Volunteering in Mcleodganj - A Memorable Experience

Sometimes in life we come across certain experiences that leave a sweet memory in our mind. These experiences teach us a lot about life. These moments educate us that monetary benefits are not the only true measure of happiness. There are few moments in our life which will bring a smile on our lips everytime we remember it. Umang Trivedi - a passionate traveller has a similar experience to share!

Here is the story of Umang where he speaks about his month-long vacation in Mcleodganj. And how this trip taught him a beautiful lesson for his life.

Some experiences stay with you throughout your life. They are etched in your memory as short inspiring stories which you cherish forever. Here, I have shared one such inspiring story which still makes me smile.

This short story is from my stay in Mcleodganj. Whenever I think of this trip, it leaves me full of optimism and hope for the future. It makes me believe in hard work, dedication and the will to follow my dream. It makes me believe that achieving dream is possible despite all the hardships one faces.

Years ago, just after my post-graduation I decided to travel for a month. I started my trip from Mcleodganj, with a plan to explore other towns as well. But, I was so 'in love' with Mcleodganj that I ended up spending my entire month there.

My usual days in this beautiful hill station would include learning about Buddhism, practising Yoga, relishing delicious street food and spending time at a café, fingers wrapped around a cup of coffee while reading a book. I used to randomly start conversation with strangers and know their stories. This made me befriend many people coming from different countries. I also interacted with the monks to know their lifestyle.

One day, I was talking to a monk and he told me something which made me ponder. He told me about the hardships faced by Tibetians.

Tibetians are peaceful people who live under the dominance of Chinese. From time to time, the Chinese troops ransack their villages, leaving their families in agony. After a certain point of time, these Tibetians tend to desert the village and seek shelter in India. To reach India, they undertake an arduous trek. After tolerating the extreme cold and chilly winds, they finally make it to India.

In India, Dalai Lama’s Temple is situated in Mcleodganj. Hence, many Tibetians take shelter here and become a monk. These monks have a great thirst for knowledge. They love to learn Hindi & English so that they can overcome their hardships and develop a wider perspective about surroundings. In Mcleodganj, there are some organizations that impart free education and teach English to these monks.

When I learnt about their situation, it touched my heart. Hence, I decided to contribute in the upbringing of the Tibetian community. I thought, even if I am able to teach English to one Monk, I would consider my Mcleodganj stay fruitful. So, I signed up for a Social Organization as a volunteer. I enrolled as an English teacher and subsequently, I was assigned a student.

Tenzin was elder to me. However, his smile was as innocent as a child! He was very attentive and inquisitive as a student. He used to ask me a lot of questions. I used to give him homework and obediently he would complete it with enthusiasm.

I used to conduct his English session in a garden. One day, I offered him to go to a cafe and have some tea. He joyfully agreed. When we reached the cafe, we ordered for masala tea. As we waited for the tea, overlooking the valley, I asked him about his life and dreams. He explained how he has come to India to get educated and go to Japan. He told me that it has been his childhood dream, to visit Japan and become a successful man there. When I asked him what would he do next after reaching Japan? He answered that he would call his whole family to Japan and liberate them from the shackles of Chinese tyranny.

My heart was filled with respect for him.

After the month ended, it was time to bid adieu to Mcleodganj. When I was leaving Mcleodganj, Tenzin met me to exchange goodbyes. I waited for him in a café rooftop, keeping a sharp eye on the adjacent road. In some time, I saw him pacing rapidly towards the café. He was carrying a wonderful silk scarf as a parting present. I was also carrying some storybooks which would help him in learning English. We met and exchanged farewell gifts.

I wished him good luck and left Mcleodganj. As I started my journey towards Delhi, I prayed only for one thing- that one day, he should be able to go to Japan and help his family.

This story took place a long time back. But a month back, he messaged me. When I read it, corners of my eyes became moist. His message read "Thank you for your help. I am going to Japan!”

I wouldn’t say that his going to Japan was entirely due to me. But, I am glad I could help him. The satisfaction in helping someone achieve a dream, is much more than anything materialistic achievement!

As told by Umang Trivedi

(All pictures by Umang Trivedi)


Born on a winter morning in January, a big foodie by heart and an avid reader. A blogger by choice and loves to pen down travelogues, especially if its related to food ...