As I mentioned in my previous post about the Indian ashram I stayed at, it’s very rural and remote. The local train station, for example, has no drinking water facility. In almost every other Indian train station you can find huge water fountains with four sides and capacity to serve several water drinkers at a time. If I drank that water I’d probably die, but for locals used to drinking it it’s a great service.
As the summer dawned, with intense heat and dryness in tow, being able to drink some water before or after a train journey is hugely beneficial. So, the AMURT team does this annually until the summer breaks with the coming of the monsoons.
For the special unveiling of the service we went a step further. We prepared lentils so they’d sprout and make for a nice treat. By washing them several times and leaving them to soak we facilitated sprouting. These on their own are a nice snack, but mixed with sugar it’s a nice treat. In this community, where a majority of inhabitants make less than $1 per day, it’s a wonderful treat and diversion from the norm.
During the event some speeches were made, there was singing and worship, and even meditation. Below you can see videos of these.
One sad aspect of the event was the littering. Though any visitor to India quickly has to adapt to the littered environment it was clear how much education and environmental consciousness play a role in whether you treat the world as your garbage can. At the train station there was a garbage can, even designed in the form of a clown to make it attractive for children to approach and use. After the event was over, you can see how many of the hundreds of plates ended up in the garbage can: one.
In the end, it was kind of a perfect way to depart the ashram. It was nice to see the relief work they do at home and learning what they do throughout India and abroad. Their beliefs and way of life are not for me, but their mission, serving humanity, is definitely something I subscribe to.
Below are more pictures of the event if you’re interested.