Stringing along these eighteen years of life and looking back, I’ve been happy a lot of times. I won’t delve into the subjectivity of happiness or the degree of my joy, but yes, it should be noted that there have been many several occurrences in The Life of Saumya Kalia (up till 2016) where I thought I was familiar with the ideas of contentment and bliss. And two days back, I became aware of a whole new definition of being effortlessly happy.
As a part of Enactus, we visited a boarding school for underprivileged girls to celebrate the Joy of Giving Week with them. The planning and preparations had already enhanced my excitement levels, and I couldn’t wait to actually go there and be a part of the event. A broken road, houses under construction with bricks embellishing the sides of the road andÂ water dripping out on the street, I waited a minute to absorb everything in. Amidst the excitement of doing something good, the thought of their environment had been unconsciously neglected. Things like these, rather situations like these, I’m always conflicted about what to feel. There is the natural element of sadness which is followed by the guilt of feeling sad when the person who is harbouring these emotions is living a life far away from this dearth of resources. Suffice to say, I just hoped to do something which would have the tiniest of impact on these little girls.
So we went on inside and waited for the kids to come after their classes. The bell rang and they entered the area, saying Namaste as they passed us by. Some quickly ran up to us and asked us our names, and we returned the gesture. We asked things about them; I tried to do some of my silly humour because that’s what I do and there was a lot of laughing in the group we had formed. Their innocent smiles, dreams, and politeness warmed my heart in ways I wasn’t aware of myself. It felt so easy to be there, just striking a conversation, and to see them looking at us with a glimmer in their eyes. They sat in their designated places and we proceeded to serve them food. My friend and I were responsible for making sure the content distribution of Dal around the room, and with a steel bucket of Dal and a heavy spoon we trailed off. Moving from one seat to another, exchanging names and enquiring their desire for the delicious dish, I was moved by the sweetness and respect they looked up to us with. There was this spark of happiness I felt inside to keep on going asking them if they wanted more Dal and to keep serving them for eternity and make them fat. One of the kids told me she loved my smile, and I swear I would have hugged her had she not been eating then.
Once the eating culminated, we went to a different room, to begin with the dancing and singing activities. And for an hour, we were transported to a happy world of dance, games and unadulterated happiness. When we had to leave, they kept asking ‘Didi aap fir kab aaoge?’ and all I could say was soon. Goodbyes are the worst, Â but we still waved our hands in anticipation of seeing each other again.
Now, after two days sitting at home and remembering those 4 hours, I can’t forget the innocent smiles which dawned on their faces. They were just so pure, so hopeful and not tainted by the follies of the world. I carried their smiles in my heart that day, decorated with a million memories.
Here’s to smiles,
Ones which visualize no bounds.
Ones which are worn in seconds.
Ones which are symmetrical to the spark in the eyes.
Ones which are just plain, simple and beautiful.