This Break, Travel For A Cause.

A sneak peek into the golden city’s budding voluntourism project & why you need to jump on board right away!

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Does camping on the sand dunes with a sky full of stars sound like the perfect vacation? How about gorging on Dal Bati Churma and scouring royal castles?

Let’s say, you could make a change lives while you were at this? Wouldn’t that be it? Based out of Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, Asude’s Voluntravel project combines the pleasure of travel with the joy of volunteering, offering unforgettable experiences.

Cashing on the rising popularity of socio-tourism, this pilot project caters to rural schools in the desert land. Spearheaded by Mumbai boy, Vyankatesh Kharage, it has already welcomed two batches of volunteers so far.

You might wonder, why the educational sector in Rajasthan even needs you. After all, it’s one of the best fairing states out of the problematic BIMARU (Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh) as far as literacy goes.

At the turn of this century there were 109,189 schools across Rajasthan. Thousands, if not hundreds of them were spread across villages so no child walks more than a kilometre to reach school. Technically, Rajasthan has a tolerable number of schools for the 11 crore+ children in the region. Even so, illiteracy remains a looming issue in the region. With a dismal literacy rate of 67.1%, it fails to meet even the average literacy rate in the country (which is 74.04%).

So obviously, the problem lies somewhere just above the surface. There is a severe dearth of qualified teachers in many parts of the state. Even today, children in rural schools are often first generation students. With no teachers or elders to guide them, many drop out, attend class irregularly or discontinue due to sheer lack of interest.

But why should you care? Right? Out of India’s 133.92 crores, Rajasthan constitutes to a whopping 7.7 crore people, a vast chunk of who are children and youth. And them being uneducated and unequipped could spell a disaster for the country’s future. However, truth be told, that’s not why you should care. You should care because being a part of their growth brings a kind of happiness that compares to nothing.

Simran Barki, a volunteer from Himachal Pradesh would agree to that when she says, “It was all so overwhelming that I am looking forward to more such work.” Or Bhargav Joshi, who says, “I learnt that even a little effort goes a long way for a noble cause.”

The idea is simple- anyone above the age of 21 can sign up for their week long program. Once you have been shortlisted, all you need to do is land at Jaisalmer to be a part of an extraordinary adventure.

You will be required to spend a minimum of 4-5 hours in the designated school. Here, you will meet your ‘students’ and the chirpiest companions for the week. You will be in charge of grades 3rd to 5th, wherein you will interact and teach the kids. Far from your usual texbook rote learning, this is where you can go all out and use your time with them creatively. Be it painting, photography or meditation, you can share from a vast spectrum of topics.

But that’s not all; apart from being a priceless experience, Voluntravel also gives you a chance to explore the beautiful landscapes of Jaisalmer. The best part? Free stay! Perfect for budget travellers or even others who are looking to spend time in the “Golden City,” it ensures you a spot at a designated Hostel while you’re there. With an addition of mid day meals that you can share with the lovely kids you will be teaching.

So, what I’m asking is, while your next trip could be anywhere on the map will it be as enriching as this one? And for those who can imagine the great things you could do for these young ones, I also ask, “If not now, when? If you you? Who?”

The Real Deal .

Plato once said , “Every heart sings a song incomplete , until another heart whispers back .”

I wonder if that stands true even today . In a world where our ears are muffed with headphones , and our eyes buried into our smartphones , I doubt we might even hear that whisper !
Other than that , who has time for such whispers ?
All we want is small talk and Tinder chats . Non sexual conversations don’t seem to get us anywhere !

Gone are the days when a relationship between two people didn’t just happen overnight .
It took patience , understanding and love to build one !

I’m not saying that the all ‘love’ of today is fake . I’m saying that it’s so difficult to find something true and lasting !

Blind dates , speed dates , horoscope dates you name it , and there’s a type of dating system for everything under the sun !
But to what end ?

Dating today resembles a blind man’s game . No one knows what we’re looking for , no one knows where we’re going , Hey, we don’t even know why we’re doing it !
One date after another , one person after the other , the cycle is vicious and endless .
By the time we actually meet the right person , we are so tired of this game that we just give up and convince ourselves that our ‘Soulmate’ doesn’t exist .

People have started differentiating between Love ,Sex and Emotional attachment !
When in reality , none of these can survive without the other .
Hook-ups and quickies are in trend . No commitments , no strings attached . They sound so tempting and uncomplicated , so inviting !
But are they really what they look like ? Is it really that simple ?
Instead of making it my personal opinion , I’d like to paint this picture according to what science has to say about us .
Humans are built in such a way that intimacy is related to a emotional connection . I literally hear everyone today telling ,”Oh ! It’s no big deal , it’s just sex .” Or , “oh ! We’re just dating casually .”
Well science disagrees with you my friends . If we were to get intimate , and have sex with every other person we felt like , we might as well be called animals . We are different because, the millions of years of evolution have instilled in us , a sense of “Humanity” that includes the emotional attachment to the person we are with (partner) .
Sure , you can still argue with this and say that it is possible to have emotionally detached relationships , But I’d rather side with science on this one .

I’d rather look for something real . Something that is not only about physical attraction . Something that is more than just sex . Something that is greater than just a sense of mutual liking .
I want the whole deal . I want the comfortable silences along with unending conversations .
I want us to have insatiable thirst for each other . I want us to Like ,Love and Lust for each other . I want the good days and the bad . I want passion and complete submission . Most importantly I want it to be “Us” , not just ‘me’ or ‘you ‘ .
And I’m sure like me there are still many others who would say the same . So this one is for them ! The ‘Ol style people . The ones who still believe in the concept of “Us” . Who want “Forever Afters ” . Who are convinced that it’s worth having a ‘life partner’ than a ‘sex partner’ .
To those who still think that “For eternity “always better than “For the time being ” .
So go on , whisper in the air ; And hope with all your heart that the universe will call someone to whisper back !

20 and Lost ! 

There are always two types of people . The first lot is of those people who know it all . The ones who are aware of their origin , who know what they’re doing and where they’re going . They’ve identified their destiny and will give anything it takes to fulfill their destiny .
Then there is the other Lot (which includes people like me ! ) . Those who are not really sure about anything . They’re lost in the present , unsure about the past and have no clue about what their future looks like ! They don’t know where they’re headed and even if they do , they have no clue how to get there .
Well , most of those in college will identify with this Lot 🙂

It’s not that we  don’t care about our future and , we definitely don’t like being stuck in the confused state that we’re in .
According to me , we are the late bloomers !

We have just not found our story yet . Most of us are stuck in the wrong storyline playing all the wrong parts .

Many things might’ve bought us to the place we are in , like society , parents , friends or sheer ignorance . And we do realise that something doesn’t quite feel right , but we can never figure out what’s that one piece of puzzle that doesn’t fit !

But you know what ? I feel that not knowing what we want to do actually works as an advantage because we live life one day at a time . Since we don’t know where we’re going next , we end up taking it all as one big adventure ! Although it might seem stupid and terribly naive and unambitious in today’s competitive world , we walk the rope blindly and hope for the best .
Until one day we finally stumble upon our destiny , and find that one thing we want to do in life .

And trust me , when that day comes we value that realisation more than the first Lot . Why ? Because , we strived to get to that realisation . We might’ve taken a thousand wrong turns to finally take the right one , the one that will lead us to the sole purpose of our lives .
So if you’re lost , don’t lose hope yet 🙂
If you’re lost , it’s okay !

Maybe not today but someday soon , you will find your way , and that day you will be grateful that you were Lost in the first place !