एक प्रेमी युगल के रूप हमेशा सुना करता था प्रेम में मूल्य उसका ज्यादा होता है जो प्यार कम करता है । आज समझ में आया ये सारे बेमानी है। वो चाहत जो न बोल कर भी एक गूंज दिल में छोर गया उसकी कहानी है ये दो घंटे के यादे ।
I was in Snehalaya (a Home of Love), Wagholi(Pune), as a volunteer from my employer to visit an NGO working for special children. I use to be part of such charity earlier but in this event I cheers to hide my tears couple of times in this Home of Love. I am falling short of English words to show this event so sharing a note of my Mukti a real Human Resource Manager.
——————————– Snehalya ————————————-
The dining hall was empty and spacious by any means. There were a couple of aluminum tables and benches, a wall shelf with colorful cups and plates and some everyday use cutlery. There were many windows bringing in enough sunlight to cover the entire room. The day was warm and the sun up and bright. But where were the children?
Saheli, Anil and I had reached before the others. Smita, Anuj and Deepti and Shankar were to arrive shortly. We chatted lightly with Father Jerry and he said that the bell would ring at 4.30pm and the children would come to the dining room, out of habit for their tea time snack. It was 4.28pm and we were all anxiously waiting to share our love with them. I was anxious – not sure if I would be able to create the same buzz I normally do for an event. A little bit about me – I pride myself for brining life to an event from the beginning to the end and enjoy it tremendously. I was anxious unsure of how the afternoon would unfold.
Then there came a child beaming in saying hello aunty! How are you? She looked absolutely normal. I was pleasantly surprised and a twinge of happiness and even relief came in. Then she went back in and came along with an invalid in a wheelchair. Then more followed and suddenly, the large empty spacious room was filled with children in wheelchairs, disabled children who couldn’t walk and crawled in and partially disabled children helping the fully disabled to settle in. The room was so quiet save for the children’s banter. They all greeted us well. I was numb. It was dawning on me – that’s why the room is so big. That’s why there are no chairs. They can’t mount themselves onto chairs. I tried to hear them introducing each other to me, but I just spaced out. I couldn’t breathe and my eyes were swelled up. I was overwhelmed and could barely speak.
What I was feeling was profound guilt. Profound guilt that some part of me that wanted to thank god for making all well in my family. What was wrong with me?
You must know this, the sunny skies had masked with clouds. Clouds that didn’t disappear all afternoon thereafter.
I will never be able to thank Saheli enough for pulling me out of my thoughts without realizing it. She was chatting away with the children, introducing herself, and they were so happy interacting with her. Then it dawned on me – they are so happy. They don’t want or need pity. They didn’t think they were different or lesser. They wanted to move on with the activity and the day. They wanted to interact with us.
I pulled myself up, surprisingly very easily and started distributing party hats while the children continued chatting up. I noticed it was harder for Anil to come out of his realization time.
The darling children were polite, conversant in both English and Hindi and lively. Oh so lively. They were eager to know if it was my birthday. Habit compelled me to lie and say yes – didn’t know what else to reply. A little boy came, shook my hand wished me and then touched my forehead with his palm and said ‘god bless’. Again I was stumped with a lump in my throat.
The second car arrived and the team walked in. I saw them go through what I had experienced. Profound Silence. I understood what they were going through and didn’t disturb them through their quiet time of realization.
We had a long drawn game of Housie and the kids were delighted with having a number cancel on their tickets. Each time .We distributed cake, wafers, chocolate and apple and mango drinks. They felt embarrassed to ask for our help to open the straw. They helped each other too.
On popular demand, we played Aashique 2 song, Balam Pichkaari and Badtameez Dil. We danced without apprehension for them while they clapped and cheered us. A few danced along and it was awesome to hear one girl sing Aashique 2 so well.
We all said long drawn goodbyes. They asked us to return for Christmas, as they were all off after their exams to meet their parents. They were not homeless children. They belonged to families who didn’t have the means to take care of them but love them tremendously and meet them on every holiday. How lucky they really were to have Father Jerry. There will be a special place in heaven for him and all like him who are so noble in their thoughts and actions. Who love and serve all who need them.
I came out of there, stronger than ever before. It changed me. Saheli Anil and I returned in the same car. I must tell you we had very casual banter in the car. I think each of us was so moved, that we couldn’t talk about it. But I had to tell somebody. So I wrote this down.
I am so impressed with Saheli. She visits and spends time with so many organizations that she is one I will always look up to for inspiration.
Thank you Saba for this life changing experience and I would like to personally thank Smita and all in the CSR Committee for introducing me to Snehalya, a home of love for the children with multiple disabilities and cerebral palsy. Thank you Father Jerry for your awesome dedication. : M