I never knew a word prompt like old walls would take me to my second graders’ birthday party in a village in Uttarakhand.
Flashback: September 2019
As we waited for the warm chole bhature on the terrace, I looked above at the jet black night sky filled with galaxies and constellations. I was overcome with wonder and marvel.
As I looked to the side I noticed the kitchen window wall was filled with black greasy soot that usually came because of the burning of firewood. At that moment I knew I was going to write it someday.
The work that brought to Lamabagh
As part of the fellowship, each fellow was handed 5 schools to improve the student learning outcome. As part of the fellowship, I would usually visit the school twice a week and teach classes three and four. Attached to the curriculum there was a 21-day community immersion period, to really grind it out in the community and understand them. I choose Lamabadgh as my school to live in a community that had no network.
Why I choose Lamabagh
One of the reasons I choose lamabagh for my community immersion program was because of Mayank, my second class student. I was constantly greeted with heartwarming smiles. On each and every visit to his school despite not teaching his class, I was showered with such genuine happiness that it definitely won me over.
And I’m glad it did because I got an opportunity to really get to know him as well as his sister, Deeksha and their love for cars.
Back to the story
I was invited to Mayank’s birthday party in Lamabadagh. His house was a two-minute hike from the retired army halvadars’ house. (If you are still not familiar with him, go check out my previous stories with this interesting man.)
On the day of his birthday party, I was greeted and entered his room. I was in awe of the streamers and balloons hanging from every angle. It was a joyful occasion and the room definitely resonated with that. We played carrom and catch and catch with the balloons.
After cutting the cake, the elders of the village and parents, sat on chairs while their children and I sat on the chattai laid outside on the terrace.
And this is why I continue to travel
I still remember how I felt at that moment, I had goosebumps and I kept telling myself this is why I do what I do, to feel free, to live with strangers that eventually turn into family, to travel and sit in different houses, eat different food and experience a different way of life. Then come back home eat food and have flashbacks of all the chairs I have sat on to eat my dinners.
What are your experiences with old walls?