Volunteering with Udaan India Foundation

- Hi! My name is Priyanka. Whats your name?
-Arre, waah! Aapko apne naam ka matlab maalum hai?
-*nods a No!*
-Khoobsurat ya sundar. Jaaise aap ho.
- *blush*
- Haha, so.. what does it mean?
- Sundar.
-Very good! Hi5?
- *Hi5*
- Hahaha!

- *Hi5* *Hi5* *Hi5* *Hi5* *Hi5* *Hi5* *Hi5*…

Let’s reel back to when I walked into that room, not knowing what to expect or how to behave. What is supposed to be your opening statement when addressing a bunch of 10 year olds? With this thought racing through me I made my way to the teacher’s table. As soon as I reach the centre stage unanimously all the kids rise to greet me; *GOOD AFTERNOON DIDI*

I was at the Udaan Foundation pre-Holi to help out with their special festive drawing competition. We start off by decorating the black board. The teacher in-charge had creatively written “Happy Holi” and on the top left corner there’s was a cube with a count of present students, absent students and the total. Nostalgia hit as I remembered how I once had the responsibility to do the count, decorate the corners and write a quote on the black board. Reminiscing those days with a beam on my face we went on to draw colorful splashes around the wish.

Image for post
Image for post

Not knowing what to do next I stood there dazed, looking at the kids, who probably could sense my awkwardness and were looking right back at me. I slowly walk up to the first bench and say, “Hi! What’s your name?” I went from bench to bench conversing, and asking if they remembered my name. Somewhere along the process Hi5-ing the cuties became our thing. Well, that was easy. Did anyone say I was ever nervous? Psst.

Papers were distributed. Weapons of mass creation were removed. Some had wax crayons, some used sketch-pens and in a second everyone was in the zone trying to create their next master piece. Along with them I am given tool’s to create a piece myself. After having quickly sketched and shaded my work I decided to walked around. I end up helping the kids decipher the topic and offering words of encouragement.

What I witnessed being among these kids felt rare. Some were just excited that they had a blank canvas to pour their heart over. While some were more disciplined in their approach and knew exactly what their art work was going to be. But what was similar among them, was that all of them had an interpretation of what they best enjoyed.

-Wow! What have you drawn?
-That is me, playing holi with the clouds and the sun is taking a bath in the sea.
-That is beautiful! *Hi5*

Image for post
Image for post

When was the last time you spotted a smile which was oozing sincerity? When was the last time you held something in your hands and you knew you had the power to create something wonderful? And had loads of fun doing it! If you have, you know the satisfaction I am taking about. And if you haven’t, might I please suggest — take an hour out of your busy week and do something creative and have fun. Loads of it.

When most children were done with their drawing their mummer’s had begun to surface and I could hear a call for me from ever direction. They wanted to show me their drawing. I would ask them questions about their art, discuss what they had made, and why I thought it was awesome. But what I liked most about the conversation was when I would appreciate their efforts they would blush with their sparkling eyes as the curve on their face grew brighter. Often chiming in while admiring the other drawings too. Chaos has never been so beautiful to witness. Excited by a compliment. Happy with a smile. They shared. And they had insight. These kid’s were the epitome of lovely.

One girl even went so far as to tell me that, “No Didi! Your drawing is also very good.” This was in retaliation to my shared aprehension with regards to my quick and not very happening art piece. Proud of her sincerity to the compliment she added, “I never tell anyone if their drawing is not great. I only share nice views that I have.” These kids are 9 and 10. But they understand the power of positivity and encouragement. They know the importance of self belief. How? To an extent, that I felt the need to apologies for not having faith in my talent and undermining my ability so that my attitude would not catch on. Their compassion and manners surpass their age. For I would have never expected a beautiful ‘thank-you for coming’ pouring in from ever direction. Or for a 10 year old to say that she made a masterpiece today because I was around to help her. And with so much genuineness that for a second it left me stunned. It’s safe to assume that the teachers at Udaan Foundation are doing a job well worth awards.

Image for post
Image for post

With time to spare at our disposal we mutually decided that this was a great opportunity to sing and share stories. What started with ‘Lakdi Ki Kathi’ soon suggested, “I KNOW THE BREAK UP SONG!”. We didn’t sing the break up song disappointing a few but we did sway to other fun tunes, including a poem they had learnt in school.
The day concluded with prize distribution, and I cannot put more emphasis on how considerate, well behaved and polite these kids were. The entire audience in uproars following each announcement. No disappointment. Just gladness that one of them was out there getting an accolade.

I am sorry these pictures are a bit blurred but these beauties couldn’t be still for too long. And for the first time, I dint want to take my phone out. For the first time I was not recounting or writing in my head, or analyzing. I just was. In the moment. I have forgotten glimpses of my experience, a few only remind me of my pained jaw from all the smiling. But in that moment. For that moment. I was whole, and happy, in the purest way I could be.

“Find the truth in a child’s eyes, when the only limit is the sky.”

Happy Holi! :)

The children at Udaan India Foundation celebrated their most awaited and colourful festival, Holi with myriad of colours during their annual art event — Rang De! #CFVolunteer, Priyanka Kamdar joined in on their celebrations. She describes her lovely experience volunteering with the children there.

Explore opportunities you would be interested in volunteering here: goo.gl/SjFNoo

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store