I want to tell you a story today, one which I have been wanting to tell you for a long long time, since when we visited remote villages around Srinagar during out Kargil trip 2 years ago, something real, something touching, heart-warming and eye-opening, something which makes you feel proud to be an Indian, yet again! A story very close to my heart 🙂
….. a story about people of one religion running one-teacher informal schools known as Ekal Vidyalayas (one of our partner NGOs) for kids of another, in the remotest villages of J&K.
….. where the kids come down after their day school to get help with their homework and learn many many things.
….. where they are taught to be proud of their own religion, while being proud of their Motherland too.
….. where they are taught from their holy book while they also sing innumerable songs signifying their love for India.
….. where the new generation is kept connected to their Kashmiri cultures and traditions.
….. where girls who are in college double up as the teachers of the informal schools and look after the little kids like their own children.
….. where the children without any stage fear or without being asked to, sang songs for us, showed us their drawings and even told us ‘Aaj bahut mazaa aaya aapse milke. Aur thodi der rukte to aur mazaa aata.’ (We had so much fun with you, wish you could have stayed longer)
….. where the entire village got together to greet us and we danced away to glory without any hindrances to Kashmiri folk songs.
….. where every other villager wanted to take us home and told us ‘Mehmaan ko to Khuda bhejta hai’ (Guests are sent over by the Lord himself)
….. where we visited as many houses as we could and they gave us packets and packets of almonds and other dry-fruits to carry back.
….. where one of the elders of the village told us that there was no fear at all Kashmir and had a smile on his face while giving us proof in the fact that every single villager had been so happy and welcoming when we visited the.
An experience I will never forget and a place where I would so love to go back to again, not only for being the paradise on earth, but for being so full of love. And for that connection that any Indian in any corner feels for the other.
And it is here that one of the kiddos showed us this lovely drawing 🙂 Don’t miss the ‘SEDY‘ 😉 (Sedy in Hindi = Steps in English)