Epitome of Innocence

Growing up, school time seemed like the most difficult part of life. However, now that we have seen even more difficult things,it makes us feel that those days were indeed very effortless. I’m pretty sure most of us would agree that school life has its own charm. Some of us have been naïve, some really outgoing but to top it all, we have been our own selves back in those days . For me, nostalgia is talking about school days and wishing if I could go back and relive those days as a kid. I would call myself lucky as I have been to a particular school for over ten years and it’s no less than a second home to me. It will forever remain a place that I will hold close to my heart and cherish. 

            Of all the days I have spent at my second home, there’s this one day which was very wholesome. It was like any other day, but, one incident made it very special. In the scorching heat, we had to put on our Thursday house uniforms for school which I still believe are relatively thicker and made us sweat like a pig in the summers. I reckon being part of a social club that would basically engage us in both indoor and outdoor activities. We were all to be taken on a surprise tour that very day. None of us knew about the place and the memories that would last us a lifetime. The fact that it was kept a secret from us made the day even more intriguing. The school bus, our commute for the day, came to a halt and we were really excited to get off the bus and actually get to where we were supposed to! Some of us were leaning on the open windows, just to take a glimpse of what was awaiting us. There I stood at the entrance of a huge gate opening up to about a couple of houses and a christened cross which my eyes would not dare miss! Having studied at a Jesuit school, the cross was something that we were all familiar with. In fact there was something so comforting about it that we instantly knew we were in a safe place and were there for an amazing experience. It was an orphanage with two other buildings that were houses for the old and aged. What I remember distinctly is that our teachers led us in and we also had sisters come up to us and explain about the place. Since we were all still very young, it was a little shocking  for us to see how the kids at the orphanage were left behind by people. My heart sinks a little every time the thought of newborn babies and the other kids being abandoned crosses my mind. The next thing I remember seeing was people almost the same age as my grandparents standing at the entrance of the other building to welcome us. It warmed my heart, and it still does, when I recall that beautiful day. 

                       Despite the sky getting dark and gloomy, we chose to keep our eyes on the brighter part of our day. There were packets of food, cloth and other essentials that we were carrying with ourselves and it was time to give everyone the best we could manage to get. For the next minute or so, the place had a different vibe all together. It was a happy mood and smiles spread like how slightly melted butter glides on a toast. As we were going around visiting all the kids and the grown-ups in their rooms, it was definitely getting heavier for us. It seemed like we knew our way with all of them, the only way was to give them all the love we could possibly carry within us. 

                         Few of the kids were insisting on making us stay with them for a longer time. I had kids cling and tug at me asking for getting them more chocolates the next time I came over. It is indeed a feeling that I cannot gauge, neither can I put it in words! It was the gleam in their eyes that reminds me of how hopeful they are towards life and that truly keeps me going even now. This is reason enough for the day being one of the unforgettable days I’ve had in my life. To add to that, as I was walking through the doors of the old age home I had an extremely adorable lady walk up to me with the widest smile on her face. She had already won me over but that wasn’t it. She walked towards me and took the hairband off her hair and put it on my hair. I felt a dozen of happy feelings rushing head to toe! I got teary eyed and she kept smiling at me. I went ahead and hugged her, told her I’d get her hairbands the next time I visit her.

                   Cut to one year later, I visited again. The big gate, those walls…seemed like all of them were calling out to me.  The feelings were still as fresh as they could get. I still would wrap my arms around the place if I could. To mention a few things in particular, I saw the adorable granny again and I got to speak to her and spend some time with other people and kids as well. This is an experience that I will never forget as it has some of my deepest feelings connected to it, both said and unsaid. If this day never took place, I’m afraid I would have never learnt of the touch of hope and the charm to it, and never get to experience the emotions I did on this unforgettable day.

                       By Richita Pradhan.

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