Sunday, September 19, 2010

Take Me out of this Box!

It is true that I desire for a world with no borders.

I know that in spite of all the physical, political,lingual and legal borders....affection, passion, love, peace and all positive emotions transcend through effortlessly in our world..and that is what I would like to live on.

Few weeks ago, I was standing at the junction near Andheri flyover to cross the road, when suddenly the sky burst open and lashed down with blessings. I stood near the traffic policeman's fort and sprung open my rather measly of an umbrella. No sooner did I open the umbrella than a few of the children selling fruit and flowers huddled around me and held me tightly seeking cover. I was over the moon.
Do I honestly exhibit the vibe of a border less world?

As they stood around me, I tried to give them as much cover as I could, willingly getting soaked myself. I had to catch a was almost 9pm...and I was heading to the Central suburbs...time was key..but I could not leave those waited till the rain-gods rested. And the kids disappeared and waved at me after I said bye.

Warmth and trust wrapped around me for just a few minutes...ensuring me that my class-ridden society is truly man made.

Another thing definitely man made, is this box filled with societal expectations. This box contains stigma attached to certain professions that we tread, clothes that we may wear, values we may believe in, music we may listen to and other choices we make regarding our own lives. And, these are inspired from a larger knowledge base derived through globalisation and its resulting travel, acquaintances, literature, reformed ideologies -- list goes on. In other words this box contains all those systems and beliefs that fails to move ahead as the times are a-changing

The issues amongst many is that my dearest Father has put me in this box to find a suitable match for me as I have reached the 'right' age. And like me there are so many others.

Our plight entails long hours of disturbing unidirectional monologues from guilt-struck and overbearing parents who mainly speak about the social obligation towards the institution of marriage and of course the ever -important biological setbacks of oneself .

I don't believe there is ever a right age to be married. I am a romantic at heart and also a bit I, like many others, am waiting to sense that connection with that individual who will evoke in me the desire to be married to him. I should have the right to choose...why must I be hurried because I am pushing 30. That is a rationale beyond archaic.

I am currently using my sense of humour to ease myself out of this Box.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

All of my Children

As the children showered me with affectionate hugs and kisses during dance-therapy class, all their disabilities were insignificant. A day at The Association of People with Disability (APD) helped me understand the extent to which every child is born unique and so it is their birthright to realise their full potential.

Why was I at APD? Well in July, through SERVE, I found a different India. An India, I have read about in odd articles written by travellers or just saw in documentaries made by ambitious storytellers. I had a meagre glimpse of the lives of young and unfortunate (so subjective a concept) children.

I met over 300 young children between 5 NGOs in Bangalore and in the outskirts of Cochin. These NGOs were SERVE partners who annually look forward to the SERVE volunteers to spend time with them for an average of 2 weeks.

Some of the children I met were strong and some were not but they were all special..they were all heroes. Each of their stories is proof that hardships only surface to teach us that life is what you make it to be.

At, Jyothi Seva School for the Blind, Bangalore, the dreams of all those bright children overwhelmed me. Their lack of sight never allowed them to lose their vision that they had for themselves. One day at class, the petal like fragile children ( fragile only because they are toddlers) from the nursery spent over an hour playing with bubbles in a small basin. Their lack of vision did not stop them from enjoying the wet and frothy sensation of non- toxic soap bubbles.

Joy in such basic aspects of life--- do I know what that feels like?

India is an enormous country...sitting here in my room I don't realise the realities of homelessness, abandonment and loss of loved ones. I never would have, if it were not for my time at Morning Star, Bangalore and Mother and Child, Thodupuzha.

Both these centres are homes to over 150 young boys and girls, in average, who do not enjoy the security of a family. However, these Centres are their homes and I could sense that through their play time, prayer time, study time and dinner time. These children work hard at school and look out for each other at 'home' and have aspirations no different from mine.

I know now that true affection does not discriminate and knows no borders. My heart went out to each of the tiny faces. They took me as their own and I gladly accepted them as mine.

It was difficult to say bye to them, unsure of when I would see them again. But I know this....I will work hard for them; for the likes of them---No no their stories need not be told to you; you know of them.

Sympathy is not the need of the hour. A more proactive approach is devised here at SERVE and at many other hard working organisations around the world. I want to constantly work for them in my potential.

I have no dearth of vision and passion because of the memories of all my children.