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Creating Experiences – In a Place Unknown

As a 2016 Fellow and coming from a corporate background I was having one of those struggle days and I just couldn’t wait for the day to get over. However Mukta one of my 4th graders with her sister came and handed over this card which had a beautiful picture of me and her family cutting the cake with her. Bhagyashree Mukta’s sister who is in 6th grade but has become so attached to me that she attends all my extra classes called me specially and said “didi please come we will be waiting for you“. I nodded and smiled unsure of what I was going to do.
I ended my long tiring day and went back home. In the middle of planning, data analysis and paper checking I suddenly got up and decided at 7pm that I want to go to Mukta’s birthday. There were lots of double thoughts like “Is it okay to visit this late?”, “Is it safe?” , and “Are they okay of me coming to their party? or did they just invited?”. I picked up the phone and called Mukta’s house to see if the party is over or still going on?” . His father without thinking said “Didi, aap ka hi wait Kar rahe hai bacche”. Wore my hoody and picked up my bag and left for the Shantinagar community in Pune at 8pm. Probably one of the biggest move after joining the fellowship.
 From one to many
As soon as I entered the house Mukta ran and hugged me. Not that she doesn’t do that in school. But that hug was more like “Thank you for coming” hug. The small 1 room area had just Mukta ,her parents and her sister. In a span of 20 minutes the small room was filled with 28 people to celebrate her birthday. The picture attached just has two kids from my class rest are all the people living near by. As I always carry a small bluetooth speaker this time I actually made a use of it. The family and the kids soon started dancing to ‘zingat’ being played on my speaker.
I didn’t know anyone apart from Mukta and her family but yet I felt as if I was a part of them. Best part was when Mukta gave the first cut of her cake to me. That time I knew it was worth it. When I was able to know the names and connect with 18 more kids without even speaking I knew it was worth it. When other kids would just come and sit beside me because they felt so happy I knew it was worth it. And when all the kids asked me when will I come back again. I knew everything was worth it.
In my second month of my fellowship I had covered all my kids houses and communities from where they came from but the connect which you make is through such small things and actions. Due to this connect I am now fully aware of all the hardships and struggles in her house. Her parents can come up to me and discuss anything they want. But for me the best part was the simply human connection which I made with beautiful 28 souls in the apartment which was filled with unconditional love. It made me realize that happiness can be found from the most unexpected places. The place which I was skeptical to go to has given me one of the most memorable memories and the best part is, I have created this one :)

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