Rathipriya Bhaskar
- Volunteer at Golden School

There have been several heart touching moments through these years with the Sai Aashraya team. A particular one I would like to elaborate in this experience is serving the special needs children (who couldn’t hear or talk) at the Golden School after our Son’s upanayanam ceremony in 2018.  We had planned to serve the children lunch that day. As planned, we set out to serve as soon as the function was over. As soon I entered the school, I could feel how unique and special the school and teachers were. It was indeed one of the highest forms of service in providing education,  guidance and love to these young and special children.

 

I hadn’t even seen the children yet, but I was already feeling joyful in looking forward to meeting them. As we entered the lunch hall, we saw the beautiful children all seated in the order of their age. The girls sat in separate rows from the boys.  Their shining clean plates lay in front of them as we waited for the food to be brought out from the kitchen. Looking at their bright, young faces with smiles and giggles , I could sense the promises they held in their heart for themselves in their life ahead. It wasn’t too late before the hot freshly cooked food arrived from the kitchen and volunteers lined up to serve the children. They too lined up in the most disciplined manner and came forward one by one to get their lunch. As every child took a little bit of everything we served,  a piece of my heart was stolen too. Each of them was consciously keeping track of how much was already on their plate and how much they could eat. I could see a great deal of responsibility in them at such a young age for wanting NOT to waste food.

Once all the children took their food, I decided to walk to the girls’ row and check if they needed anything. I didn’t know any formal sign language but managed to ask them how the food was and if they wanted anything. They all seemed so happy! Couple of them started to chat with me. They asked me in their sign language if I had eaten and I responded saying I was going to in a bit. Then one of the little girls introduced me to her friend and signaled that she was in the 3rd standard and her friend was in the first. She noticed the mole on my face and drew similarities to the mole on hers and smiled. One of them even noticed a cut on my toes and asked what happened. Honestly, I hadn’t myself noticed up until then that I had a paper cut. “Does it hurt?”, she asked in sign language. My heart was filled with so much joy and gratitude conversing with them. It was opening up new doors to understanding of love and compassion for others. We chatted for a bit more and then I told the girls to continue their lunch and moved on.

 

We finished serving, the children thanked us and some of them asked if I would come back. To me, this was again a sign of their love and thankfulness. I left the premises of the school feeling a bit sad that the experience was over but mostly grateful for what I had gained out of it. The love and the lessons for self transformation were just the beginning!

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"Love Must Express Itself As Service"

- Sathya Sai Baba