Circles And Stories - Noble Intentions In Action
Posted by Kishan Laddha on Aug 21, 2017
When I was a child I heard the story from Indian epic Ramayana. When Rama and all his team had to cross the ocean and monkeys were assisting in building the bridge. There were few squirrels who were also running around and were immersing themselves in water , would come back to land and roll around covering their bodies with sand and would go back to the water washing sand and carrying small pebbles. The monkeys felt disturbed with the movements of the squirrels and asked them what nonsense they think they were doing ? Squirrels responded - we are also assisting in making of the bridge. Monkeys laughed and told 1 don't you see we are throwing in big stones , what are you doing, Go away from our paths and let us work. Indifferent to rebukes of scolding of monkeys squirrels kept doing following their heart's calling.
Towards the end of the day they must have sat in a circle and reflected. Rama who was present at the site called squirrels and deeply appreciated their noble intentions. The contributions squirrels were making was at two levels - tangibly the sand and small pebbles must be working as packing between the big stones, intangibly the noble intentions of contributing towards something larger than life mission. This story left a deep impression in my heart, little did I know that one day I would witness a glimpse of the story coming
Recently, the rains in Gujarat (India) caused floods in many villages. To address trauma in villagers, Safai Vidyalaya Gandhi Ashram team decided to engage in one of the village in worst hit region. Many villagers were submerged in water and Najupura was one such village where farming and cattle rearing are the key occupations. All the farms were flooded with silt and 80% cattles died because of flood. Material support was provided through relief work done by government and many other entities. What was / is needed in these villages is mental relief.
Gandhi Ashram team, following heart first engaged with children, cutting nails (one child's 10 nails cutting would take around 5 minutes) of 300 children, building one on one connection established deep ties with them. Following that in 3 hours they cleaned the whole school that was shut since 10 days because of silt and mud. They became messangers of sanitation and hygiene best practices to their homes and let the villagers know that some good people are in village. (I will share more stories around that).
Floods disrupted the water supply system of the village. Drinking water was sent through potable water tankers wherein people were relying on river water for their day to day work. All the women of the village would come to the river bank to fill the water. The bank was quite disrupted and unbalanced, but given the needs women had no choice but to walk on undulatory path to fill their pots. Observing the same, Jayesh bhai took pot of one of the lady and filled it for her. Following him a human chain was built and 8-10 people started assisting women of village in filling the pots through river. Almost whole village was supplied with water within few hours. Meanwhile, Jayesh bhai threw the intentions if temporary steps can be made at the banks so that sisters and mothers would have least inconvenience. He threw the idea in open and asked children to bring small stones from wherever they can. Being on task, within few minutes stones started pouring in, someone brought few tools with that they started digging the sand. Village Sarpanch (head) arrived their and observing emergence he started assisting in making the steps . Within an hour while aelders were filling water pots, children's contribution lead the steps built within an hour.
Witnessing the dusk, changing colours of sky, I felt the story of Ramayana coming alive. Towards the end , all the children observed a minute of silence and sang together - "Sathe Ramiye Sathe Jamiye Sathe Kariye Sara Kasam, Kayam Rajjo Saini Sathe Gat Gat Basra Shri Bhagwan " ( may we all play together, eat together and do all the work together. May all our hearts feel the oneness the way water in all the pots is but one).
i felt deep gratitude to the universe, towards the children and to the earth,
water, sun, sky and air! The seeds cultivated in the whole process, the intentions children planted in the steps would stay with me forever the way the squirrels intentions stayed in my heart.