The glass doors slide open. Humidity greets you as you walk into a myriad of sights and sounds. People everywhere. This is what I see as I take in the atmosphere of what is modern-day Mumbai.
It's amazing to think that months and years of planning, preparation and praying for this to happen, and I'm finally here.
The past two weeks in India have been a whirlwind of activity; exploring three different cities in two states, completing training, starting a new job, and experiencing almost every mode of transportation: flights, jumping onto a moving train, riding on the back of a scooter, Uber, taxis, navigating the ups and downs of an auto-rickshaw, and jumping out of a moving bus and onto the back of a random man's bike!
But the most exciting and important lesson learned is simply learning from others, especially in my new role based in Hyderabad City, South India. I've had so many fellow colleagues come up to talk to me, and the recurring question of the week is: "why come to work here in India?"
It's opened up the opportunity to share about my heart for India itself and my interest in the business-as-mission movement, where I can utilise my skills in IT while witnessing in an environment open to everyone from every faith background possible.
It got me thinking about how we often navigate and explore new places, new experiences, even new opportunities that come our way: do we elude them, or embrace them?
Fear of the unknown
Perhaps one way to explore new frontiers is to be open to what happens next. There is a crippling fear that tends to overtake those who are resistant to change: what happens if I leave and no one says goodbye, is something going to go wrong, what about me?
All these questions are natural but we don't have any control over them. My father always tends to quote Murphy's Law: "anything that can go wrong will go wrong." However, just because we have no control over the situation, doesn't mean we can't learn from it.
I was conversing with Kajal Singh, a South Asian graffiti artist in Berlin who is taking the streets by storm, and is quite a talented individual; and we were discussing the importance of location. Although miles apart, we could relate on the significance of artistry, and also the relatability of the Christian faith.
One of the important things I noted during our conversation was Kajal's ability to take advantage of the situation she found herself in; using a skill that she had a natural ability to use, but in a way that was able to relate to people in their own situation. Despite her obvious individual talents, she was also open to exploring the connection that others have when it comes to art and how we perceive its significance in everyday life.
The difference between ordinary and extraordinary
What makes the difference between ordinary and extraordinary? That little bit extra, as the saying goes. It's interesting what a change in perspective can often bring. In Kajal's case, this was brought about by using her unique perspective in the art world, and bringing it to the streets.
She was able to adapt in a place such as Europe, while being more relatable without compromising her unique skills and experiences as a South Asian aggregating a form of American hip-hop culture. Though quite unique in its form, it is still able to appeal to many because it is presented in a way that's authentic and real.
Though we may not find ourselves in such a place that Kajal finds herself in, we also have the opportunity to be our authentic, real selves in whichever situation we find ourselves in—whether at home, at work, maybe even in a different country.
Is your take on life eating away at your ability to be yourself? Sometimes, we need to be ready to explore a different way of looking at life and exploring the unknown.
It's time to explore the new frontier.
A third-culture-kid born in Australia to Indian parents, Joseph returned from California where he was studying theology at Fuller, and recently began working for a BAM initiative in South India; his love of books and writing has now drawn him to PSI.
Joseph Kolapudi's previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/joseph-kolapudi.html