It was with a heavy heart that I clambered into the back seat of our small white car and bid farewell to Dharmashala. Our brief stay in the mountains had been a relaxing break from the bustling chaos of India. As we made our way down the windy road back to civilization, I thought about the day that lay ahead. We were heading to CORD, an organization dedicated to improving the lives of villagers in rural India. There, we were going to interview Dr. Kshama Metre. I was excited for the interview, but part of me was worried that I had left my focus up in Dharmashala. However, when the interview started, I soon realized that I had nothing to worry about.
Dr. Metre had a quiet but riveting energy about her that I was drawn to the second she entered the room. She was humble, but there was a gravitas about her that commanded respect. Before we began the interview, she had us go around the room and tell her our names, which she recorded in her notebook. No other interviewee had ever taken such time and effort to remember our names. It showed a level of humility that instantly gave the room an intimate and relaxed feeling.
Dr. Metre brought this same level of thoughtfulness to the actual interview as well. Instead of just giving us answers to the questions, she deepened the dialogue by introducing new thought provoking ideas. Each of her responses was preceded by a pause as she digested each sentence of the inquiry. Nothing about her was reactive; she was contemplative by nature.
Everything she said was rich with wisdom, but one quote in particular stood out to me. “Take the journey within and the one without won’t be so daunting.” This sentiment struck me very deeply. At this point in my life, there is a world of unknown ahead of my classmates and me. Soon we will be leaving behind the comfort of childhood to enter the mysterious world of adulthood. Such a transition is daunting and can be very overwhelming. However, Dr. Metre made me realize that my journey isn’t defined by what college I go to or what profession I choose. My true path is one for my conscience, and I create it every single day, through my thoughts and emotions. This journey, “the journey within”, is completely under my control.