COLUMN: Immersed in India - Life at Sahasra Deepika

— I’ve been at SDI for 10 days, with three more left to go. When I’m not filming, I mostly spend my time hanging out with the kids – drawing, playing games, teaching them card games or just talking. During the day when they’re at school, I organize my footage and edit. The days are very predictable and structured, but I don’t mind after the last couple of weeks.

On Sunday, the mothers of the new kids came to visit. While the kids had been looking forward to the day for quite a while, it was a mixed bag of emotions when they left – they were all happy to have spent time with their moms, but almost inconsolable when they left because they knew they wouldn’t see them again for another two months. Some of the smaller children probably didn’t understand that much and cried all night.

One of the girls I’ve got to know the best – we’ll call her Emma because she reminds me of a certain someone I know back home – had a really rough time of it. She was all smiles all day, introducing her mother to everyone then sitting in the grass and talking with her for hours. Later, on the playground with some other kids, I found her sitting on the swing with a comic book in front of her face. I went to say hi, and saw she was hiding behind the magazine because she was crying.

She said, “I know I should be happy because my mother came today and gave me lots of nice things, but I cried like anything when she left. She cried like anything, too” (They all use that phrase). Then she told me to meet her in the dormitories in five minutes and not to bring anyone. So I tried to sneak away, and mostly succeeded, which is a feat when you stick in a crowd like I do here.

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