It is not easy to accurately put into words the emptiness and gripping desperation we experienced on February 14th this year in Baba Gurukulam - an orphanage in Pozhichalur.
Our arrival at the orphanage was met with shrieks of joy. I tried to look into each set of eyes as they came up for hugs, wishing I could sweep them away from this place and show them the bright, vibrant and beautiful world outside.
The children performed a few songs for us, after which we distributed snacks and toys. On obtaining permission to play and interact with the kids, we gathered around them, asked for their names and introduced ourselves. We then proceeded to play a few games with them. It was deeply stirring to see how much of a home they had there, filled with lots of brothers and sisters. They were eager to play games, ask and answer questions, and all wanted to be given special and undivided attention. They did fight and quarrel, much like we all do with our siblings back home.
These children are really talented; some of them good at singing and some good at dancing and some just have enough talent in any other field that you would think and question about! Simply observing their talent makes you feel happy and you wish you could spend as much time as possible with them.
If there is one occasion that gives me a lot of happiness and which I look forward to most, it has to be this activity. I feel I am born to spend at least a quarter of my life with these children.
We, on the other hand, organised a lot of games such as drawing, lemon spoon, bottle fill, and memory games to keep them engaged. A team among us danced to popular songs from the present decade. Three teams prepared skit and performed on cartoons, saving trees and classroom drama. Girls also took to decorating the kids’ little hands with henna, followed by lunch.
When it was time to say good-bye, I braced myself for the reaction of our hosts - while all the caregivers and children waved bye, a cute little girl who had taken to me started to cry, but then took stock of herself and waved good-bye as the door shut. Finally we all had a quick talk to appreciate all seniors for their effort in orchestrating the visit.
You start appreciating the things in your life only when you see people who don’t have them. Visiting an orphanage can be paradigm-shifting, and left me feeling indescribably fortunate to have a loving family.
Do all the good you can,
By all the means you can,
In all the places you can,
At all times you can,
To all the people you can,
As long as you can!