Ever since Diwali (India’s “Festival of Lights”), the kids at Handmaids of Blessed Trinity were kept busy with various extra curricular activities and the holiday season festivities. As a result, our visits the last few months were less frequent.
I was so excited to see them after what seemed like a long time. I stepped into the library, selected the book “Mr. Cheerful” from the little Miss & Mr. series, and was about to select another one when the girls from HBT barged into their little library. The next ten minutes seemed like a typhoon just hit the bookshelves! The kids were frantically jumping over each other, trying to get to the books they wanted to read (or be read to). Pulling and pushing and a fair amount of acrobatics kept me rooted to my spot! I cautioned, warned, and scolded them lest they hurt themselves. The girls calmed down after each one of them had at least three books in their hands. They finally settled down to turn the pages and imagine the storyline.
I just sat and watched their expressions. While some pictures made them smile, others made them laugh, and still others left them confused and bewildered. I was happy they missed the books and our sessions.
Gradually, they looked up and acknowledged my presence. It was then I began to read. They managed to sit through the story, but as soon as I finished, the floodgates opened! Each one wanted to talk about something that had happened at home or in the various competitions at school while Little Ujjaini just sidled up close to me.
The girls had choreographed a dance and were super excited to perform it for me. Chairs were put away in a jiffy and the space was cleared for the dancers to make their entry! They chose a very popular song from a recent Hindi film called “Chikni Chameli” (or “item number” as we refer to it in Bollywood). Their little bodies began dancing while their lips moved in sync with the music and lyrics. I was astounded. Little Kajal danced in such earnestness that it was difficult to believe she was only five years old!
While all the girls huddled close together to watch them dance, Little Ujjaini quietly reached out and clasped my hand. She obviously had missed the human touch.