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The fond memories of school still warm my heart even after so many years. I remember how unabashed and alive we were as thirteen-year-olds. Those were the times when we had greater faith in humanity and in our ability to do anything. The truth was our bright side and guide.

As a young girl, I used to question the preference of sons over daughters in our society. I remember preparing a speech titled “Why Not A Girl” that I shared during a visit by the Chief Minister. When not playing sports or pranks on each other, we used to have passionate, optimistic discussions. We wanted to change the world– to fight social injustices, conflicts, public ignorance. In our innocence, we hoped to create a peaceful and prosperous society for everyone.

Of course, that was before our aspirations were met with the harsh realities of adulthood, before life’s challenges weighed heavy on our hearts. When life gets tough the most natural instinct is self-preservation. This is only natural, but in a quest of self-protection sometimes we build invisible walls around us. Instead of love and compassion, we let fear and negativity drive our actions. Before we know it, we have become the very society that we used to criticise.

The great Indian philosopher Jiddu Krishnamurthy said, “It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.” We can easily get used to unvarnished reality, but if we take a moment to search our hearts, search for that enthusiastic kid in all of us, I am sure we will find things we want to see changed.

Change doesn’t have to be miraculous or revolutionary always. We don’t have to be powerful and successful to catalyse change. It is as simple as never ceasing to be the kind, compassionate and caring person we always were.

If life is a collection of bazillion moments strung together, change is nothing but small steps taken repeatedly towards a greater good. Sometimes, we may get overwhelmed by the need around us and our efforts may seem like a drop in the ocean but then the ocean is made of the drops. Let’s not give up our aspiration of an equal, inclusive and just society. And, to that end, let’s not hesitate to do good, one step at a time.

End AIDS India Campaign is flashing light on the struggles of people living with HIV in India and striving to give them health and dignity. I invite you to support the campaign and be part of the change.

Written By: Tara Rana/EndAidsIndia

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