We were asked yesterday by the Youth for India team to share what we thought was the most enjoyable aspect of the fellowship. That got me thinking. It was difficult to choose one thing.
My thoughts went to two weeks ago when I visited home for Anand’s cousin’s wedding . Like at any family gathering, I met a lot of new people – all curious to know who I was and what I did. While some appreciated that I was doing this fellowship, most showed sympathy- “Oh so sad, you are in a village while your husband is in America.” Some even went to the extent of saying “Paapa, don’t worry you will also get your visa soon and you can go.”
Man! How perceptions could be so far away from the truth.
Most people seem to think I have given up comforts and am living a tough life in the village. I was thinking about it and realized, never before have I felt so much at peace. (Or perhaps I did during my engineering days when I was again on a beautiful campus in Suratkal away from the city. We always called that a four year vacation.)
Anyway, this year here is something even more special, it’s not just peaceful, and it gives me joy I had never experienced. The simple reason – the PEOPLE. I cannot believe such simple people even exist- people who work selflessly, people who love unconditionally, people who have little wants and who haven’t forgotten how to enjoy simple pleasures of life. These are people at the NGO, people in the villages, the teachers in the school and most of all – the kids. What pleasure it is to just listen to the kids, watch them, teach them, learn from them. I don’t know if I am making any difference to them, but I surely am learning a lot from them.
These kids are truly champs, they do so many things you and I would never have thought of doing as kids. Sing, dance, play,draw,paint, win medals,set up grand puja pandals, give haircuts to each other, share, fix stuff, do carpentry work, make clay idols, ask questions, organize events, grow vegetables, take care of each other, teach each other, show unconditional love and of course learn!
I couldn’t believe it when they had to build the stage for the annual day function – they went to the woods, chopped bamboo, built the entire set up from scratch and decorated it really well too !
A friend recently asked me –
Why are you doing this now? Shouldn’t you be doing this after 40 or 50?
Shouldn’t you live the fast life of the city at this age?
I thought about what constituted my ‘fast city life’ not so long ago. Leaving for work at 6 am ,Spending 3 hours on commute everyday, excel spreadsheets, ppts, meeting requests, deadlines. Going to 1522 for a beer over the weekend was the only solace. Now, I don’t have to wait for the weekend to have a good time 🙂 and work doesn’t seem like work any more!
Of course, the decision to choose this wasn’t an easy one to make. I am lucky to have had the support of a family who allowed me to choose this.
I feel guilty though that Anand is slogging day and night for his client out there and I am living a carefree, peaceful life here.
It would be perfect though if he would just be here too 😀 What say, Anand?