Twelve subjects.  About seven projects. Seven different project groups. Tight schedules .Even tighter deadlines. I was frustrated, irritated and in panic mode already well into the second week of my second semester. Besides this, a trip to Panchgani for MRA (Moral Re-Armament Camp) was planned out for us in the last week of the month. With all these worries I set off on our journey to MRA thinking that it was just another part of our curriculum with more management related activities. I was so wrong! It was not going to be ‘just’ any another experience. It was going to be one of my most memorable experiences in SCIT.

As we ascended the hill and entered through the gates, a sudden feeling of calmness swept over me. We were surrounded by nature and serenity. It was as if we had entered a bubble which had blocked out all the hustles and bustles of the city, cluttered world and the constant activity in college. We were engulfed by silence, peacefulness and tranquillity. We were welcomed by a group of friendly, kind, group of people of different ages and ethnicities and given a kit along with a yellow book and pen. As I looked at the book (a little puzzled) I considered lectures were going to be delivered and thought that we had to make notes. They quickly clarified that the book was for us to write down our thoughts and conversations with our inner voice. Oh oh! I had to do something which I hadn’t done in ages. I had to finally talk to the person whom I was escaping from the most and had taken for granted the last couple of years due to the rat race. The time had finally come to talk to the most important part of my life- me. This was going to be fun and exciting!

We then had lunch which was delicious and we all relished it! We were then grouped into families and were asked to identify the values which were most important to us. I realized that all values were interconnected and important for one’s happiness and well being. My first entry in the book- values. In the evening we went trekking to table land –an unbelievable flat land on the hills! We played silly childhood games, running around in glee and giggling like little school kids there with no worries. It soon turned dark and then we had a delicious dinner and noticed that there was a time table of all the activities which we had to do as a family. Our first task was wash up after dinner! We did the dishes in record time by singing (read braying from my side) famous Bollywood numbers. We had our family meeting and just spoke about ourselves (not the way we answer in interviews of course). The fresh air, good company, good food lifted my spirits and I felt good just like that for no reason. The stars were so beautiful. They really were million diamonds adorning the dark sky.

The next day we had a session on ‘Soul Nurture’ in the morning at 6:45am where we had to just sit alone with ourselves. Be one with nature. I explored the beautiful campus and finally settled under my favourite tree (champak) and just sat in silence away from my phone and observed my surroundings. I saw birds, squirrels and was humbled by them. They were living in harmony without disturbing the other and shared whatever resources were available. I noticed that so many things were happening simultaneously in nature. I couldn’t focus on only one thing as I feared that I might miss out on something else. I realized that in our competitive lives (complicated made by us) we focus only one thing and often miss out noticing the other beautiful happenings around us. This was my next entry in my book. We then had a talk by the volunteers about some thought provoking questions: what is our ‘mask’ which we were hiding behind from the world, what’s in our jar which is blocking us? Who am I? What am I not? What’s holding me back? I made a note of all these in my yellow book. I knew some of the negatives in me and while noting down the good qualities in me I was surprised and little sad to know that I had failed to acknowledge myself before. I admired the volunteers there for their courage to share their personal stories and thoughts with us which made me realize that all of us have a story for the reason why we act the way we do and that we are not alone in this journey of life. We also had a session on ‘Reflections’ where we had to write down the names of people to whom I want to say thank you to, say sorry to, about mending relationships and appreciating yourself.  We had a fun activity where we had a paper pinned to our backs and everyone had to appreciate one another. Everybody enjoyed this activity and everyone felt good about themselves. I was learning more about me and talking to my inner voice made me feel happy and in peace with myself.

We had to put up a show called ‘Expressions’ one night and I actually sang on stage with a group! The last time I sang on stage was when I was in the 10th grade. Luckily the microphone and I shared mutual feelings and we stayed as far as possible. We also watched a movie about living our lives to the fullest no matter what happens to us.

It was a wonderful 4 day trip. I had the opportunity to meet wonderful people, rediscover myself, reconnect with nature and got a better understanding of my batch mates too.

I survived the first semester of my MBA. Now with the help of my inner voice I will be able to not only ‘just’ survive but do better from now on in my MBA journey and in my life. Thank you SCIT for taking us to MRA and for giving us a wonderful experience.

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