Isolation Versus Community
In the third week of the internship we met for reflections. Spontaneously some of the interns suggested it would be great for all of us to travel together out of Vadodara and get engaged with some local community. It was amazing to see the interns were not passive recipients but active designers of the internship programme. After some research and phone calls it was decided that we could go to Kedi which is a residential school for girls of remote tribal villages in and around Dharampur.
We spent two and a half days in the school/hostel with the girls and the next day Aparna-ben, arranged for us to visit the homes of few of these girls, meet their families, spend some time with them and learning about their ways of life. It was an incredible experience to visit Amisha, Priyanka, and Neeta's village and family we visited.
Aparna-ben also suggested we make food in the hostel and carry it as we were a big group of people and it might be a little cumbersome for the homes to host us at the last moment. It was a surprise for the family :). As we were going to spend an entire day with them we decided to carry our lunch along with us. We decided to make some theplas (Indian bread) the previous night.
So after finishing the day at around 8:30 pm Swara, Komal and I stood in front of a large pan full of flour for 20 people that we had to make theplas for. There was a parallel session of games taken by interns so one of us asked the girls to go and enjoy that while we would finish the cooking. After having done that, an inner dialogue I had was "Oh My God!" We're exhausted after this long day, how on earth are we going to make so many theplas?! We start kneading the dough. We had to split the dough into three parts to make it easy for us. We'd take turns kneading - 5 times each! We were about to start rolling them and I thought to myself "This is going to take ages!"
That's when Anjudidi, the director came and asked why we were doing it all by ourselves and started helping. Within minutes a bunch of girls came, 6 of us started rolling the theplas, 4 of them lit a large stove and started roasting 6 theplas at a time on a large pan. Within half an hour we were done! I couldn't believe it. I looked at Swara and said "Isolation Vs Community" and we exchanged a smile.
I could see the power of Sangha (community) here in this school, among these incredibly beautiful girls. I fell in love with the effortlessness with which they live their life. Every minute spent here is a learning experience.
What cannot be achieved in one lifetime will happen when one lifetime is joined to another. ~ Harold Kushner