It all began with a brief conversation with Shreya on a sunny Sunday morning. The quick chat, clear as it was interesting, saw us set some specific goals, and that was it. Our journey had begun. 

Soon, we will enter 2021. When I look back at the start of our discussion, it almost feels like a pregnancy, a nine-month gestation full of adjustments and perspective. Once the rhythm set in, however, the mentors and mentees were engaged in a beautiful dance of learning. Suddenly, we went from being strangers to thinking like one unit, and now it’s time to let go of our cohort and watch them bloom. The excitement for each mentor review, Google Sheet update, and weekend catchup were indescribable. 

Weekend evenings saw us discuss the week’s activities, specifically soft skills training. We talked about effective communication, confidence building, personality development, and teamwork. Although we used case studies, presentations, and other tools, the personal experiences moved me in every single session. All too often we would lose track of time and leave with heavy hearts. My mentees, who were initially reserved, had become enthusiastic learners. 

For me, the icing on the cake was the masterclass that gave me an insight into the exhilarating ambition and sheer determination of all nineteen mentees. My plan was to talk about my favourite subject – leadership – but when Shreya said that work-life balance was a major priority, I changed track to focus on what the cohort needed. I was pleasantly surprised to see the session recorded and more than anything, it will be an endearing memory of my time with IndiVillage’s ProEngage.

I love giving back to the industry and knew I would find the experience rewarding, but I never expected to enjoy mentoring rural executives from Yemmiganur and Raichur as much as I enjoy my music, dancing, praying,  and writing.

I will say goodbye to the eagles Neha, Moumika, Misba, and Ranga with a heavy heart. The ‘Elephant in the Room’ is gone, guys (if you know, you know).  In our mentorship room, there were no Elephants because we fed them sweet wild pineapples.

An intense set of sessions lies ahead with integrity, ethics, and gender equality next on the agenda. I hope and pray that I can enrich their lives with my experience. 

For more information on ProEngage, our rural mentoring initiative click here.  

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