager but you need to take care of yourself first. When you’re ready to come back, we’ll be here.”
I left the office, walked home, and read about people who felt incomplete with their lives and who found purpose in volunteering. I found a nonprofit organization that provides free education for disadvantaged children in Punjab, my hometown. It’s called the Harnand Foundation. I contacted them asking for more information about volunteering as a Math teacher and they responded promptly.
48 hours and several more emails later, I was on a plane to Punjab. Another 48 hours and I was standing in front of 20 students. Their stories and dreams are inspiring, lofty and amazing.
They all looked at me with smiling, eager faces. I can help these kids make their dreams come true. In Harnand Foundation, I get to be a part of making these kids’ lives and their families’ lives better. I would save them from poverty and ignorance. I felt truly happy.
As the first day went by, I had a bigger realization. I’m not saving their lives; they are saving mine.