Change Yourself…Change The World.

The Mother Theresa Center and Shantaram
March 14, 2008, 3:02 am
Filed under: India


This is originally from my previous facebook group ‘India ’08,’ in which I sent messages to friends about my travels with Carpe Diem through India. This post was not originally associated with this blog, but I have put it up here in the correct date. As you can see, my writing is not quite up to par with what it is now 🙂 But I thought you readers would still find it informative and entertaining.

hello everyone! We are nearing the end of Calcutta here and on Sunday morning we fly to Chandigarh and then to McLeod Ganj. Volunteering at the Mother Theresa Center is truly an amazing experience and something I recommend everyone do. I worked at Shanti Dan, a center for malnourished toddlers- we spent the day doing their laundry, changing their diapers, making their beds, feeding them, playing with them… one conclusion that has hit me above everything else here is that serving a person doesn’t mean you have to save their life, and it doesn’t mean giving them 100 rupees will either- it’s those tiny steps, changing a diaper, spooning cereal into a mouth, hanging out clothes to dry; that one thing may not save their lives, may not give them peace or happiness, but it gives them one more day to draw breath, one more day to survive. And no matter how miniscule the work is, I am so lucky to be able to take part of it, making that small step in their lives that they will never remember.
another thing I wanted to say is that right now I am reading a truly fantastic book called “Shantaram,” which has easily climbed up to my top 10 favorite books of all time within the first 100 pages- and there were two paragraphs in the book that just fit so rightly, that told me exactly how I was feeling about India, about Calcutta, and I thought I would share it with you.

“‘I love it,” I answered, and it was true. To my eyes, the city was beautiful. It was wild and exciting. Buildings that were British Raj-romantic stood side to side with modern, mirrored business towers. The haphazard slouch of neglected tenements crumbled into lavish displays of market vegetables and silks. I heard music from every shop and passing taxi. The colours were vibrant. The fragances were dizzyingly delicious. And there were more smiles in the eyes on those crowded streets than in any other place I’d ever known.
‘Above all else, Calcutta was free- exhilaratingly free. I saw that liberated, unconstrained spirit wherever I looked, and I found myself responding to it with the whole of my heart. Even the flare of shame I’d felt when I first saw the slums and the street beggars dissolved in the understanding that they were free, those men and women. No one drove the beggars from the streets. No one banished the slum dwellers. Painful as their lives were, they were free to live them in the same gardens and avenues as the rich and powerful. They were free. The city was free. I loved it.”

Much love,

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