7 individuals, stayed with and learned from 51 parindeys, documented 51 stories, over 100 days of travel each. Diverse in terms of backgrounds but united in terms of beliefs, values and the passion to travel. This was a journey set out by curious minds to understand and explore the domains of their interest. Each fellow identified an area of interest and wished to understand that interest better through the fellowship. The quest was to look for people, Parindeys who were experts in the said fields, people who have knowledge and experience in those fields and people who felt alive doing the work they do. Each one set out to learn and live with their Parindeys as they experienced life and work at their place of visit. Having first hand work experience, documenting the stories of the Parindeys, managing finance, and at the same time keeping in mind conscious, sustainable, and minimalist living was the intention.

As the journey progressed and the travel happened across the country, each fellow’s ability to understand, adapt, and learn from different environments grew stronger. The experience of learning from diverse cultures, varied Parindeys on the same domain lead to the fellows forming better opinions for themselves. When they reflected upon the travel after the 100 days they could look back and identify the learnings, the ups and downs and how they have grown as a person. The space and people they met on this journey was the biggest source of inspiration where they learnt humility, abundance, coexistence, contextualisation, importance of being local and much more. The discovery of their own selves and understanding who they are as a person lead them to learn better from others. The journey helped each fellow understand better about what they liked, what they liked to pursue and what kind of work helped them feel more alive as well. Today after years of the pandemic that restricted our movement many realise the need to travel but here were a group of people who supported each other in their learning journeys and grew together to gain more knowledge, clarity and the best of all to have become better human beings.

Amal Dev M, Alappuzha, Kerala
Alternative Learning Systems & Place-Based Education

Amal Dev M is a passionate social worker and an enthusiastic traveler. He is a resident of Alappuzha in Kerala and has completed his Masters in Social Work from Bharata Mata College, Kochi. He explores his passion for social work through his traveling.

As a part of the 52 Parindey Fellowship, he has explored learning and education in different parts of India. Amal believes he learned and unlearned more things during this fellowship journey than in his 25 years of life.

“The 52 Parindey Fellowship journey was an expedition to my inner self. It helped me to get a deeper connection with myself and it shattered many of the misconceptions that had been within me. I strongly believe that I learned and unlearned more things during this fellowship journey than in my 25 years of life. Exploring the Alivelihood paths of my Parindeys makes me feel alive all the time and inspires me to choose the same path.”

For more information on Amal’s journey visit https://www.travellersuniversity.org/amal-dev-m

Anil Uppalapati, Ongole, Andhra Pradesh
Food Systems & Natural ways of Growing

Anil Uppalapati is from Ongole, Andhra Pradesh. He is a zealous explorer of the less trodden paths. Anil is on a quest to build regenerative living of his choices, and prefers dangerous freedom over peaceful slavery. He holds an Integrated Masters in Economics and Post Graduate diploma in Human Rights, and has served as a Gandhi fellow in Bihar.

As a 52 Parindey Fellow, Anil has explored Food Systems and natural ways of growing. He intends to continue exploring food systems, as he believes there is a lot more to learn, unlearn and relearn. He dreams of creating healthy food systems and resilient local communities and intends to pursue growing his own food.

“The 52 Parindey Fellowship has been an extremely rewarding and unforgettable experience. I have explored natural ways of growing food. It was extremely humbling to live and work on the farm. For the first time ever, I got involved with growing and cooking the food that I was eating. My brief stay on the farms and in various communities offered me the opportunity to witness firsthand how learning simply emerges and life thrives when we are tuned in to what is most meaningful and authentic to us. Throughout the fellowship, a ‘learning exchange’ was taking place as the boundaries of age, culture, and socio-economic background simply vanished in the process of our mutual friendship. The Fellowship also provided a candid view of Alivehoods. When both profession and conscious living merge together, it creates a beautiful synergy. This is what Alivelihood is. The idea of each person taking complete control of their own learning and life intrigues me. Alivelihoods are needed at this hour to recreate a healthy way of living. Throughout the journey, I have been blessed with so much inspiration and an abundance of love along the way that I feel compelled to pass it forward.”

For more information on Anil’s journey visit https://www.travellersuniversity.org/anil-uppalapati

Gayatri Pardeshi, Nashik, Maharashtra
Inclusive Learning and Facilitation Practices for Children

Gayatri Pardeshi was born and brought up in Nashik. She facilitates Community Games, Kids Theatre, Dance Movement and Garba. Her interest lies in exploring Dance Movement, Kabir Philosophy and Mental Health awareness.

As a 52 Parindey Fellow, she explored the different possibilities to facilitate learning. Through her travels, Gayatri has come to understand that co-creation  in education creates a magically powerful tool of learning. She also thinks that art as medium helps make the process so much easier. On a more personal note, her passion for traveling solo has played a role in her own learning and encouraging traveling as a pedagogy for enriching the experience.  ​

“The 52 Parindey Fellowship supported me to see the importance of ARTS in facilitation, education, learning process and daily life routine. This helped me to reflect on myself as well as to redefine meaning of receiving, giving, family, travel challenges, safe spaces and Alivelihoods. After 4 months of exploring and meeting with Alivelihood practitioners, now I can say the meaning of Alivelihoods is what makes you alive and it is within each and everyone of us.”

