Rangoli Goyal has been a part of the People for Parity core team since 2013, having been associated with the organization since its inception.
Over the last two years, she has quite successfully balanced her life as a PhD student at IIT-Roorkee with her roles as a participant, facilitator and coordinator at various PfP workshops and events.
This month, Rangoli was awarded the prestigious Fulbright-Nehru Fellowship, allowing her to pursue her post-doctoral research in Mathematics at one of the esteemed Universities in the United States from the coming year. While reflecting on her achievement, Rangoli penned a beautiful letter to PfP thanking it for the role it played in her life, and supporting her in reaching where she has.
“Thank you… for all the wonderful things PfP has given me. I agree that Fulbright committee values the academic achievements but more than that they look for someone who can make a difference to this world. I now have that magic. I can feel that positive difference in my life. I am a new and improved version of my own self and this metamorphosis happened because of PfP. Had it not been for PfP, I wouldn’t have even completed the application. I don’t know how and why there was this strength and a belief in me which said I should go for it. The belief that I should not quit before I try…that is something which PfP has given me. This is because I have experienced it while working. For the past two years I have facilitated a number of workshops…but every time I had this fear that what if I fail? People around me believe that I can do a good work but I did not. ‘What if’.. These two words governed everything that I did.. What if I am not able to facilitate well? What if I advocate something wrong? What if I disappoint people around me? This fear of failure crippled me. I could not take risks. But with each session I attended and each workshop I facilitated… my self-confidence grew. And somehow I found the courage to fill out the application. I did. I got the interview call. And the fear of ‘What if’ struck again. What if I don’t make it know? As usual, I turned to my PfP family for support. I called you and I messaged mona. It was not that you both said something special or motivational.. but I just felt good. It was like after talking to you both I realized I am not that bad and that I have a fair chance of winning this.
‘Khuli aankhon se sapna dekhna’. This was one such dream. I was preparing for it and I used to have the ‘fear’ moments but then this time it was like they were weak and I was able to fight. This is one thing which PfP gave me… the spirit of fighting with my fears.
I remember when i was about to fill out my application I came to you and told you about it and you said I should go for it and I did. So I wanted to come to office once before going in for the interview but had it in the morning and somehow I just could not. Every time the ‘what if?’ question came up.. I used to think about the good things that people have said to me in workshops and I used to feel good. The interview just lasted 10 mins. One of the questions as expected was about PfP. So what happened was that the first question was about my research work and why I want to go to US… I spoke well but my legs were shaking. I was pretending to be not nervous when I actually was. There were 12 people in that room.. looking at me.. judging my every move and that scared me like anything.. The second question was about PfP. And I distinctly remember that I smiled when I heard that question and I spoke for about 3 mins… and that was it.. just speaking about PfP gave me the much needed confidence and at that moment I knew I was through. Then there were other random questions and I somehow ended up saying that ‘people fear mathematics’. Everyone laughed and they asked me to elucidate further. Not imposing my thoughts on anyone is one of the important lessons that I learnt in PfP. All I can do is empower someone with the information needed to make a responsible choice. Similarly in mathematics people fear because they are asked to accept something.. they are asked to learn it.. they are not told why they should learn it… they are not told where this particular formula helps… I feel I will be successful as a researcher if I can explain to someone what I did and why I did. And by someone I don’t mean a distinguished professor.. someone who has the basic knowledge of my field should be able to understand the aim of the research. And this was it.. The interview people were impressed and I knew that I got this!
For me the one word that defines PfP is ‘strength’. PfP brought a positive change in me… gave wings to my dreams.. ignited sparks and gave me a second family. I wouldn’t have got a chance to live this dream of mine without the support of all the beautiful people of PfP family. Thank you…”
Thank you for the beautiful words and everything you have done for PfP so far Rangoli! Many congratulations on this fantastic achievement and keep making us proud!