Monday, September 08, 2014

Swaraj's Got Many Friends Now!

Please note: The non-obvious reason for sharing this story is that someday you might also think about organizing this sort of thing at least once a year. More than that, we want you to experience the true meaning of the expression "filled with joy and happiness."  Let your heart/soul be stuffed with a sumptuous meal of satisfaction and contentment. Go with your family and friends. Return with a bag full of memories that live for ever. We don't know how much difference we made to these kids in a few hours, but they have made a huge dent in the way we perceive materials and life in general.

Amidst broken relations, we find reasons to fight, argue, avenge, lose hope/sanity, and flood ourselves with negativity. For a change, visit Jeevarathni (or a similar home) and hear out the stories of how each kid fought the odds from within and outside of his/her family. 
I mean, WTF are we cribbing about? Enough said, read on for our story.

It was a lazy Saturday morning like any other. The only thing to be done for Swaraj's 4th birthday the next day was to order a cake for a simple ceremony at home. His mother came up with an idea that we should celebrate it with special kids, just like my friend Deepak Artal had done a few years back. It was an impromptu decision. And it turned out to be a day like no other!

I realized Michelle is associated with Jeevarathni Foundation, off Nellur near Hosur, about 50 KMs from our place. A few calls, and it all fell in place. A few friends immediately agreed to join us. We wanted to carry lunch, but it wasn't allowed. They had an in-house kitchen and they tempted us with a special Onam lunch. For more than a reasonable amount, we could sponsor lunch for all the 33+ kids and us the visitors. The wonderful host Meena encouraged us to bring as many friends and family we wanted to, but we limited ourselves so as not to burden them.

It look us close to 1.5 hours to reach the destination. Swaraj was eager to cut the cake, he kept asking for it all along the way. We decided to take the Hosur Road next time and avoid the tiny packed roads of Sarjapur town.

First thing the kids did after we arrived was to wish Swaraj and present their hand-painted greeting cards. 

Handshakes between them and Swaraj were a delight to watch.

Kids circled eagerly around the cake. And just like that, I was going to be the guy lighting the candle. I'd thought I would stand out and shoot a video!

Happy birthday to you Swaraj! The kids sang thus, and the cake was cut. Right there. The magical moments.

Thanks folks for coming down and making this happen!
Left to right: Karthik, his wife Sowmya, their daughter Adya, my family, Swathi with her daughter Tanu, Mahesh with their son Jaikrith (Swaraj's classmate). Jai wondered that Swaraj now has such a lot of friends :-)

Swaraj and his school mates from JSPS

The special Onam lunch on banana leaves! The mats were spread out and we sat with each group of kids, chatting with them as we relished the Kerala specials.

There are mothers allocated to a group of kids - they share love with each other. Lunch was prepared and served out of in-house kitchen. At this point, we were feeling awkward to show affection to our son, while the kids watched. That one is heart wrenching.

Good and vast play area for the kids, our little ones had fun after lunch.

Group photo with the kids. Look at Karthik with the kids posing as Lord Krishna!

Kids with books, pens, pencils - sponsored by Karthik and family.

This bus drops and picks up the kids to a nearby school everyday. The white brown dog is called Lucy. She came along where ever we went, so sweet!

Swaraj liked the chicken/duck farm out in the backyard.

The host in-charge/caretaker Meena lives here. A gracious lady who is loved by the kids.

Karthik, the kid, and yours truly :)

Karthik with his daughter Adya and the kids

More Pictures

Jeevarathni Foundation


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