A Special Wednesday

It’s that time of the new year, where we we’re blessed to host one of the most amazing guest speakers – Pavi Mehta. What a way to start the year, with ripples of love and acts of kindness.

We began our preparations two weeks before her arrival on Feb 1st. There was so much excitement in the house. Who to call, what to cook, how will we organize our little living room into an abundant space for meditation, reflection and kindness. Just how will all work out? Right in the middle of this hustle bustle, we hear someone speak to us in an almost whisper.

“Meghna ben, can i make a small request?”

“Yes sure”, i replied.

“I would like to make something little for everyone that Wednesday. I would like to make cabbage parathas.”

“Aarti Ben, there will be almost 40 people. Besides, it’s you who always cooks for all the people that sit in silence every Wednesday”.

“Yes sure, but as you know i just got my gas connection and i would like to cook it in my house, on my brand new gas stove.”

This left me speechless.

Aarti Ben has been a part of our family since the last two years. This has been the first ever job of her life. A mother of two children, she comes from a very low financial background. Before she started helping us, her husband was alcoholic and jobless, had an almost open roofed house (2 walls, a muddy floor and a plastic sheet to cover the top as a shade) and completely dependent on neighbors and well wishers for food for her little children. Times were tough. But she worked hard. Slowly and steadily she saved money over two years, got her floor tiled, and managed to get a tin roof for her house. Just recently she managed to get a new gas connection which costs almost Rs 5000. Until then she would cook on a wood burner, which takes almost an hour to heat up. Not to mention that the smoke is harmful when inhaled.

I requested her to take all the raw materials from our house. “But then that won’t be my offering right?” she said. Again, i’m left speechless. If this weren’t enough, as the days got closer, she said, “I’m going to make kheer (rice pudding) as well”.

And so, that’s exactly how it happened. We had volunteers pour in to help set up the atmosphere for one of the most special wednesday’s of 2012.  Sheetal and Neerad helped us with organic cutlery logistics, Anar ben gave her artistic touch to one of the best flower hearts with an Aum in the middle and Aarti Ben had her special feast contribution, just how she’d wanted to do it.

The Wednesday became even more special since we had the blessings of Pavi’s parents and sister Deepa, all who have been so closely associated with Aravind Eye Care. Pavi’s sharing of the stories with Dr. V and the dream to give eyesight to millions for free touched everyone so deeply that even today after a week, people are still in awe and speechless on how someone at this stage of life, can think about giving so selflessly to others. A dream that is still fully thriving and in action right up to their third generation.  And to top it up, it even becomes a case study for the top most business schools all over India! She also shared some very beautiful insights on kindness, compassion and suffering through the exemplary journey of Dr. V. A journey, that cannot be put into words. Pavi’s recent contribution (Infinite Vision – the book) to this dream is a priceless gift to the world into the lessons of love and compassion in so many degrees and dimensions.

For the first time, the full house of some 40+ guests stayed back way into the night, just to get more words of wisdom into Dr.V’s stories. So much so that some volunteers had to literally force people into calling it a day :) At the end, when we shared with Pavi about Aarti Ben’s contribution and story, so moved was one volunteer, that she decided to tag Aarti Ben, with a brand new saree :) And the ripples of love kept continuing!

Through these circles of silence life feels so blessed to be able to witness and welcome all the goodness there is.

What a wonderful wednesday :)

Attaching the entire audio of the talk:

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