For more information on Gayatri’s journey visit https://www.travellersuniversity.org/gayatri-pardeshi

Ridhima Agarwal, Jaipur, Rajasthan
Grassroots Social Work & Community Intervention for Change

Ridhima was born and brought up in Jaipur city of Rajasthan. She graduated in B.A. Programme with majors in Economics and Political Science from St. Stephen’s college, Delhi. Being trained in a thorough academic tradition, she tries to gain a sensitive and diverse understanding of the social,economic and political perspectives our community deals with.  ​

As a 52 Parinday Fellow, she travelled to collect narratives of various grassroot level interventions in India. She believes that the communities hold immense wisdom, love and strength to thrive and fight for their own cause. In her journey she tried to build a fundamentals of community work, relationship individual has with the community, the stories of resilience, lessons in moving forward as a collective and the principal of oneness which breathes in every element of social work.

“As part of the 52 Parindey Fellowship by Travellers’ University, I got a chance to explore my own interests while travelling across India. I researched various factors of community engagement in rural India by tracing the life and philosophy of seven grassroot level community workers and the various shades of issues we deal with on-ground. The exploration was beautiful and led me to a new understanding of work that came to be defined as Alivelihood by the organisation. Which in my experiential encounters included a non division of work with other aspects of living, realising harmony of self and community and working in the interconnectedness of all beings. It also meant delving deeper to break away from the necessity of indulging in hurtful labour to choosing a way of life which we connect with, and through that connection comes a radically new understanding of life.”

For more information on Ridhima’s journey visit https://www.travellersuniversity.org/ridhima-agarwal

Saumya John, Ernakulam, Kerala
Food Systems & the Politics of Food

Saumya is an intersectional feminist who is vocal about the relationship between mental health, feminism and environment conservation and likes to interact with people working in such spaces. She studied History, then Social Work and worked for a  non-profit and realised her vocation does not fit into an organisational space, but in Alivelihood spaces.  ​

As part of the 52 Parindey Fellowship, she explored food systems in seven Indian states and experienced the diversity, humanity, and love at each location. Her initial focus on food systems and sustainability has now expanded to cover conservation, activism, and value addition in different forms.

“Defining my learning journey around food systems and environmental sustainability in a coherent, linear manner would be a puzzling activity. Each Parindey was an experience, that expanded my comfort zone to include more humans, more nature-based practices, and more hope for the future. It has led me to believe in Alivelihoods as Alive-lihoods; livelihoods that make one feel alive and in sync with the rest of nature. At the same time, the political, social, economic, and gender dynamic that defined the Alivelihood of each Parindey added more depth to my journey. I hope more people turn towards Alivelihoods and take inspiration from the Parindeys.”

For more information on Saumya’s journey visit https://www.travellersuniversity.org/saumya-john

Sneharsi Dasgupta, Kolkata, West Bengal
Independent Media & Education

Sneharshi Dasgupta was born and raised in the city of Kolkata, West Bengal. He has worked as an American India Foundation (AIF) William J Clinton Fellow with Bhasha Sanshodhan Prakashan Kendra in Tejgadh, Gujarat. For his fellowship project, Sneharshi focused on the ‘Museum of Adivasi Voice’ where he researched digital accessibility, virtual curatorship, and outreach for museums during the pandemic times.

As a 52 Parindey Fellow, he travelled extensively in India and explored independent media and education initiatives. His goal was to document what remains undocumented by mainstream media. Furthermore, through his work, he delves into the ways in which community-led initiatives operate.

“I had a very enriching experience while travelling across India as part of the 52 Parindey Fellowship. Prior to my journey, I had limited understanding of alternative forms of livelihood. In the course of my journey, I not only had the opportunity to witness and learn first-hand about regenerative livelihoods but also immerse myself in some of these meaningful pursuits. This would not have been possible without the strategic guidance of the 52 Parindey Fellowship programme team and all the individuals who supported me. Forever grateful for this learning experience, I have acquired virtues like patience and humility during my pursuit of understanding diverse geography and knowledge systems.”

For more information on Sneharshi’s Journey visit https://www.travellersuniversity.org/sneharsi-dasgupta

Srilaxmi, Vasco, Goa  

Conservation, Co-existence & the Idea of Development

Srilaxmi is from Vasco, Goa. Open-hearted, she is willing to immerse, learn and create. Flawed like anyone, confused like many, the rope in a tug of war like few, and herself like nobody else, Srilaxmi is figuring her way through. And in all the madness of the mind, heart and soul, she thrives most in the strong arms of nature and community living.

In the fellowship, she explored conservation and  coexistence, whilst also questioning contemporary notions of development and trying to locate a peoples’ aspirations within this. She sees a gap between traditional understanding and scientific knowledge  which needs to be bridged through  respect, harmony and empowerment of the self and others.

“A man I once met in my journey of life told me, “When you choose to fight, you choose a life of struggle. And this life is hard, but it is also meaningful.” Over the past few months of exploring the coexistence of humankind with the rest of nature, and conservation, this thought became profound learning, taking form in different people and journeys, but with one little addition; that struggle isn’t just a struggle anymore when you accept it. Alivelihood, after all, is something that makes you come alive, and feeling alive is feeling beautiful, whatever be the force that is firing your spirit.”

For more information on Srilaxmi’s journey visit https://www.travellersuniversity.org/srilaxmi