October 2019

Delhi is loud, dirty, chaotic. The hotel driver weaves in an out of the traffic. I look out the window, trusting that his expertise will see me arrive safely at my destination.

We chat. He tells me about his wife and children. I ask him if his wife drives. “No, Madam.”

He asks me if I drive. I tell him I can drive a car and a tractor. I ask him if Indian men make fun of Indian women drivers, like Australian men make fun of Australian women drivers. “Yes!” We laugh together.

We are all the same, all around the world. We laugh at the same things, we cry at the same things, we worry about the same things.

The big bustling highways slowly turn into smaller side streets. The smaller side streets then start to narrow. There are motorbikes, rickshaws, cars crawling along the narrowing streets, tooting their horns. Weaving and winding.

The streets start to narrow into laneways.

“Madam, are you sure you have the right address?” I look on my phone at my maps app.

“Yes, it’s okay. You’re in the right place.”  I show him the map. He is clearly concerned as we drive further into the overcrowded laneways. He negotiates vehicles, people and cows that are all jostling for their own space amongst the madness and chaos.

The laneway is so narrow that it seems like I can reach out the car window and touch the buildings and stalls.

My stomach is churning. I am tired. I am anxious.

“This is it, Madam.”

I climb out of the car, feeling very conspicuous as I stand in the laneway, waiting for the driver to pull my suitcase out of the car boot. He looks worried. I feel worried.

I thank him and walk towards the SAMADHAN building, dragging my suitcase along behind.

Little did I know, as I walked through the door, that I was going to be met with kindness, calmness and generosity, amongst so much chaos and hardship. 

India and her beautiful people were enlightening me. They were teaching me. They were helping me find myself again. They were filling that empty place inside of me with their love and kindness and acceptance.

June 2020

The laneways are eerily quiet. No hustle and bustle, no motorbikes or rickshaws, no people. Only cows, meandering through the now spacious laneways of Dakshinpuri.

For three months now, the SAMADHAN building has been empty. No singing, no laughing, no learning.

No children! Where are the children?

The world has gone a little crazy. Across the globe we all feel it. Don’t leave your home, don’t hug your friends, don’t …. don’t ….. don’t.

The children of SAMADHAN are locked away in their homes with their parents.

Their father’s are there with them. Their mother’s are there with them. Their brothers and sisters are there with them. Their grandparents are there with them.

The staff of SAMADHAN are locked away in their homes with their parents.

Their father’s are there with them. Their mother’s are there with them. Their children are there with them. Their grandchildren are there with them.

There is a feeling of despair. Will it ever end?

Will the laneways ever be overcrowded again? Will there ever be vehicles, people and cows jostling for their own space in the SAMADHAN laneway again?

I hope so. Because the SAMADHAN building needs its children back.

We are all the same, all around the world. We laugh at the same things, we cry at the same things, we worry about the same things.