The BIG One: North American Float Edition
“This year’s Janma Jayanti celebration is going to be like no other!” This phrase has been on repeat since the past year and a half, so it seems. Granted, it is indeed the first time that the NRI countries will be hosting Janma Jayanti (JJ) in India. And, there hasn’t been a parade or international village exhibition in the past either. But these elements make up only a fraction of why JJ111 is going to be well… extra, extra special!
The main element, of course, is JJ “111”. Now, you might be wondering what the 1s really stand for. Or, you may have participated in a series of workshops where you shared where you came up with a list of ideas the 1s signify. Your list of ideas probably looked something like this: Unity, Oneness, Harmony, Jagat Kalyan, Purity, Dada, Togetherness, and many more. It’s because of your ideas that the JJ111 North America Team decided how they wanted to pictorially showcase the theme of “1 for 111” on the float.
And boy, was that a challenge! The North America (NA) Parade & Village Team consists of roughly 35 mahatmas from all over the US and Canada, including the YMHT+ team. This team gained momentum soon after GP and has been diligently meeting multiple times every week, sometimes for hours on end, to ensure that our float and village are both grandiose, eye-catching, and most importantly, reflective of the “1 for 111” theme our mahatmas have put together.
The initial sketches of the float presented by the veterans of the core team were modified several times by the YMHT+ crew until we came up with a unifying story. While we cannot share this story with you right now, we promise that you will not be disappointed!
Little did the YMHT+ planning teams know that they would be taking the lead during meetings, learning how to delegate tasks, and reaching out to mentors when needed, all with the encouragement and guidance from the core team, of course. The only thing they knew, however, is that they would obviously be bonding and laughing along the way! The excitement with which the youth worked was apparent in the meetings and created a channel for imagination and dialogue to flow back and forth among the larger team and allowed the opportunity for the youth to display their creativity, talents, and commitment to Seva.
This is not to say that the process was free of challenges. The size of the team, different time zones, bandwidth, balancing other Seva, differing opinions, and meeting durations were all obstacles that the team worked together to overcome in the planning process. The most challenging piece was to transform words and ideas into 3D visuals and models that not only told a story and message, but also represented the US and Canada. Accomplishing this goal was the turning point for the entire team. We are very fortunate to have mahatmas on our teams who brought all of our drawings, ideas, and imaginations to life in a concrete and tangible way that depict not only North America, but also Dada, Niruma and Pujyashree. Just wait and see!
While we are nowhere close to being done with the planning and execution, we are making huge strides and are holding strong. What is maybe most endearing is that the planning process has been all inclusive since day 1. It feels as if from the workshops to the surveys and all the polls, all of North America’s mahatmas are contributing to the planning process, even those who cannot make it in November for the event. As one BIG team, we have undoubtedly started to embody the spirit of oneness as Dada’s mahatmas for this special event.
During this entire process, attending endless meetings with all the team members, we were mindful in trying to apply Gnan and follow the 5 Agnas to do Kashay rahit seva.
We hope you all can join us and are all as excited as we are to celebrate JJ 111 in India!