“Hey, what’s your name?” I asked the little boy dressed in half torn night pants.
“Rajini Kanth”, was his answer with a cute smile on his face.
“Oh, you are a super star then”, I smiled.
He just gave a tiny smile in reply.
After a few seconds, “Anna, are you a computer engineer?”, Rajini Kanth asked me curiously.
“Yes”, I said.
“Is becoming a doctor easier than becoming a computer engineer?
“You cannot compare like that, both are different”, was my quick retort.
“Why didn’t you become doctor then?”, he was unstoppable!!
“Do you want to become a doctor?”, I questioned him this time, without answering his question.
“Yes, if my father were alive. He used to tell me that he’d work so hard to help me become a doctor but he’s no more now. I am not thinking about it now”, Rajini turned little sad.
I was speechless for a while because I didn’t know what to say. At that moment, this quote flashed in my mind. “When you want something, the entire world conspires in helping you to achieve it” - quoted by Paulo Coelho in the book “The Alchemist”.
“Do you want to become a doctor” — this time I was looking closely into his eyes — “if someone helps you for that?”.
“Yes, anna. For sure”, was his reply with a little hope in his face.
“Then the whole world should help you, if the world is really kind enough” — I thought to myself but didn’t speak out.
This was my conversation with a little boy in “Nagarjuna Avasam” at Marriguda (5 KM away from my home place, 70KM from Hyderabad) last Sunday. “Nagarjuna Avasam” is a non-profit organization that helps 42 boys (as of today) who are either orphans or have lost one of their parents or really poor and can’t even afford to study. The boys study from third standard to tenth.
I was there this Sunday, accompanied by one of my favorite school teachers (in fact, he’s favorite for hundreds of students) and a couple of my close friends. We were all there to visit the Avasam and offer some material help to the students.
From the moment we entered into the compound, we were all in a different world. Every student welcomed us with a special “namaskaram” (with two hands put together) and looked at us with a smile on his face (at once, I felt like meeting some old friend after long time). Sometimes, they were discussing something among them but it was not audible. My friends and I were really lost there. We were very eager to know the students, their names, life style, background, what do they study now, so on and so forth.
For a moment, it seemed like we entered into a strange world where we don’t blabber continuously, where we don’t fight among ourselves for some petty issues, where we don’t work selfishly for our goals, where we don’t try to pull each other’s leg on some nonsensical matters (you can guess what it can be ), where we don’t fight among ourselves for/against some celebrity with no benefits for us unlike we our daily life. We were talking to those kids for most of the time, though we were also looking at each other every now and then wishing to do something more.
Just before their master was about to address the gathering there, all the kids chanted some “shanthi mantras” and sung a nice inspirational song. I was not really sure how many of them really understood the meaning of the song but every one of them sung every line. I was inspired and completely motivated.
After we distributed the books that we had bought, they dispersed and quickly formed small groups. Each of my friends was engaged with a group, and the master was discussing about the daily routine of students (you know, they wake up at 4.45 AM daily and sleep at 9.45 PM). I just couldn’t believe it. What further surprised me was that the students work in their free time to ripen all the vegetables, prepare the “gobar gas” (see http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/gobar) enough for their cooking. They indeed cook the food themselves and reduce the efforts required by their master.
I was keenly observing my friend who was completely absorbed in the discussion with the students. Some kids didn’t dare to talk in front of others due to fear and were standing in the back lines, while some were asking some interesting questions like these.
“Anna, did you study in Telugu medium till your engineering?”
“Anna, what if I am unable to speak in English even after my 12th?”
My friend was completely involved in the discussion, and patiently answered their questions. Trust me, I had never seen my friend so calm and composed, so patient, not even during his exams.
Though we knew that the donation we had given wasn’t really high, it felt really great when the kids were thanking for the help they received. We felt ecstatic at that moment.
While we were about to leave, I got a call from another friend.
“Where are you?”, was the question from other side.
“I’m at the Avasam in Marriguda”.
“Achha, I heard you were planning to donate something to the kids there. What did you donate?”
“Dude, it’s not us. They were really gracious enough to donate lot of happiness to us in exchange of some *not so costly* books”, should have been the best reply but I didn’t tell it to my friend (he might not get the right context).
“Books…”, I said and moved on happily.
P.S: If you happen to read this post and are interested to either help those kids or want to visit the Avasam once, please let me know (buchi dot 22 dot aug at gmail dot com). The help need not be monetary but it can be anything which will be useful for them. If one wishes to do some monetary help, it’s a registered organization so the donors will also get tax benefit.