“The child is the father of man” said William Wordsworth, for it is the experience of the childhood that castes shadow on our future. Our parents know this very well and that’s why we are all getting such a friendly, protective and caring atmosphere around us. In fact they had been planning our future even before we were born! I know this is funny but it’s a fact. They are always there to help us at every step we take. We are VERY fortunate to have them.
Every time I stepped out of my small, protective and caring world, I was shocked to see the raw side of the true world. There were numerous orphan children walking the busy streets aimlessly. When I dared to look into their eyes, they asked me many questions. Questions like "what is our fault?", "why me?" and many more to which I had no answer. These questions raised a storm into my tiny head. I spent hours trying to find the answer without any success. When I was lost I tried to seek help from my Mom, Dad and all the experienced heads around me. All of them gave the same answer, “Ashish, this is the way life is and we can do nothing about it”.
Until few weeks back when our college visited SOS Children's villages (I will refrain from calling it an orphanage). We entered the SOS through a rusty gate. It was spacious inside with enormous columns rising a hundred feet or more without a branch, then spreading to form an umbrella, through which spots of sunlight shone like stars. There was no sound except the occasional crackle of a twig underfoot. Strong beautiful bungalows spread over the area surrounded by small farms of coriander, tomato, flowers etc.
Such a sight confused every one of us. It was very contrast to what we had thought.
We were guided to a well furnished and equipped auditorium. There the coordinator of the orphanage told us how the SOS is working hard to build families for the unfortunate children. She was explaining every small things in detail, before one of my friend said “All this is fine but where are the kids?” . Looking at our excitement to meet the kids she cut short her explanation. The coordinator told us that the kids are in the houses, we can go and meet them. We were shocked to know that the houses were the bungalows itself!!!! With my friends, I entered a bungalow. The noon sun beat upon the roof, yet inside was as cool as crypt. The walls were decorated with doodles made by the kids. The mother of the kids welcomed us (She is also orphan who is in charge of kids. She plays the role of their mother.) With time we became friendly and opened to each other.
The kids enjoyed their life just like any other kid. They went to school and also bunked it when they were tired of it, Studied when they felt like, ordered their favourite dish for dinner, hugged their mother when felt lonely, laughed and quarreled with their siblings (The other orphan kids). It was euphonious to hear them call each other Dada, Tai and Aai.
This was made possible by Dr Herman Gmeiner born on 23rd June 23, 1919 in Vorarlberg, a small village in Austria. As a youngster and a young man, Gmeiner philosophised about “being good” and spoke on the fact that a man must “use his intellectual powers for the sake of ennoblement” and when he did so he was regarded as idealistic and utopian by his environment. In the village, his ideas could be seen as out of touch with life. Against all the odds he gave families to the orphan kids. He gave the orphans love, respect, sense of belonging and security.
The difference between him and us(me actually :p) is that he never gave up.
He believed in himself and kept working towards it. We waste time in thinking how difficult it would be.
Put on the running shoes and close the door behind. After that, it all flows naturally.