March, 2024


This was my first me volunteering here, but even as I write this, I feel sure that I will be back. The campus is a lovely li le planet in itself, with its own magical sights and sounds, and several species inhabiting it – the school children being the most endearing among them. I am an Indian myself, but I have not experienced such bliss and serenity anywhere I have lived or visited before in India. Quite unlike the city kids who never get a chance to grow up in an atmosphere steeped with spirituality and surrounded by beautiful nature, the kids are brimming with such playful innocence and unconditional affection that every interaction with them feels like a blessing. And they are extremely well-behaved and respectful – I am overwhelmed with emotion thinking about all the times they offered their place to me in the dining hall queues, almost forced me to eat from their lunch boxes during recess time, and greeted me with a smile and an upbeat ‘Jai Swaminarayan ma’am!’ every time they saw me.
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My main role here was as a substitute teacher, and hence I had the chance to interact with kids from almost all grades. They are all as curious as they are naughty, and they surprised me many times with their smart and thoughtful answers to my questions. I also taught some Hindi to the Rushikumar boys, who display an exceptional depth of character and thirst for knowledge that every teacher wishes to see in their students.
Even though the children are the ones I will miss most dearly, this memoir will be incomplete without a mention of the school staff and management, who went to great lengths to ensure the volunteers were comfortable and happy. We were treated like guests of honor in every small and big ceremony, the grandeur and beauty of which always pleasantly surprised me. Be it the Swamis, the School Director or the kitchen staff, what stood out most for me was their genuine desire to serve others, and their humility regardless of designation.
I will always cherish every experience I had in these four weeks, and am very grateful to Urvashi Ma’am for giving me this wonderful learning opportunity. I am passionate about teaching and the one month I spent in this school taught me about my own strengths and weaknesses as a teacher, and helped me experiment with different teaching methods to suit different age groups.
I wish the campus and its inhabitants a bright and blissful future.
Thank you for everything, and Jai Swaminarayan