I get asked frequently what do you want to do?
This question makes me a little uncomfortable. The easy yet somewhat self deprecating answer is I don’t know. It’s a cop out really.
But if I really think about it and get uncomfortable, I know exactly what I want to do.
I know in the long run I want to go help people who need it most and make a scalable impact. The people starving, the people deprived of freedom, the people who scream for help but nobody hears them.
And I know I want to do that in India. Although I was born and brought up here in Australia, I feel a strong connection to my Punjabi roots.
I am grateful for the privilege of being born in a country where I feel safe and taken care of.
Yet inside I have a growing sense of guilt in not acting on my desire to do something that makes a meaningful difference in the lives of others where it’s needed most.
It breaks my heart to think right in this moment there is someone just like me but with no access to education, healthcare or even food.
The fact that this is a man-made problem makes me feel angry.
I used to be angry at people, at corrupt governments and failing systems.
But now I’m just angry at myself. If it’s a man made problem then I have a part to play in it’s creation and a responsibility in contributing towards a solution.
I’m taken back to when I was 19, full of hope and passion I went abroad to volunteer with refugees and asylum seekers.
Almost every other day I listened to stories of torture, of injustice and pain. I wrote testimonies to help prepare these incredibly strong people for their cases.
Yet young and naive, story after story, I felt myself become angry. So angry that I became somewhat cynical. I became disengaged in politics and social justice movements. The very things that I once poured my soul into in the hope that I would make some difference now seemed so trivial with the gravity of the suffering I could see.
Back to right now in this very moment… Of course I’m scared. I’m scared I’m too inexperienced to tackle such large issues like poverty. I’m scared I won’t have the strength to see suffering again because I’ve become weak. I’m scared I’ll have to leave everything to do something that may not work. I’m a scared I’ll need to give up all the things that’s I’ve become used to.
Yet that’s the risk I see people who make an impact take.