Nikhita Arora
Sep 29, 2016

‘The world is full of friends we haven’t met’

The author reflects on learnings from the AFAA Fast Track programme in Malaysia this September

‘The world is full of friends we haven’t met’
Attending the Fast Track is an experience that goes beyond words.  It is that kind of programme that everyone has a million questions about but no one knows what goes on until someone experiences it. The training, by the end of three days, is converted into a feeling, an experience, which will walk with you in every walk of your life.
To encapsulate the process, it consisted of two things: A sneak peek into my past, and a sneak peek into my future. Except that in addition to that, it also empowered you to be able to change it: Both the past and future.
At the end of the first day, while I was enjoying every minute of being a room with 26 strangers, cut off from the outside world in a different country and NO LAPTOPS, I was unable to understand why I was there. I expected some sessions on presentation skills, people management, etc.; but on the second day, after two emotionally draining exercises, I knew that I was exactly where I needed to be. This training was not about people management, it was about self management. The toughest of tough persons had cracked in the room, broken, their shells open. And from that exact moment onwards, it all started to sink in. Before I knew, I realised that as like Bharat (Avalani) Sir always mentions, the world is not full of strangers, but it is full of friends we haven’t met. I realised that the 26 strangers, who filled the room, within 24 hours, were now entangled in an emotional bond with each other. We were no more people representing different nations; we were now buddies, who took an oath to help each other swim through this ocean called life.
The programme shed a beautiful light on the power the marcom industry has today, that to change people’s lives. And that it is up to us, if we want to darken them, or enlighten them. The marcom industry is about communication, and what is the use of such degrees and achievements and designations if one cannot communicate with oneself?
If I have to describe my experience in a word, the word would be regeneration. I not only have transformed, but have regenerated not into someone new, but someone old, who I once loved. It wasn’t about loving yourself, but was mainly about finding oneself, even amongst the darkness that surrounds us in both professional and personal lives. It has given me belief, to know in my bones, that I am strong and passionate enough to face everything that comes my way. It is this passion that I am now taking back into the world of advertising, so that I too can make a change in the world, just the way FastTrack brought a change in my life.
I would like to not only thank the AFAA body for bestowing this beautiful opportunity to me, but also to all the trainers, who hand held us through our discoveries and also helped pave the path ahead as we now come back and to the same world, same people, same laptops, but now with a more enriched self.
(The author is account director at Madison. She was among young professionals selected and sponsored by the Advertising Council of India to attend the Asian Federation of Advertising Association’s Fast Track programme in Malaysia this year.)
Campaign India

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