The Desk and the Field: How Inspiration Flows Across Spaces

Of all the days I spend in office, I like Friday the most. It is when I release the weekly edition of Chingari Express, Sampark Foundation’s internal newsletter. It is when I know precisely what I need to do. I know that when the clock strikes 3, I must send a congratulatory message to the winners of Idea of the Week and ask for a suitable time to talk with them. Once they reply, I get to work on the rest of the sections. When the time to talk arrives, I dial the number and wait for an answer.


Between the time it takes me to dial and the time it takes for the person to answer, a hundred thoughts flood my mind. What exactly should I ask them? Are the questions relevant enough? Do they have any idea about me, even the slightest bit? Then, the call is answered, and before I know it, I have already started the conversation:


“Hi, it’s Mihir from Noida Office.”


As human beings we read, write, and create stories. Sometimes, before meeting a person, we meet the idea of the person when we hear about them. Separated by hundreds of kilometres, what acts as a mode of communication between me in Noida and, say, a Spark in Chhattisgarh are the duration of early evening and our cell phones.


As the conversation flows between us and through the information I receive, I am transported into their life. The terrain changes beneath my feet from the flatness of Noida to the ruggedness of Uttrakhand or the undulation of Chhattisgarh. Every word spoken on the phone creates a cluster of dots and every sentence a photo. As we talk further, these photos begin to move, creating animation.


I imagine the Spark speaking with the teachers, who are sometimes excited and sometimes disinterested, about the importance of using the TLM kit. I catch the excitement in their voice when they tell me about how children have become fond of them. I identify the satisfaction in their tone which tells me that they know what they have undertaken is not the most comfortable enterprise, but they try, and they succeed. Finally, by the time our conversation is over, I am filled with a strange sort of happiness which comes only from understanding something higher than your grit. Sublime. I return to my desk, and to whoever I find in front of me, say,


“I really do enjoy talking with Sparks.”


If you google the definition of Spark, the very first result explains it as “a small fiery particle thrown off from a fire, alight in ashes, or produced by striking together two hard surfaces such as stone or metal.” Instantaneously, the layers within the word becomes apparent. A Spark, therefore, is that small bit of rebellion which detaches itself from the wholeness of a fire, that crucial relevance which stays alighted even if everything else has burned down, and finally, a product of hardship and friction. A Spark is resilient, unperturbed by the surroundings in the face of its purpose, with a desire to stay relevant in the larger scheme of things.


To see such qualities manifested in a person is inspirational, and to interact with a Spark my weekly ritual of illumination. 


-Spark Mihir, Noida

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