My Return to Lucknow

by Jayani on Jun 17, 2012

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It was just over a month since I last saw the Lucknow children and, as I walked down the stony path there were cries of “Jayani Aunty, Jayani Aunty” and several children ran out to greet me.  Suddenly the children disappeared.  It turned out that they all wanted to have showers and put on clean clothes because “Jayani Aunty” was visiting.  It was 7am.  I was tired from not sleeping on a very bumpy overnight train from Delhi, I was still in my crumpled clothes that I had slept / travelled in and I probably smelt not too good as well!  The children didn’t care.

The days flew by. It was school holidays but some in-house classes were continuing – especially for the older children.  I helped with homework, sang along to ABBA and some Indian mantras, played “Seven Stones”, watched a classical Indian singing class and a classical Indian dance practice and gave lots and lots of hugs – all in 45 to 48 degree heat with no airconditioning.

Seven Stones involves bowling over a pile of stones and if you miss the stones, the catcher who sits behind the stones can then throw the ball to hit any of your team members.  It is like a cross between baseball, cricket and brandy ball.  The plastic ball really hurts when it hits you!!  I still can’t figure out the rules – except that it involves a lot of running around so you don’t get hit.  The team captain (me) did lots of silly warm up exercises before she went in to bowl.  Merv Hughes would have been very proud of me!  I retired early because of the heat – the rest of my team valiantly played on and I think we won.

I also had the wonderful experience of teaching hand massage to the children.  The purpose of teaching hand massage was not so much about technique, it was more to help the children connect and bond with each other, to reduce stress and to give them the experience of touch in a positive way.  Some of these children had terrible stories of suffering in their past and many of them had very little experience of being touched in a loving and caring manner.  The group that wanted to learn ranged in ages between approximately 3years to 14years old.  I wasn’t sure how the little ones would go and they really surprised me with their enthusiasm and their own adaptations.

That afternoon I was talking with one of Ravi’s sisters (Jyanti) who runs this home.  While we were talking, two of the little boys were fighting and refused to hug or say sorry and then they went off very angry.  I started to show Jyanti the hand massage technique and suddenly the room was full of children all massaging away.  And the two boys who had been fighting?  Well they were happily massaging each other!  The energy in the room had completely calmed down.

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