Heavenmade Ragdolls

I gazed out through the yellow , grilled window of my  bedroomcropped-paaaaaikcgchvd-8mfensxgfcp9f0zqbltbuzpf4jeade8o5mvtlsk7jzc3t5cl5fdpcd29fwhpkszw-df1ztcm0kfwam1t1uhvsce3fse_jfclrwtu1jsmdb4pa4.jpg watching the rays of the setting sun diffuse in the horizon. The golden orange afterglow bathed the buildings and I breathed the chilly winter air. December vacations give you the much needed respite from the chaos of mundane activities. I needed this time to introspect. I sipped the tea from the cup in my hand, the warmth mellowing me. The abrupt ringing of the phone startled me and I quickly reached out my hand to answer the impatient caller. It was Anandji, theatre director and co-founder of the NGO “Steps For Change”. I was surprised to hear from him. ” So are you keeping yourself busy during the vacations? “, he asked. ” Not really”, I answered vaguely. ” Do you have time to spare?”, he enquired. ” More than enough. Do you have a play in mind?”, I asked, the excitement palpable in my voice.
” We are actually initiatiating a project called KHOJ. We want college students like you to educate street children. If you can spend two hours during your vacations everyday, it would be great.”
“Where are we meeting?”, I asked
” Well, we have planned to arrange the classes at a park adjacent to Dili Haat. There are a lot of street children who linger around there polishing boots or begging for alms”
” When do you want me to come?”
” Tomorrow at 3 o’clock. Will that be convenient?”
” I’ll be there”, I concurred.
The next day I climbed into the bus and sat on the bonnet that covered the engine. Its the best place to sit during winters because the heat from the engine keeps you warm though the thick sweater and jeans did help keep the cold at bay.I got off at Dili Haat and looked around for the park that was contingent with it. I walked towards the fenced park that was visible right across me. As I reached the fence, I heard shouts. I looked over the fence with wide eyes as I saw 3 children, dressed in tatters, run towards me, their faces beaming with wide smiles. I looked behind my shoulder wondering who was provoking such a reaction from these ragdolls. There was no one. I turned back, perplexed. Were they really so happy to see me? Why? What did I do? The questions went unanswered as one of them hugged my legs while the other fell into my arms and the third climbed over my shoulder. I closed my eyes, savouring the unconditional love that they surrounded me with. What did I do to deserve such love, I would never find out.
But what I did discover was that there was so much I had. And I was so afraid to give. Or rather I just was always so convinced of my inadequacy that I never thought that there was anything in me that was of value. Bare footed and dressed in threadbare clothes that struggled in vain to keep their shrivelled, emaciated bodies warm , they had every reason to be bitter and cynical. But their ebullience put me to shame. It was the beginning of a stark realisation of the bare necessities of life.We were always told that in order to survive,we need a roof over our heads, food to eat, water to drink and clothes to cover our bodies. How narrow is our understanding of life. And we are supposedly the “educated lot”. We spend all our lives struggling to stock our lives with comfort believing that without them we are doomed, our lives are not worth living. We stop smiling, start frowning, ignore our friends and stay engrossed in running the wheel of life like experimental rats.
Where are we going?
I don’t know. I have to keep moving to make ends meet.
Which ends? To what end?
I don’t know. I have been told to keep working to make money. I am in the proffession that will enable me to make the most money.
All the money in the world cannot buy exuberance and enthusiasm for life. That comes only when you live life barefooted and naked. Trudging to offices in pinstripe suits and double breasted blazers cannot conjure up excitement. Sleeping under the stars with no roof over your head keeps the fervour alive.

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