The reason why somebody goes into development is not to do with the glamour of the role and is certainly not to do with the money. It's not to do with travelling and nobody can say they do it for the laid back working environment.
So why do I choose this life over an endless list of alternatives? Maybe it is the challenge. There's no doubt that working in development requires rigour and a real enthusiasm for your work; the obstacles you face will manifest in a thousand forms from administration to resources. Being confronted each day with the most potent troubles of the world – poverty, lack of sanitation, widespread discontent – in a most intimate way does not lend itself to an easy day at the office. Perhaps it is the excitement. The sheer dynamism across the entire development spectrum is buzzing. The work one does can touch almost any aspect of a life and need not be restricted to any in particular. It is a field which constantly changes: with every new technology, every change in policy and every social shift the entire playing field shifts and what was once gospel yesterday becomes old fashioned as I type. It could also be the opportunity. One will find it incredibly difficult to find a field that so directly changes the landscape of the globe and the lives of those who inhabit it. A well-timed asset sale or achievement of champion status for one's sport are both laudable achievements in their own right, but neither captures the temporal permanence or nor the scale of change that development work exhibits. Record profits shine brightly for a blip in time, while the laying down of the right developmental policy or CSR program will continue to set the agenda of some from there onwards. That moment on the podium might inspire millions to long for and wish for the same glory, but the right development strategy can lay the foundations to make this longing a reality.
And where does India come into all of this? Simply put, it embodies all three of these dimensions: challenge, excitement and opportunity. It is clear that much is to be done in India and that taking the right steps is no negligible feat. As India continues to change, the rhythm of these steps will need to follow and with this comes the opportunity for quite the development dance.