I arrived on the 6th of February, 2021 as a volunteer for Mohanam. I was assigned to assist/help the media team with their graphic design work. On my first day, I went to shoot videos at Rock Beach in Puducherry. That was a good start in a completely unknown place! I had never imagined that I'll be able to do everything on my own. Getting up at 5:30 in the morning every day, to wash my own clothes, to taking care of my health and getting the required injections in time, without parental support or guidance, was quite a task.

Also connecting with people was a challenge because I am a shy person when it comes to striking a conversation. I run out of words or don't really know where to start from. But that I managed for one month all by myself, was a step towards growing up. I had never left home and lived alone before. Then of course the boys were there who helped and supported me whenever I fumbled. Such a beginning gave me a lot of hope, courage and confidence. Slowly, I am getting used to the native language here, which is Tamil. I have even learned a few words!

Coming to Mohanam and the experience I have had so far. Right after my arrival, work began. I was given two posters to design for an event - Auro Santhai. I also helped with other design-related work for the same event. From having no professional experience, I can say that I have gained some confidence in the work that I have been assigned. Every day is new learning with challenges. Nothing is pre-planned and one should go with the flow. This is a great takeaway from the one and a half months that I have been volunteering here.

I am really grateful to Balu and Rajaveni Akka for giving me this opportunity. I also went to Thiruvannamalai, which was quite an experience. Definitely, if I had stayed on in Kolkata then I wouldn't have had the opportunity to explore and learn as much as I am being able to do every day at Mohanam. I am grateful to each and every member of Mohanam for that.

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