I prepare myself for a second visit to Kakun and her gypsy family, who are temporarily living under a tree (during the 10 days of the Pushkar camel fair). I brought the bananas to keep my promise. At the last minute I decided to bring a colouring book and a box of coloured pencils. Thought it would be better to bring a small box instead of a large one, as often this kids react quite wildly as they have no discipline and you never know how they are going to behave, that is why imagined the pencils could get thrown about the floor at any minute.
On arrival we are greeted (Eliane and me) with joy. We talk a little bit in “Hinglish” (a mixture of Hindi and English, neither one nor the other 🙂. I’m hoping to get good pictures but before … I lay a plastic on the floor and I call the kids to sit around me. I open the book and start colouring. I give each kid a pencil and encourage them to do the same as I start drawing for them. I´m totally surprised when I see that they don´t have any clue of how to hold the pencil in their tiny hands.
I take my pencil, place it in the hands of one of the kids and help him towards achieving results and as I help him draw along the pages of the book, as if by magic, the colour appears, engulfing the otherwise black and white sketches of the draw book.
They are now focused, each one with his pencil. We colour, we speak in a language that we pretend to understand, we laugh together and we keep on colouring. Suddenly, the tips of the pencils are gone. Luckily, the box came with a sharpener. I pick it and bring it to the tip, a few twists and as if by magic, for them, the tips are back and colouring we go.
While I do this, I observe the expressions they have on their faces as they stare in awe towards the return of the tip of the pencil.
For about an hour and a half, maybe two, they were totally focused on the mission of filling in the pages of the book.
I’ve never seen so many smiles in the distance after we said goodbye. From them and mine. Later, back in town, I find myself thinking that this will be a day I will never forget. I share the experience with a friend. She says: THEY will not forget this day. I feel happy.
Photo by Eliane Bandd (phone camera). I forgot to take photos.