When I woke up today to a gloomy, damp day, little did I expect the day would light up in such an unexpected way. No! The weather had nothing to do with this…it was a bunch of twenty odd kids, chirpy, naughty and full of life. These underprivileged kids, either orphans or from families who are not capable of taking care of them, have found a home in this two storied orphanage in Salt Lake, Kolkata. As I walked through the large black gates with a childhood friend who loves teaching and spending time with them, I noticed a pair of curious eyes scrutinising me in details. Upon realising that I had noticed her, she ran upstairs.
Immensely unpopular among kids, I am kind of used to scaring kids away for some unknown reason! What I however did not realise was that she was just the messenger! Within minutes, a battalion of tiny tots stormed down the stairway, as little hands held on to my arms and pulled me upstairs to their dormitories. They didn’t need pleasantries, they didn’t need introductions…..they knew how to make friends without caring for social norms. In the huge room with blue walls, a small TV airing their favourite cartoon and a number of mattress-less beds, the little butterflies fluttered around in full glory. They flocked around us, showing us their drawings, their badminton rackets, their tiny new dresses, as if I was an old acquaintance, their very own ‘Didi’! They staged Dance performances for us, posed for selfies and even discussed fashion with us (Little women, we might call them)! Eventually, it was time for their lunch and for us to return to the posh world of air-conditioned restaurants and malls. I had come to visit them empty handed, I returned with a handful of chocolates and candies.
What intrigued me was that these kids didn’t think twice before giving me their precious chocolates or before accepting me as one of their own. Their invitations to visit them again was filled with anticipation and hope. I was forced to question myself, what values are we imparting to kids from our so-called “class”? Clearly, these are values which cannot be imparted by elite schooling! But on second thoughts, children learn from elders! How many children grow up seeing their parents share their earnings and savings with those who lack the means for a healthy, stable life? God knows how many such angels are out there, who do not even have a shelter over their heads or two square meals a day. Atleast these kids have found a home; have found friends and teachers like my childhood friend! I know that my words will barely reach a few through common social networking sites. Neither do I want to be preachy. But can we not, each year, put aside a part of our savings for these little ones? Can we not skip that one lunch at a posh restaurant or that one unwanted dress we desire but do not need? Maybe next time we buy that costly gift for our kids and fill their already overstuffed rooms with fancy toys, which will remain untouched by the next year, can we not take a lesson from these kids and gift our children the undiluted joy that sharing brings, by doing so ourselves? Not out of pity, not for philanthropic fame, but simply for the bliss that this small little gesture brings!