There are a bunch of children between 9 to 15 years who stay in the same lane as mine. They stay in the servant quarters and go to the government school across the road. Some years ago they did not have any other positive spaces of engagement. As a result, they spent most afternoons and evenings outside home loitering around freely and some got involved in minor stealing and other destructive behavior. They were shunned away by neighbors living in the bungalows and high rise apartments.
loves children and started being friends with them. Initially, they would come home if they needed stationary or help with their school project. Later, Swara made a community cupboard that had all their art supplies and they could come and take it whenever they wanted.
Kids started taking full ownership of that little cupboard. Keeping it clean, making sure everyone puts things in place etc. Swara and some friends took the kids to Decathlon (a sports shop). They got to play and choose their sports equipment/gear – this is what led to creating the community sports library.
Kids are now an integral part of the larger community. They wait for Awakins and in superly excited tones start reminding us on Tuesday that tomorrow is an Awakin. They love to arrange the cushions, do the ambiance, fill water and help in all those little arrangements. A few weeks back, when the temperatures were on a rise, they decided to wash the floor with water to cool the off for meditators.
One day they insisted on making lemonade for the guests. They made lemonade and left the kitchen spot clean. One kid I remember said, “I think I am changing, I never help my mother like this when I am home”. They are mindful of not being too noisy on Wednesday’s. Kids don’t sit for the silent hour and sharing but they join us for dinner.
Last Awakin I had to step out for some work while the meditation was going on, I quietly opened the door and ahoy what I see!! Children were meticulously arranging shoes of all those who had come.
Lately, friends from the community have started engaging with them in many ways like every Sunday; Pinky di teaches Yoga to them, Bhakti teaches English and art every Saturday and Ramesh uncle tells them stories after every Awakin. I find these children fearless, raw, loving and very sensitive. They are so connected to so much happening around them, they climb trees, rescue birds and dance in the rains like nobody is watching.
These children are a bundle of joy and they keep reminding me to let go, forgive, smile and dance in the rain. The spark in their eyes, their inquisitiveness about little things and their unconditional love constantly comes as a reminder to me to connect with the child within.