Arjun and I are back from India, and we just wanted to share a little bit about our Diwali in Lucknow.
We started the day at the girls’ hostel, where the girls put together a full talent show for us. We watched them sing, dance, practice yoga, and deliver speeches in both Hindi and English.
We learnt from Swaminiji the schedules that both the girls and the boys follow. Looking at their interest in dance and music, I had taught them a little Bharatanatyam, and sang a song on Ram, in light of Diwali. It was great to talk to the girls, learn about their aspirations, and hear their hope-filled voices. It made me especially happy, as a math major, that so many of them found math to be their favourite subject.
We then went to the boys’ hostel on our way to the airport, where we burst a few firecrackers, and my husband Arjun joined the boys in a candid dance party. Their energy and passion for life was infectious, and it was the perfect end to our day.
One thing I realized, is that it almost feels odd to call these centres `hostels’, as that word does not do it justice. The kids do not just live and study there, but they also learn how to be independent, they learn life skills like yoga and pranayam, and they learn discipline in the best way.
Thanks to the careful management by Swaminiji, their days are structured around healthy routines and healthy meals. In fact, her enterprising qualities and her knowledge of different topics and languages, make the two centres in Lucknow even more amazing. In just one short year, the girls have learnt so much English, and I love how Swaminiji is planning to funnel their passion for dance into structured classical dance lessons.
We are grateful that we found such a great organization to support, and we are grateful that we had the opportunity to experience it in person. Before we left the girls’ hostel, we lit diyas on the balcony, and watched their faces light up. I realized at that moment that this Diwali was truly spent in the presence of light. The light in the eyes of all of the children, and the light in their futures.
We are eternally grateful to Swaminiji for being such a gracious host, and we are also grateful to AIM for SEVA, for making all of this possible.