when i came in to the office this morning, ksa's desktop was unnaturally tidy. the surrounding area was clutter-free. i thought i was prepared for this, but seeing the shiny surface of her desk (as opposed to piles of paper) was still a shock.
five years; i have spent more time with her than with my uni friends. we started at ahrc at around the same time. together, we learnt of torture, and forced disappearances and violence against women and caste discrimination and rule of law. we attended protests, wrote urgent appeals and talked to victims. we shared a room (two actually), argued, coaxed and laughed. we were in grad school together, complaining about our respective classes and sharing reading material. we grew together, albeit differently. i think of how we began, and i am so proud to see her now; a strong, articulate and dedicated human rights defender. it has been a long, eventful and fruitful journey. soon, she will begin a new journey, this time on her own.
i am envious. i want a new journey too. partly because after five years at one workplace, i am ready for a change. and partly because nearly everyone i started working with has left. first ap, then sl, then ps, then nc, and now ksa. these were the people i looked to, for inspiration, for courage, for knowledge. and for friendship. we grew together with the organization. the office moved from a tiny, box-filled space where we shared desks to occupying two floors with its own conference room. in turn, individual coordinators became more experienced and confident, resulting in the expansion of country and thematic programmes. the lines representing ahrc, work and life were always overlapping. so much of who i am and what i do has been shaped by these people doing what they do. without them, i feel adrift.
there is room for so much more growth here, i know. i feel a little tired though. but that is for another post perhaps..