I remember going to Datar classes that day, back in 2015, you could feel an unusual excitement. Everybody was happy and excited, I just couldn’t understand ‘why?!’. On the way to the classroom that day, the soft board had a leaflet pinned on it. It said “ VEDH 2015”. I sat through the class with curiosity, which was finally satisfied by our teacher at the end of the class. Our teacher told us what VEDH was, the whole idea behind it and insisted that all of us attend it. On my way out, I saw the choir and stood there for a while to watch them practice. You could hear a few lines of the song, sir’s instructions and also the jokes he cracked. This happy atmosphere that continued till D-Day, had my curiosity and the excitement to get it satisfied increase like a geometric progression!
I reached the venue 10 mins before time and saw a huge crowd in front of the door! The parking was close to full. You could see people from all age groups and everybody was looking…..beautiful! Beautiful not only in their appearances, but the positivity each person brought with them added to their beauty.
Every session was unique in it’s own way. What struck me the most was the humility of the faculty. They explained their work in such a simple way that at the end of the session a primary school kid could get motivated to do something similar. I went home that day feeling very positive and inspired. That day, I decided I would volunteer for the next year’s VEDH.
Same time next year in 2016, the preparation of VEDH had started and I, was gathering courage to go up to Palshikar Sir and tell him about my wish to volunteer. This year I wanted my parents to attend the program and I remember going to sir’s cabin to ask him to reserve tickets for them. On him asking me how many tickets I wanted, I replied, “ Sir, three tickets for the three of us” and he said, “ You won’t be needing one, you’ll be a volunteer starting this year.” I went back with a huge smile on my face.
It was my first time experiencing an event from the organizer’s point of view. At every VEDH meeting, I was amazed at the kind of work that goes into such events. The fact that every person on the team was balancing their already rich routines and had taken up the responsibility to volunteer for VEDH with such dedication that VEDH had now become a big part of their lives was remarkable!
That year I reached the venue an hour before the program started. I went in and saw everybody doing final checks, last minute changes, practices, etc. Backstage, I could see people running around to finish their work in time. I helped with the booklets, made sure they were kept at the door and were distributed to each person upon entering. The distribution part in itself was such an amazing experience! Initially, it sure was overwhelming to see so many people lined up. You start thinking if you can give the bags to so many people quickly so that the process doesn’t slow down because of you, but then to see the people say ‘thank you’ with a big smile makes all those thoughts go away.
Observing the VEDH faculty was another great experience in itself. I got a chance to speak to them before their sessions. They’d done work no one thought about, in a field no one knew about. They’d excelled in what they did, yet they were extremely humble. They were happy to talk to you, share their experiences, help you if needed, answer the silliest query you had. They all were happy to be interacting with people, youngsters especially.
After every session, a group of kids would come to the VIP room wanting to meet the faculty. The kids were shy and would normally only take photos or autographs and leave, but every faculty would take the initiative and speak to every child coming to meet them. Almost all of them stayed for the whole program and during lunch or at the end of the day they would be curious to know more about fellow faculty members’ work and whole- heartedly appreciate them as well.
That year’s VEDH taught me that the greatest qualities in a successful person are
humility, hard-work and passion.
It taught me to be confident, but never to be so proud of accomplishments that it makes you arrogant.
I’ve been attending Pune VEDH ever since. Each year the planning process teaches me as much, if not more than the two days of the event itself. VEDH has connected me to such lovely people- the Pune VEDH team and the faculty each year. I’ve found new ways to give back to the society through the faculties’ work, and they’ve inspired me to do something creative in my field so that I would contribute to the society in some way.