It's been over 3 years, since MAM was formed. Its interesting to see how naturally our progression in terms of team-size has lowered (as opposed to increasing). It wasn't a conscious effort to scale down. Neither was it the case that people weren't interested. But we just came across people for a reason, and a season ... creating a lifetime of experience and learning!
In 2006-07 (the year we were born), we had over 15 volunteers. It was a big number, considering we weren't really sure where we were going. We just had a passion and an understanding (of sorts) of where we'd like to go. By the year 2007-08, we were a super excited team of 6 full time staff, some intermediate financial support and less than 5 volunteers. Great! We were getting into a stronger and a more focused zone. By 2008-09, we were just 6 full-time staff and almost no volunteers. Interestingly by late 2009, we became a 2-person husband-wife army on a bigger change - moving to a new city - Ahmedabad.
Throughout these years, great inspirations, deviators (challengers) and spiritual mentors crossed our paths, sowing seeds in different ways. The way we realized these learnings were with the opportunity that life gave us and tested us on, so that we could remove what was not necessary and refresh what was most important. Struggles became a sort of an anti-virus software :). It cleaned up our mental system. What we realized after our move to Ahmedabad, was that it was all a part of a bigger plan. The plan that lay in front of us now -- in our present. As soon as we became a 2-person army, we became less afraid. We realized that we had been driven a lot by fear in the past. Not the fear of following our dreams into the unknown, but the fear to live our dreams authentically and make all a part of who we were. Not all shared the same thought process, or the spirit with which we wanted to move forward. Most important, we weren't sure whether we were being true to ourselves. Fear was our biggest hindrance. These experiences taught us so many incredible lessons and gave room to so many thoughts that lied dormant in our hearts. We started "thinking without" :) A phrase we started to understand, alas, after a lot of fallings.
Being around Jayesh Bhai and the community around the land of Gandhiji has been an awakening experience of sorts. Observation became a part of our life. And constantly, we found ourselves doing some of the simplest things possible. Like walking to a local hero's house with a potted tulsi plant, just to let him know how inspired we were by him. Or celebrating birthdays, anniversaries, or just random moments of happiness. By engaging ourselves in something as small as decorating someone's house with flowers. What was important was the feeling of someone caring, loving in the most unconditional way and making an offering of something that involved our own hands. I often wondered, for the first 3-4 months after the move, what were we really doing in terms of film work?
NOTHING.. was the answer.
There was a certain "doing" in doing nothing! The work was happening within! It made complete sense. In our personal lives, we started to reduce our unnecessary needs / wants -- so much so that my father thought we were in deep financial trouble and he started buying things that he thought we might need at home! :) It was when we comforted him about our choice of simplifying our lives, that we realized we were shifting. We were surprised that it was working, and surprisingly, he got it. :)
That was the key for us- living simply. Not worrying about the things we lacked and focusing on working with what we had could be so elevating. Maybe that's how we could work to make films too! That's when we understood the message of thinking big, living small. Now we are an army of 4 full-time passionate, crazy people and a battalion of inspiring volunteers that come to meet us and eventually become a part of our family. Because, now, in our minds, there are no strings attached!
It is as Jayesh Bhai says, "grow horizontally, because it's easier to hug, and see everyone at the same space as you, as compared to vertically, where you'll always need a ladder, looking down on everyone around you".
All good things, come in small packages :)