Sunday, August 25, 2019

'Humari Anubhuti' in Bodhgaya, Bihar

As a part of my initiative 'Anubhuti' that I started a few years back with a view to build confidence and other life-skills among the girls of under-served communities, I fortunately got an opportunity to serve the girls of Maitreya School which is a part of Root Institute for Wisdom Culture, with that I reached to the auspicious land of Lord Buddha in Bodhgaya, Bihar.

It was a 3 week long workshop with 30 Girls (12 to 16 yrs of age) of Maitreya School who belonged to the most vulnerable backgrounds. The parents were mostly into farming, rag-picking and daily wage laborers. With much enthusiasm we started our workshop, and I could see every girl to be immersing in the dance form with much eagerness and determination to learn the nuances. In spite of having their school timing from morning 7am to 1pm, they were motivated and committed enough to stay back till 5pm in the evening and learn the dance form that I had to offer them.  

I remember when one day a girl, Neha, came to me and said, ' दीदी, हमको बहुत टेंशन है, अभी 6 बजे घर पहुंचेंगे, स्कूल से इतना सारा होमवर्क मिला है, खाना बनाना है, बर्तन करना है और डांस प्रैक्टिस भी करना है, कैसे होगा सब कुछ और फिर सुबह 7 बजे स्कूल भी आना है..' (Didi, I have a lot of tension, I will reach home 6pm and I got a lot of homework from school, I need to cook the food and wash the dishes afterwards, and then have to practice dance too. How would I do everything and then tomorrow I have to come back to school at 7am.)

In spite of having a lot of work related to their school and home, they were always present there in the workshop with same enthusiasm. No matter how sick they were or how badly they were having menstruation pain, they were always showing me up on time for the class.

But happy happy or goody goody things not always happen. When one day, I split them into two groups and said to practice in their respective teams. After 10-15 minutes, a girl came to me and said, "Didi, nobody is doing practice in our group. Everybody is fighting with each other." When I went to see the group I found that some of the girls were sitting in their classrooms, some of them were roaming around, some of them were just talking and some of them were practicing individually. I could see that they were not really interested in working as a team. Upon calling the whole group, they started blaming each other for not practicing in the group. I knew that it would always be difficult to work in a group because it requires a lot of patience, good listening skills, a respect for other's opinion and most importantly an intention to develop a good understanding with each other, so that you can come out with a good results as a team. After listening to them and sharing some of my personal stories from previous 'Anubhuti' workshops and showing some examples from another group about how they are supporting each other in a positive way.  I also shared about how important and significant it is to practice more in a group than on an individual basis, then I asked them to work in their group only.

When they came back after 30 minutes, I was surprised to see them become a team. They were quite serious about their dance practice and were supporting each other instead of blaming. Their dance as a group was much more synchronized than before. It was one of the quick change that I could notice in their behavior. From that day onwards, I did not see them fighting or ignoring the group activities. They were now happily ready to make efforts as a team which indicates the success of the workshop.

Time flew in the wink of an eye, and we reached to our final performance day. They performed so well as expected. Other than performing, they anchored few parts of the program, shared their experience of the workshop and inspired their peers in the school. And what was more fulfilling for me to experience, when one of the participant 'Nishi' (who spoke about her experience on stage) came to me after the program and said, "दीदी, thank you so much.. मुझे स्टेज पर बोलते हुए बहुत डर लग रहा था, heartbeat बढ़ी हुई थी, हाथ भी काँप रहा था.. पर आपकी वजह से आज मैं सबके सामने बोल पाई, thank you दीदी मेरे अंदर ये courage और confidence जगाने के लिए.." (Didi, thank you so much, I was so afraid while speaking on stage, my heartbeats were high and my hands were shivering but because of you I could gather the courage to speak in front of everybody. Thank you didi for bringing this courage and confidence within me.) and then she hugged me tightly.

And as every beginning has to come to an end, so our this 3 week long workshop concluded with a great success. I started the workshop with 30 girls and concluded the workshop with all 30 girls. There weren't even a single drop out this time. And then finally, with our teary eyes we hugged each other and said good bye, keeping this promise in our heart to meet again soon.

On a personal level, it was indeed a beautiful journey and one of my best experience of 'Anubhuti' Workshops with Maitreya girls and Root Institute. The vibrations and energies of this place is so pure and strong enough that really helped me to stay calm and reflect more upon the things I (my mind) was surrounded by. The kids and other people I met there were so kind that you can easily learn something from them. Beside this, I feel, these girls, unknowingly have nurtured the seed of commitment and dedication (towards the work that I do) in my heart. ❤