I was born almost two decades ago.
In the cradle of human race,
In the birthplace of human speech,
To the mother of history,
To the grandmother of legend,
And to the great grandmother of tradition,
I was born in INDIA.
And now my roots are calling me for it is time that I serve my true purpose to this country, a country which has given me so much, serve those in dire straits, down and out.
And to start moving towards this altruism, I found Smile Foundation as my benediction. I worked for 5 days with the Smile on Wheels programme in Ludhiana, Punjab and to begin with all I know now is that these particular 5 days of my life will be permanently etched in my memory.
Well, I went for the first day pretty casually, with an initial emotion as that of euphoria…… and then it was only a matter of an hour, seeing around me the downtrodden, that the realisation of the onus of responsibility struck me that the Ultimate Lord has bestowed me with.
Well, as I begin to pen down my memoir of experiences, I would first like to take out a moment to thank all the members of the Smile on Wheels Ludhiana programme team. Because for sure -my monumental journey shall have remained incomplete without them. Sitaram Sir (Project Coordinator), donning the mantle of a leader, manager and a facilitator, his working style gave a new dimension to my life. Meenu Didi, with her ever smiling face, and countless stories to tell, she knows exactly what to do and does her work with perfection, always very caring and supportive. Gagandeep Didi (pharmacist), serene, friendly and always beaming with joy she has been the cynosure of all eyes. She always makes sure the patients never get the prescription wrong. Devit Bhaiya (Driver), always on time and with an amazing sense of humour always drives with an awakened conscience. And then yes of course, everybody’s favourite doctor, Dr G.P. Singh, chiselled with perfection, working with unchallenged and unquestioned values, serving everybody without any bias. Collectively they are a team of committed soldiers who stand guard on the principles of Smile Foundation. Working with this basket of gems had to obviously teach me influential lessons of life.
Now my five day journey is replete with memorable experiences. All the while I was conscious of my demeanour and conduct. But no later, I realised that my task wasn’t daunting or an onerous one. But rather was formidable. I have always been a person grown up with all the luxuries of life but now having a one to one relationship with those on the skids, actually made me realise the importance of even a single penny in life. Every bit of advice, every tablet given is important to them, and we in our bed of roses, let go everything in fritter. I was shocked to meet with a girl, a year younger to me, and a mother of two already, taking up all the responsibilities of her household. And I on the other end, my parents and I myself still consider myself as a kid. And now every day I tell my mother, “Mummy, I have grown up now!” Also I see litres and litres of water being wasted in my home every day, but to them even a drop of water is a valuable pearl. I was sensitised towards so many heterogeneous issues of the ordinariness of life, different, yet all homogenous to destitute poverty, which until recently was only an abstract idea for me.
Another incident worth narrating is that of this little girl whom I asked to smile, for I was clicking her picture. She did not understand the meaning of “smile”. I tried using different synonyms of smile in her local language, but nothing worked. Her friends were like she never smiles. I tried a lot to teach her to smile but to no effect. It was then that I realised the importance of the name of “Smile” Foundation. SMILE something which comes naturally to us all, but to them it is a luxury….an exorbitance they cannot afford.
It is even difficult for me to express in words, all the sentiments that I went through within this short span of time. This odyssey of acquaintance with the needy has kindled an inextinguishable flame of mindfulness in me. A closer look at the actual realities of life, the sense of responsibility one must hold, self-dependency and most of all finding happiness in whatever difficult situation you are in. As I experience of the travails of life in future, these values shall be instrumental in dispelling the darkness. I tried working with receptivity, perspicacity, and perseverance and in the process of all this I realised that how we love playing mute spectators without any scruples of conscience. The feeling of incapacitation in our minds needs to be cleansed before the very essence of our nation recedes into oblivion. It is like taking the bull by its horns. This voluminous task of working for India and the alacrity with which it is to be accomplished needs a lot of creativity, innovation and out of the box thinking.
Well, I look at Smile Foundation in awe and thank for this wonderful opportunity to work with them. They have begun a renaissance. The die has been cast. This definitely augurs well for the country’s future. The journey from depravity to prosperity, bedlam to order, melancholy to melody and disgusting to sterling could be an arduous one, but well begun is half done and I already see glimmering rays of hope.
I wish Smile Foundation all the best so that their relentless efforts, commitment, and keenness help resuscitate India in a manner that we take pride in bequeathing a Bharat that is sans any clutter. Let’s all share this beautiful dream…
Smile,smile,smile! At the end of every quarter mile. Smirk,smirk,smirk! While you work. Laugh,laugh,laugh! Complete your part, don’t leave it half. Grin,grin,grin! Every struggle you will win. Be happy with us at every occasion, join us at Smile Foundation!
To know more about the program you can log in to https://www.smilefoundationindia.org/smile_on_wheels.html
Or if you want to volunteer you can write to firstname.lastname@example.org