A stepping stone in Virar, 20th April 2013

“Living in the future,” once sang Bruce Springsteen

"I see your little palm hovering on the glass,

A significant discomfort creeps within me.

I look at you and then look within,

Trying hard to break the glass,

Break the helplessness.

I stretch out my arm; I stretch out a smile,

Let’s sing a song together,

Let’s be merry together,

Let’s play together!”

Most of our weekdays and weekends are lost in doing the usual, mundane, necessary, and inevitable things. At other times we are either recovering from the regular tedious routines or pondering how to make life slightly more meaningful. Let me re-structure it- This time ‘We’ at ToyBank had a plan for our Saturday- April 20, 2013! As “Changing the world” needs some more planning, instead we thought of spending time with few children - the future of the world! A Toy-Library for the kids- was the plan!

The cheerful ‘ToyBank’ group reached Virar to spread smiles and joy amongst the kids at a government school in Bhoyapada, Virar. And boy, weren’t we received with smiles and ‘namasteys’ already at the door? The very instant the kids saw us, it seemed they decided to have all the fun in the world. We already knew, it would be a rejoicing experience, but let me tell you here- we had a marvelous time though we had responsibility of engaging kids from age ranging between 1 and 7. Whether the puppet-talking activity or under-the-tunnel activity, everybody was rolling in fun and laughter. Sticking to our belief of spreading joy with toys and giving children their right to play, we struck the chord with as many as 80 kids, instantly.

It was different for the kids there and it was pleasurably different for us too. All of a sudden the warm climate wasn’t a botheration, all of a sudden helping the 2 year olds paint patterns and helping them cut designs made absolute sense, all of a sudden- punching codes, sales plans, and filing stories with vengeance every day at work- didn’t even exist. All that mattered then was to ensure that when we leave the room, have the satisfaction somewhere that we made few little hearts smile today.

Surprises, surprises all the way

Whether an Aishwarya or an Amit, with open arms and broad smiles, they convinced us that together we will have a lot of fun. With our team members like Amruta and Durga having set the balls roll, the giggles, laughter, and anticipations saw no end. The catch-and-throw ball game and running under human tunnels gave the kids enough reasons to gush with excitement.

Great minds of the world have said that each one of us learn something or the other every day. We volunteers at Virar (as I take liberty to speak on behalf of all of them) had a humbling as well as an enriching experience. It was the first of its kind of experience for us but all of us unanimously thought that this bunch of kids taught us something as they left our heart warm and positive. Seeing them eat their mid-day meals and lunch in a disciplined fashion with equal concern for the neighbor and siblings was very overwhelming. In our daily fights for existence, we tend to ignore our basic and gentle emotions. This doesn’t mean am saying – we are all a bunch of insensitive humans living in the cities, but we indeed lose touch with ourselves, our emotions , our behavior, and our motivations. Blame it on time or work that we don’t re-discover ourselves and our emotions. There happens to be some chord fixings and fine tunings of our souls in such uplifting experiences.

You ask me if I want to go back to them- Hell yeah, I can’t wait to meet them again! It was a soulful experience. With Shweta ‘Didi’ handing over the toy box to the loving teacher, the afternoon came to a perfect ending with goodbyes from the windows and smiles to tell us we are welcome again.

As we said goodbye to them, we knew it- We are coming back soon!

Attended by: Shweta, Vikram, Niraj, Deepa, Ruta, Amruta, Durga and Shivangi

By Shivangi Bose
To view more pictures, click here.


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