Sunday, June 27, 2010

Drops of Ankur

Introduction : In Don Bosco School,New Delhi,there is an Ankur Don Bosco initiative, where children from poor backgrounds, who cannot afford the luxury of a public school, are given free education. While in class 12, our class 12-B 2009-2010, as a part of Work-Ex, was given the opportunity to interact with them,to teach them,to learn from them and to,particularly, entertain them on children's day.
The initiative, is lovingly called, Ankur Don Bosco or simply Ankur School. The word "ANKUR", a part of the beautiful hindi language, means "seed,sprout" and represents the growth and change that is life itself.

The Sun was about to set,and we were bidding the children goodbye. Our class, 12 B, had been given the responsibility of organizing children's day for
Don Bosco Ankur's children.
Over the past few months, i had come to know,see and admire these children for the wonderful gifts they had. They were always cheerful, ready as ever to recite
their beautiful poems with visual detail. The little ones were never apprehensive of asking questions, and many of them were very bright. They cherished all that they
possessed, be it a half-shaven pencil or a set of crayons. Their eyes shone with excitement - learning for them was a joy.
Our day began when school ended, and though all we had till then were ideas, everyone set to the task allotted to them. Some ran after the microphones, while others
guarded the "treasure". After the children arrived, we began with a quizzing session that turned out to be quite popular. The smaller children were led to a different
location, where some of the volunteers played games with them. The enthusiasm that poured out from these children was awe-inspiring. We found ourselves marvel at
the multitudes of talent that lay untapped within them.
Later on, two teams were invented, and they were given the task of finding a hidden treasure on the basis of clues and hints. One could witness them run excitedly, in
search of a treasure that became an instrument of expressing the joy that permeates their hearts.
In a moment of sudden strangeness, i found myself willing to talk to these children whom i barely reckoned, to share my joys with them,to express the feeling of closeness
that i felt with them. It struck me - humanity knows no boundaries of caste,gender,creed - it knows only the language of love. And it was this love, in varied forms
that i had been receiving, that bound me in an invisible relationship with them.
Soon, it was time for us to send them home. Every child was given a neatly wrapped set of two pencils and an eraser, and it was then that i saw the little girl,dressed in
her best attire,seated peacefully on the floor, her head moving about impatiently,as if searching for something she seemed to miss.
I had seen her before, when i had come to participate in the Ankur Outreach programme, where we would teach these children English, Hindi and Math.
She seemed to notice my presence,and as i handed her the prize, her face lit up with a smile that one rarely sees. She took the gift, and shyly said," Thank you Bhaiyya,".
My heart poured with joy, not of having been able to give something, but of having received so much - the strange feeling of closeness that i felt, the wondrous moments
that i spent with these drops of Ankur that seemed as if to have fallen from the kingdom of God, like rain to nourish the Earth. The thirst for a higher meaning to life,
and the divine grace that manifests itself in our shallow lives - in the eyes of a mother, in the blessings of a teacher.

Friday, June 25, 2010

How Do I Give It Back To You

Received 1st Prize in Kaavyalaya, an inter-college Poetry Contest at Literati 2010, literary fest of IIT Delhi.

What can a son give the mother,
What can a seed give to the earth,
Be a part of Me,the Ocean says,
And the teardrop becomes a pearl.
Closer than the sunlight, farther than the Sun,
Beyond light and darkness, may the Two become One.
Like a child i chase the butterfly, fearing it may escape,
With love, You hold my hand, piercing the illusory veil.
Like an Artist, You create on the canvas of the world,
The humble grass green, the sky blue.
You colour, fill the Rose with fragrance,
How can i give it back to You?
Mad heart, be still, i cannot hear Him call out my name,
The nightingale she sings the melody,not caring that listens.
Like a kite i fly in the open skies, the string is in Your hands,
A water crystal in the Sea am i, a tiny grain of sand.
You lit the lamp and hid behind, 'Tis You, 'Tis You, i seek,
Like the flame that burns the candle itself,
Consume me, O' Divinity.
The wind, she hums silently, in the dark of the moonlit night,
As i walk by the ocean shore, with love, i set love alight.

A Story

Each day, as the first ray of sunlight, piercing the transient clouds of darkness, embraces the earth with a father-like warmth, and the mother sparrow,
puffing, fluttering her wings, leaps out into the world to return to the call of her young ones, there comes but a magical moment. As the morning breeze makes her
way through the joyous gardens that brim with life, she drops in the hands of each one, a glittering pearl.
It is the gift of life - a new dawn, a new breathe, the power to wield one's destiny oneself.
But as the day moves on mechanically, dusk approaches, and as the sun fades away into a speck of stardust, it takes with it all the pearls that lay
unnoticed in our tiny hands.
It is said, life is worthless without a purpose,a vision,or as many self-help authors would suggest, the end in mind.
Just like a footballer(soccer player for some!) who with an undeterred vision - to see that ball soar,leap and enter that goalpost! - carries the ball along, dribbling past opponents, cutting and kicking the ball just when the hot rush of foreign air(and shouts of fellow kinmen!) intuitively tells him that the Other Side approaches! And thud! The crowd jumps as the ball swishes past the hands of the keeper to enter the goalpost. Just like him, we too, as beings of life, envision our aim and end, to dribble past that neckbreaker, to cut across that cloud of depression, to trick the mist of fate that follows us, and finally land the ball in the hole, and reach there,where we belong.
In that pursuit, i walk, and don't we all? Towards true happiness and fulfillment,i move, as don't we all? Forward,forward, i stread. Don't we all?
It's strange how success rewards you in such a simple manner.
For the past one year, i had been preparing for the much-hyped IIT-JEE 2010. For those who know little, it's a 6-hour gruesome exam session meant to test the aptitude and skill of high school graduates, to allow them to enter the prestigious Indian Institutes of Technology(IITs). I had never really seen myself as much of an engineer, however, having chosen science, i discovered,in this last year, an attachment to physics. But that is besides the point.
On 26th may, i learnt, rather witnessed, myself as being one of the lucky 10,000 or so people who managed to crack the exam. My rank was an all-india 1420, pretty good,it seems. Since then, rather, since the day i gave IIT-JEE, a void filled my life, an empty space, which in retrospect, seems to be the lack of a purpose. My life needs a direction, as does yours, or anyone else's. I cannot live alone, and lead a life of misery,without meaning, which seems, is not how nature meant us to be.
I have since come to try this new experiment - to slowly recede,mentally, from all state of affairs, and second by second, move out, to be a witness to everything around me. Slowly, you move out of your little world,to see how the world really is.The room vanishes and empty space emerges, and earth seems to look like a dot on an endless canvas.The universe is so big, one feels so little,yet so much.