Thursday, January 8, 2009

Dinner Party with Saroja's family

Hi friends,

Let me first begin with some good news…

LEAD has now established its web-identity. In addition to our photo-uploads on

We have created our free website on However, you just need to directly enter the following URL to get into our homepage.

This e-presence will prove to be a faster, convenient & an effective tool to support LEAD's goal to stimulate & sensitize the privileged section to act for safeguarding the interests of the underprivileged children. It will also enable our volunteers to have an idea of the 'complete' picture thus fostering their leadership trait. And finally it will serve as a short & sweet introduction of LEAD to our potential volunteers. (Thank god! I will no longer confuse (or bore?) our new joiners with my longggggggggggg speech ;) ;)

Dinner party with Saroja's family

For those of you clueless about this, the below paragraph (in blue font) emailed only to our Airoli volunteers will depict you the situation that prodded us.

On 6th of January, morning, as I was on my way to work via Airoli-gaav , Laxman caught my attention.....& then ..words of Saroja's mother started resonating in my mind... "please look after the children in our absence".....she & her husband have left for their native for about 10 days this saturday...
& then..some anxiety as to whats happening with them? how saroja is managing the daily chores? whether ram/lakhan are going to school daily? .... all these pulled me to them.
saroja was washing the clothes, as i was approaching them thru the corridor....
she jumped up immidiately on seeing me & started compalining 'lakhan is not having his bath..'... "ram is not studying.."
This girl now gets up at 4 am daily as she has to pack the tiffin for her elder brother Som (15-16) yrs, who goes to some construction sites for work.. prepares all the food items.. Rice/Dal/chapatis..... cleaning the utensils.. washing the clothes....
And u know what? I saw a huge bunch of fuel-wood piled up in a corner of the room.. when asked curiosly."who brought this?"
immidiate came a pat reply ,"I... on my head.. from sec-20!"
I dont think I need to say more about the plight of this poor girl.....
but...LEAD is proud of Saroja & such other girls & will surely do all it can to reward their Fortitude!
As a small step towards this, I have decided to take these 4 kids Ram, lakhan, Laxman & saroja for a dinner treat..
let these kids too grace the inside of a restaurant ....
lets releive saroja from her daily chores at least for their one-time meal...
lets see if we can rope in Som too for this... we can encourage him for the vocational training course....
This event may even further strengthen our realtions with Saroja's parents... (Laxman's admission is still long way ;-)
We will meet at airoli bus depot (the restaurant opposite to it) at sharp 7.30 pm on Thursday 8th Jan ...

Thursday-7.30pm! But Saroja & her three brothers Ram, Lakhan & Laxman were anxiously waiting for us all alone at one of the bus-stops of Airoli bus-depot since 7pm. Their get-up especially Saroja's necklace & Lakhan's sports shoes clearly reflected their exuberance levels. Meanwhile, Kailash too arrived with his cute daughter Manisha. We had planned for a simple restaurant but thanks to Kailash, we landed up at Sai-Garden that has a ravishing terrace-dining facility that too with a special game-zone for the kids.
As we were occupying our seats, some interesting things (games) caught the attention of these kids. "What's this?" asked Ram curiously. Lakhan, "Does this helicopter fly up in the sky?" Kailash & I looked at each other ;-) We immediately ordered the coins & asked Lakhan to get in for the drive. He was apprehensive in the beginning but Ram put a bold face on it. And then began the whirling fun-ride. Ram, Lakhan, Laxman everyone had their turns & then the giggles further escalated as they kept springing up & down on their horse-ride. Saroja too charged up herself with this thrilling dose.
We ordered Chicken Manchurian soups for the kids while I & Kailash shared the veg. one. Hotel staff was friendly enough to get the pillow-like seat-raisers for the kids so that they can comfortably reach their plates. Observing Laxman trying to eat on his own, one of them hurriedly got a napkin for him. Some masala-papads were ordered after the soup & this one literally startled them. What left them open-mouthed was the colorful decoration on the papads!
Some humour crept in when Saroja's body language indicated that they thought the dinner was over. When informed about the main course, she laughed, "Kya?? Aur ek baar khaana aayegaa?" ;-))
We ordered chicken handi for the kids & Kailash had to again share a veg. dish with the odd man out (me!). We still remember some of the funny & touchy moments---- Lakhan struggling to adjust for the big & small plates (Why there are 2 plates per person???)….Laxman, however difficult it was for him, but still insisting on eating with spoon….. Ram handling the fork funnily for a bite of the chicken piece…. Saroja cherishing Laxman between the courses…
When asked about the repeat nan order, immediate came the response "YES!" Saroja was done but as Lakhan & Laxman wanted some more 'chinese', we ordered a veg. fried rice & they simply loved it. There was still enough chicken left & so we got it parceled in the doggy-bag for Som. (It was so heart warming to know that this girl had specially requested her neighbors to inform Som not to go to sleep without food as that they will be getting the parcel for him). As if the thrilling rides & dinner was not enough, the waiter now distributed colorful balloons to each of them. What next? As expected, it took for about 15 minutes to wind up their balloon hang-over & cool off their adrenalin levels.
We left at about 9.15pm; While Kailash got the Chinese parceled for Som on the way, I took the kids to the ice-cream parlour. Please do check out the beautiful snap of Manisha & Saroja holding the hands of Laxman while walking on the dark roads.
Needless to say, it was a regaling party with the family but what really moved me was the interactions & communication between manisha & the 4 children. They played together, ate together, talked together, laughed together… No doubt saroja admits while departing, "aaj tak mujhe itna mazaa kabhi nahin aayaa!".. but the point is LEAD could turn out to be a platform where the privileged kids get the opportunity to experience the innocence of these less privileged ones… it could imbibe the feeling of togetherness & compassion in these young minds… these kids discover that needy children are really just children too with their dreams….
Kailash has always involved his children in all the celebrations/events of LEAD. Thank you so much for your effable efforts!

Photos :

Rupesh S Gesota

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