E. P. Achuthan Kutty (Madhu)
Birthday celebrations would usually mean cutting cakes, hosting a private party, going on long ride with friends or treating and many more. But for me, the best birthday celebration was on 26 August 2012.
It was my daughter Durga’s birthday. We had an idea to host a lunch at an orphanage. We chose the dishes to be cooked and paid bared the cost.
It was an orphanage comprising of 25 girls and 4 Sisters, the staff that monitor their daily routine. The entire are extremely traditional and well disciplined. We were impressed by their way of greeting. The people in this place are taught to treat guests as god. We spent some time playing with those kids.
Being a kiddie party, it was amazing as we were helping to host games for the children. They know tons of games already, but having someone to help them by hosting would be awesome. Some simple prizes for the winners would also be provided which could be anything as simple as a small bag of cookies or treats. We again spent half an hour with everyone. A few kids sang, a few danced, a few spoke about current affairs.
It was lunch time. As it was the time of “Onam”, the traditional festival of Kerala, we have served them the typical “Kerala Sadhya”. The lunch has been served in plantain leaves along with a dozen of variety dishes. They followed their tradition again- Chanted prayers for our well being. We distributed sweets to everyone and then began our lunch. It was very delicious and hygienic though. The people here feel that they are in no ways orphans!! They feel love and care everywhere.
We were touched and almost in tears. Those hours we spent at the orphanage were a lifetime experience. When we were about to leave those kids came running to us to wish her for the last time. And they told her “Please visit us often. We need people like you”.
But most importantly for the event is the warmth of a personal touch with the orphans. Now that I am a father, I appreciate more than ever how important it is to let your children know that they are loved. My kids warm up to people very easily – and you can tell by their smiles that they love to make new friends. These orphans are no different, and making friends is a hundred times more important to them to make up for the absence of loving parents in their lives. Through the years we have had so many friends come and join in our home for my daughter’s birthday celebrations, this annual event only to tell me later that it was a most enjoyable time. Looking into the hopeful eyes of these children, listening to them and sharing a moment with them – time and time again it has made me more inspired than ever about the future. You and I all have our crosses to bear, but these children are fighting against almost unimaginable odds, and yet they have all the hope in the world in their hearts.