Your care starts with listening and not doing.

What fucking matters at the end of the day?

Today I realised (again) that no materialistic privilege will be enough if there is no one to listen to you UNCONDITIONALLY with love and kindness. You’ll be happier if there is someone there for you, in one of the worst conditions of life.

Why I felt that, read my experience below:

Kid3I went to see these little kids for the first time and initially I was just observing what was going on, it has been raining for few days so the playground was bit wet but that was not stopping them from having fun in the garden.

When I looked around the building was really in shocking condition, I started asking as a curious psycho therapist question to get understanding of the situation. As usual, like all of us I wanted to help and start giving suggestions to change the world.

I wanted to get funding for this kids, I wanted to give them food and clothes and pizzas and toys. I wanted to make their living better, give them a little bit of space to sleep and play.Kid2

I started hearing stories of horror, one after another. How the kids were left by their parents? Some of their parents even died or even not being known.

These stories made me more determined to help and get money for these little orphans/angles.

I started thinking about more solutions. As human beings we want to solve everything rather than just experiencing or asking what others want. We try to avoid other person’s needs and start coming up with our own ideas what he/she really needs.

Kid4I was thinking on the same line, without even talking to a single kid. I did smile too few kids but that was it, no interaction and I was going to change their world in my head.

This all in first 15 minutes, before we have even entered into one of the building where these kids get their meal and sleep.

Once we entered on the left side there was a room, pretty clean in comparison to the building. There were 3 beds in the room and few posters on the wall of alphabet and numbers, small bags were floating around but overall a very neat room.

I being a selfish human being had a hidden intention to visit this place with my two kids, to show them what real privileges they have in life. Make them thankful for all that they (& we) have in life.Kid1

My two little once were looking around with curiosity, the kids in not so great clothes and no shoes. Kids living in a place where fan might be working few times a day.

And then came a little guy running towards me, asking what I was holding in my bag. I showed him it was a key-chain with Ganesh (one of the Indian god) in it. He asked can I have it, I want it. While I was in the dilemma of how to answer this little fella, few others started running around came to me seeking the same key-chain.

To not break any rules and cause unnecessary chaos, I told him I’ve to ask my host (the in charge of the orphanage). I asked her and she said it’s OK to give it.Kid9

So instead of me giving the key-chains I gave it to my kids to distribute. I wanted them to learn what it really means to appreciate a small thing (which my kids didn’t even care). How much it means to someone else, who are not privileged. So my 6 & 3 year olds did well (with help of some staff) distributing the key-chains.

While all this was going on, I found a spider-man. I met this kid in a room. They had rooms name after some of the great leaders and influencers of India like Mahatma Gandhi, Sardar Patel, Swami Vivekanand etc.

Somehow we matched a chord and started having conversation on how spider-man throws his spider-web, the position of his hand. While we were mucking around, few other curious kids came and joined our conversation. Than almost all the super heroes came in our conversation.

I taught them hi-fi, low-fi, on the side and in-your-face. That brought more smiles and some more crowd.

As in any Indian conversation, Bollywood came into chat. We talked about the latest movies they’ve seen. I asked where you see your movies. One of the guy pointed to a wall. There was a small 32 inch TV hanging on the wall.

For a split second I thought, while we are not satisfied with having 100 inch TVs/ Projectors in our house this kid is showing it with proud. I could see in his eyes that he really appreciated that small TV and all the privileges he got of entertainment via it.

I asked him about their school and what they study. We started speaking in Hindi a little bit which was fun for my two kids as they’ve just been introduced to it.

Kid7

I even got suggestion on my looks, one of the guy told me I would look good without my beard.

In the Swami Vivekanand room at 12.30 PM some kids were still sleeping because they were not feeling well, due to their condition.

I asked my fans (yes I’m bragging) where do they sleep, and they showed this open hall. Where I would imagine many of them would sleep without having a room or proper bed. I shivered with pain for a bit, having a thought of sleeping in cold winter in this open room. Although I managed to manage my emotions and told the guy “Dude, you’ve a room even bigger than mine. You are really lucky.”

That made him the richest man on earth. The smile and self-esteem was clearly visible on his face.

While punching and sliding on the floor, I was always mindful of their condition. I didn’t want to hurt them at all as they are fragile like a glass of wine.

I was told there is lot of help they get from donors, even the food given is so much that they’ve to say NO to people. They have to be mindful of their condition as overdose of any food could create real havoc in their immune system.Kid5

While all these was going on, I realised – what they need more than any food or toys or pizza or a better bed?

Someone to talk to them, without judging their condition. Someone to sit with them and play hi-fi. Someone to not see them as orphans and show them pity for the health condition.

They wanted a friend, a relative, a carer, who genuinely cared about what they wanted rather than what the donor thought is needed.

Don’t we all just want this? Someone to appreciate who we are and listen to our stories non-judgementally? Listen to our story before giving suggestions or solutions.

I think that is what deep inside all of us want & need, rather than Mercedes Benz or Vacation to Europe (I’ve no biases for Merc or Europe).

You might be wandering the words I used before – “mindful of their condition”, “pity for the condition “, “not feeling well, due to their condition”, “fragile like a glass of wine”, “havoc in their immune system”.

Reason, all the ORPHANS are HIV positive.

Kid11

I felt – Your care starts with listening and not doing.
Mrugank Patel
mrugank.patel@gmail.com