One doesn’t particularly mind difficult tasks if they bring joy and lessons worth learning…
I suppose that is why I didn’t mind waking up to the harsh slap of the wind and the taste of a chilling winter morning for my very first event with ‘Bookaroo in the City’ and Pratham Books. As I walked out into the open, the biting wind seemed to shatter against my skin; I could feel my hands gradually becoming numb… And yet, I welcomed it all, for my skin tingled more with excitement and fervour than because of the morning air.
I was to accompany Anupa Lal, a well known writer and story-teller to Swami Sivanand Institute, a government school located in Punjabi Bagh, New Delhi.
The taxi wandered around for a bit, we kept looking for “Western Avenue” in “East Punjabi Bagh.” A comedy of errors, to put it shortly. I didn’t mind, for my conversation with Anupaji lengthened and spanned from children to nature to what constitutes the simple pleasures in life.
Its wonderful how children, just about anywhere, manage to light up their surroundings. And if you happen to be part of it, you cannot help but feel their enthusiasm and thrill. It is a feeling that bursts out of your skin and erupts in little spots of sunshine in the open. That is exactly what I thought of when I saw the children gathered and assembled in the hall at Swami Sivanand Institute. As Anupaji began telling her stories, I stood there and felt as if I was a part of the children. Like them, I was entranced by the changing frequency of her voice. When her voice hit a high pitch to convey surprise or outrage, I found that just like the children, my eyes widened in response. It was a delight to see their eyes sparkling, their heads raised, eager to devour the stories, their minds flying with dreams scattered on their little wings. When Anupaji asked them if they’d like her to go on, a state of frenzy overcame the children! Finally, she was able to leave, with promises of returning soon. I couldn’t help grinning when I saw the little ones wave at her and thank her for entertaining them.
She didn’t throw any morals at them and I think that is why they loved her. But there were hidden lessons for those who know how to look for them.
I’m still thinking about the magician and the Stupid King’s wise Minister and the ghost who lived in a tower…