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.