Came from a place my childhood knew...
and from being young to growing old...
Today we went to give the money to Dr. Amod. Ironically to a place called Sunder Nagri... Beautiful City.
Community health is a complex and vast area of work. It goes way beyond treating diseases or providing medical care. It encompasses the economy, the psychology, the social fabric of the community that it works in. Child care, education, senior citizen care, vocational training, women empowerment, livelihood opportunities, health, hygiene, sanitation, even finances and fund management comes within its ambit.
After we handed over the balloon money, one of the volunteers at the centre took us around. Within that tiny two and a half floor narrow decrepit building we found dignity and hope, fun and childhood, confidence and self assurance.
From the masala factory on the terrace where women grind and sell pure, unadulterated low cost spices, to the senior citizen's resting centre outside the clinic, to the creche where children from ages two to five spend the day while their parents eke out a living, to a fund management division where the community is learning the art of saving lending and borrowing transparently, to - believe it or not - a multi media centre and a fashion designing centre - where kids and young adults are being equipped with the latest technological tools - the whole journey was not less amazing than Alice's through Wonderland.
This was a slum? I thought to myself. Dingy, cramped but spotless. I was amazed at the cleanliness, everywhere. Not just within the dispesary but outside as well. No garbage, no filth, no muck. Just smiling faces and confident open expressions.
The creche was the most overwhelming I think. Look at the kids swarming around Ranjit's knees, hugging him, touching him, holding him... this is the most unselfish spontaneous and generous show of love we'd ever experienced. We had not even carried any sweets or toys for these children so what you see in the images are not in response to any act of kindness.
We simply stepped into that courtyard. They simply came and hugged us. Just like that. On their own. Totally spontaneously. Totally joyously. It was completely incredible.
It was similar though obviously much more muted at the old age home. I particularly remember this frail old lady with a bright red wollen cap who literally leaned across and dragged herself over to us across the dari they were all squatting on. Just to stroke my face and Ranjit's hair. That's all.
Wizened hands, gnarled fingers, the gentlest touch.
There's a lot that is being done here, at Sunder Nagri, near Dilshad Gardens, close to Shahadra. There is a lot more that needs to be done, and a lot more that could be done.
Watch this space. And if you like, come join us at Wonderland.