I dont know what to write. But I know that I should write something,and that if I dont do it I might choke on this strange feeling blocking my throat and may be die of a heart burst( dunno if that is biologically possible, just my humble speculation).
There has been moments in my life where I have felt touched, moved. What am feeling now is somewhat similar to that, but not quite the same. I, along with two friends, have been visiting an orphanage near by my home for the last two months with the aim of teaching English to the kids there. I am having my vacations now and I thought I might as well do something worthwhile than sit at home and crib about the slow pace of time. It has always been like that for me. Time seems to stand still during vacations. And the only thing I usually do during holidays is to put on weight.
So there I was, set to change those kids to 'smart children speaking the queen's English'. But what I never foresaw was the change that this endeavor could bring to me. I know this sounds cliched. May be like those English movies in which the white heroine,a personification of the 'white man's burdern' that Kipling talked about, sets out to help the poor black people in nations like Sudan and Uganda and how inevitably the last scene of every such movie has to end with the heroine's self realization and change and blah blah. I am no heroine and the kids I mingled with were no embodiment of suffering or tragedies of life. Though I have to confess that that was somewhat my expectation - grief stricken faces looking for a helping hand.
They were normal kids. Ordinary, with shy smiles and loud laughters, but possessing hearts with such pristine innocence that they could with one look make the sophisticated and the so called privileged us question our genuineness. The most beautiful form of love is a kid's love. It is innocent, undemanding and unconditional. It is not selfish or jealous. In that orphanage, I could see it. I could see the feeling of which I had read only the scriptures and certain sappy novels conveniently borrowing ideas from the holy books.
I have never faced a shortage of love in my life. Never. Though many times, being my silly self, I have felt I don't have enough of it. There I saw kids with so much love and kindness in their hearts that I cant claim to have in mine. They dont know what life or god or destiny has deprived them of. Or may be, they do. But they dont crib.I have never,not even once heard a kid crib or complaint there. Neither about the food nor about a friend who borrowed the only doll he/she had and never returned it nor about studies. They taught me that a single eclairs can be divided to more than 15 pieces. They taught me that it doesnt matter if the food is not served hot or if the tea lacks sugar. That it is not important if you clothes are a little too old or frayed at the borders. Life is still good and we are blessed.
They ask me about my parents. Each day as I leave they would ask me to convey my regards to them. Invariably. And each day the moment they saw us at the gate, they would stop their play and rush to tell the details of the breakfast, or the dog that wouldnt stop barking at night or the new flower that has blossomed in their garden or who had done the homework first. I have never felt more wanted in life before.
Today was my last day with them. They had arranged a programme for me and my friends. They "spoke English welcome speech". Performed a skit. Danced and sang for us. And send us off, with a beautiful handmade card for each of us and a token of their love. There were wishes and smiles and hugs and kisses. And tears. The kids crowding around us as we started to leave. So many of them. So much of care. And their love serene, flawless, like the kiss of a feather.
I dont know if I will ever see them again. But I know that I wont ever forget the love that I found there. In the place where I expected it only in trace amounts. And the thing that the kids taught me. Much more important and valuable than my English lessons. The ability to appreciate life. They have it. Do we???