"Please come for lunch on Vishu (a traditional Kerala Festival in April). This year, our 'sadya' (special lunch) will be partly made of vegetables from our own garden!" Seema (name changed to protect privacy) could not contain her excitement, as she invited us over the phone. Of course they knew that the senior volunteers at ATMA would unfailingly be there to celebrate with them, as we do every time. For all festivals, it is a tradition that we all come 'home' to the children, wherever we are. This time was indeed special, because every child had contributed her own love and care to grow the vegetables that would go into making of the traidtional lunch.
The holidays in April and May were indeed spent fruitfully, tending to the new vegetable garden. With covid restrictions still in place, and a worrisome second wave hitting the state very badly, none of the usual holiday pursuits were possible. Visits to and from were strictly limited. It has now been more than a year since the children have been able to go on picnics and outings. For us, keeping their spirits high has been a focus area over the last one year - helping them find joy in small things, keeping them constantly engaged and inspiring them to utilise the time for pesonal grotwth. Even when visits were curtailed by the nearly 2-month long lockdown, ATMA Director C K Suresh and the senior volunteers regularly interacted with the children through online meetings. The children too have gracefully accepted the situation and are enthusiastically taking up whatever activities are available to them in the present scenario.
In early May, the new calf was born, bringing a fresh burst of joy to the Gurukulam Family. The children now have a new playmate! He loves frolicking with them, and promptly reminds them when it is time to play!
The schools re-opened in June, once more in the online mode. Another academic year has begun in earnest, and the children are immersed in their school work.The children in 12th grade have completed their board exams and are awaiting results. Once again, we look forward to a new year of achievement, growth and happiness!
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