21-27 jun 2011, davanagere, Karnataka
in the early morning, it was the bees that welcomed us when we reached davanagere school. even though the school has 3 or 4 active honeycombs, its surprising none of the children have been hurt so far. nor the children have disturbed them either.
even though its a city, davanagere has preserved its culture. it was verily visible in the children too. many boys and girls come to the school with the 3 lines of ash on their forehead.
clad in colourful dance costumes the children welcomed us. they presented us a conch in a small banana leaf decorated with flowers with a beautiful line – this is the gift of nature, as ammas children its our duty to protect it. indeed it was a beautiful gift.
after a days session there was a demand from the students to have a residential camp. nearly 100 students convinced their parents and came the next day with spare garments. the rest of the students joined in the day time classes. but they missed the best fun part of the camp.
in some sessions children were laughing so much that they were rolling on the ground. i myself found it difficult to control my laughter and continue with the classes.
i was talking to them about happiness, tension and how not to imitate others. this is how children condensed my 6 hours class into 6 words – “be happy, no bp, dont copy”.
the children were so lovely, a class 5 girl brought a big jack fruit for us. we were living in the school itself. some children joined us for the breakfast; with some we played.
even though the lights were supposed to be off at 11 pm we heard the children singing and dancing. even at 1.30 night. so much was the energy and the enthusiasm. to our surprise we found that their teachers also were with them!
learning together, living together, playing together, eating together, no one noticed the clock.
the teachers wanted one more, once we finished childrens camp – just for them! so we had to extent our stay for another day. there were different sessions of talk, interaction, games. they even played cricket they didnt know. they were cheering when the ball reached the stumps after many bounces, or each time ball touched the bat! nice to see the teachers becoming children again.
they said: these two were the happiest days of their life; we became children again. and gave us a promise that they will ever smile in the class!
hearing that we are there, the previous years alumni batch came to meet us. it was very sweet and nice to recongnise them again. it was nine years before in 2002, that i had last visited school. and taken their photos, when they were in class2. and now they see me and those photos. they could not believe what they saw. they are all grownups now. had a little chat. all of them had only one thing to say – “we miss Amrita”
its now time for us to leave. we wave goodbye from the balcony. teachers were also waving. all the 3 verandas of the school building on all 3 floors were lined with children. it is love manifest – how amma’s love is being reflected there in every one. as we came down to the car, some students started running towards us. and lo!! students from all floors joined them! all were wishing us good-bye; happy journey; some were crying. many were demanding autograph – including the teachers.
“Amma ki jai, Mata Amritanandamayi ki jai” blurted the mike. and they started singing… “zindagi to ek hai, jeeyenge ham sath me” (we have only one life, let us live together). all 4 of us found it difficult to leave them and enter into the car. it is a great uproar – it was love finding its expression through innocent hearts. ocean of smiles, waving at us with tears. they formed two lines towards the gate and they kept running behind the car – it was difficult even for the teachers to control them.
our hearts were overflowing with all the love and affection the children and the teachers gave us. it was difficult to say good bye. they were like the bees buzzing around us, for the sweet nectar of amma.
an sms a student sent, after 2 days:
i have learned many things from my brothers, sisters and friends.
they gave me tips for stupid activities.
they gave me money when i was empty in the canteen
they raised hands to say good bye when they were leaving.
they love me, they care for me
and i love them too…
still i have a complaint.
and they didnt teach me one thing.
and you know what?
they didnt teach me to live without them!
dedicating this to my all loving brothers (swamis) like u
priya class 9, davanagere
watch the send off video