“I never like coming to social gatherings like that, my only happy times are the lonely moments I spend on Juhu Chaupati. First I said ‘No’, but then Didi said it’s compulsory to come. And then when I came I had so much fun that I felt angry and bad when I had to go”
These were the words of one of our boys in the monday circle, 2 days after the Iftar Party. That day was not like those endless busy days, running here and there in the day to day activities which we can’t recall. And although they have many priceless small moments of smiles in those regular days, all are lost somewhere in corridors of otherwise heavy lives of our Youth. That day was like that favourite pic that we prefer printing and hanging on the wall, never to forget the special feeling of love behind it. Almost everyone answered the same feelings in their own different structures of words.
Like a team member rightly put “Sitting and eating with everyone it felt like a big family, and I ate so much that I can’t even remember how ”
When we decided on the celebration we were initially confused and yet confident. Confused about “What all to do” and confident that “boys are there to guide us.” Hardly 2 days of planning and a promise of ‘Chicken Biriyani’ from one of our boy’s mother was all that was necessary. The day was everything that Ashiyana stands for giving ownership to the boys to decide and shop the things that are needed,providing a safe space to be themselves, including the community of volunteers and family members enjoying to the fullest. The evening started with a circle to help everyone reflect on what does Ramazan stand for and what is Iftar, not just in words, but from stories and sharings from every individuals. It was not a party but a festive celebration in all it’s spirit. Starting from the cutting of fruits, till the making of jars of Rooh afza (a rose drink), from the huge tub of homemade Biriyani(rice), till those never-ending Pani puris. We fasted together as a family beyond religion, laughed together as friends beyond economical backgrounds, hugged together beyond our histories and we shared our beliefs and thoughts beyond our birth. When the clock ticked 10 and we were forced to start wrapping up everyone was so full of love and happiness that we all wished for the time to stop. And then the echos it left on the sands of time were not just sung on Monday morning Circle but in every smile that remembrance of that day brings.
Like one of our team members said “For me that day was special, but when next day evening I sat down to open my Roza(fast), it was no longer the feeling of loneliness with which I opened my Roza almost entire Ramzan, the entire evening played in front of me and with a feeling of love and family I opened my fast. And every day has been the same ever since ”
This is what Ashiyana is for all of us, a safe space of creating happy memories with the understanding of each other’s values.