The Spirit Of Aasra – SPJIMR Mumbai
Plans, Purposes, Pursuits
These are three essential P’s our lives revolve around every day at SPJIMR. Year round, there is a long list of colossal pursuits for which specific student collectives put in months of effort. SPRINT and OJAS are very high up in this list, in terms of the leaders and resourceful campaigners that they bring out every year. I had the chance this academic year to get an insider’s view on one side of this squad, namely SPRINT. With a tagline that reads “Go Full Blaze!”, many early combatants were scampering to get things right back in December as a handful of pre-events were lined up. It was in one such pre-event on 30th December that one ‘P’ – ‘Purpose’ took the front seat. Specially-abled participants from three different foundations joined the SPJIMR community that day as ‘AASRA’ unfolded. Volunteers poured in as they were all tagged to our visitors to ensure they had a great time. Without knowing it, as our visitors filed out of their buses, the day became all about the time they were going to have on campus in the ensuing 6 hours.
The scorching heat was not the least bit a deterrent as they settled in at the amphitheatre where the event was introduced and immediately afterwards they set out to get involved in all the games and stalls we had set up for them. The happiness in their eyes to be able to walk around and do everything – from kicking a football to playing darts – felt liberating to us even though we were just shadowing them and trying very hard to keep pace with their infectious enthusiasm. The way the girl that I was tagged to was very particular about moving around with younger friends from her foundation and how she looked out for them even as one of them miskicked a shot or missed a pocket in carrom board was endearing to stand back and observe. Whether it was the focus they maintained while preparing to balance themselves for lemon and spoon race or the sportsmanship they displayed while egging on friends from other foundations, whom they’d just met, to score against them, it really felt like we all had a lot to learn about everyday life skills from them. After playing their hearts out, they settled down once again for tea and snacks before their cultural performance where they were about to perform acts that they’d already prepared for. In our conversations over chai, we got to see a deeper aspect of their personality as we understood that none of them was getting carried away for even a moment. They understood full well what realities would remain in front of them the next day and managed to pull off something we all have a problem in embracing- ‘living in the present’.
The efforts that they put in to derive little pleasures from life were clearly visible in all the performances we saw that day. We clapped and cheered for a variety show that included everything from well-coordinated group dances to deep Urdu poetry and charming Shah Rukh Khan impressions. Beyond the sound of token encouragement, they’d managed to entertain the audience so well that everyone knew it was now the sound of a completely ‘engaged’ crowd that was now being heard. It was much like a well-rehearsed school annual day of sorts, as performance after performance rolled like waves of emotions. Even if this were a one-day escapade for them, we knew as they grew comfortable calling us by name that they were going to carry these moments with them for a very long time. The pang that a day’s happiness was all we were managing to give them gave way to the realization that we were fortunate enough to share that happiness with them that day. As the day ended with the thumping beats of ‘Zingaat’, our visitors along with us took the stage to dance away as one integrated group. While helping them file out and waving them goodbyes right afterwards, I was stuck with one thought in my head as I revisited the internal conversation about how small my problems were or how big theirs were- “Goodwill and support aren’t meant to be seen as boomerangs but rather as skipping stones”
– Manish R
PGDM Candidate 2020, SPJIMR Mumbai