Dada Mela Thrills atthe 140th Birthday Celebrations of Gurudev Sadhu Vaswani
Children come with radiant faces and singing hearts. Do they not come to renew the child-heart that slumbers still in the grown-up ones? Mystery-filled are the children, and radiant are they as stars. They come as witnesses to our Unseen Homes. In the eyes of a child floweth eternity: and in the heart of a child is the light that heals!
—Gurudev Sadhu Vaswani
16th November 2019, soft, melodious bhajans resonated in the early hours of the dawn at the Sadhu Vaswani Mission Pune. Volunteers were engrossed in packing gifts and readying goodies! It was the day of ‘Dada Mela’ — a day to bring smiles to the radiant faces of needy and underprivileged children!
“I wait eagerly each year for this day! It has been 10 years that, with Dada’s grace, I have been coming for this seva and even today it feels as though Dada is watching us from his balcony; something he would always do. Looking at the little ones makes me feel childlike,” said Namrata Sakhrani.
The children arrived in batches and with a contagious smile and laughter they enlivened the morning! So much so that, volunteers, adults, all switched on the child in them! They too had a renewed vigour in their spirit and a sprint in their toes!
“What a beautiful smile and hearty laughter these kids bring to us! I feel as though my childhood is back!” said Sheela Peswani.
The Dada Mela began with the lighting of lamp at the life-like portraits of Gurudev Sadhu Vaswani and Rev. Dada J. P. Vaswani and the chanting of ‘Om’ by the little ones. The children, as they were seated in the premises where once Sadhu Vaswani and Dada tread and echoed aloud the ‘Omkar’, it was as though the Sadhu Vaswani Mission had transformed into an ancient ‘Vedic School’ — an ashrama — Sadhu Vaswani often referred to.
In the backdrop, volunteers were setting up the stalls and the little ones were stealing a glance to check if everything was ready for them to get started. They were but waiting for one ‘go’ to revel in all the joys that had been planned for them. Promptly enough and in a little while, the children were guided to the stalls and the laughter, bustle and energy were all back!
At one end, children were queuing up at game stalls— skin-art counter, Mehendi, nail polish counter, lucky 7 (a dice game) and hoop the gift.
“The children are crowding up here! But I am not one bit tired! Their energy is contagious and they are loving the games,” said Rashida Hussain.
And at the food stalls, the kids were demanding their choices and it was truly endearing! All their favourites, from Bhel, Aloo Vada, Pav Bhaji and Masala Dosa! Of all, the Masala Dosa counter was everyone’s favourite.
Kids from CR Ranganathan Residential School for the Deaf, Rutuja Sutar, Annapoorna Rajput, Minal Pawra said, “We love coming here! Love the food and music! We also wish Sadhu Vaswani ‘Happy Birthday!’ We will observe 25th November as Meatless Day and tell our parents as well!”
Another kid from Poona School and Home for Blind, Noman Tampoli, speaking in fluent English said, “I love the activities they have organised for us. They do it year after year and I enjoy it every single year. I am thankful to the Mission for calling us here.”
Finally, it was time for gifts, goodie bags (chocolate packets, towels, napkin, bath soap, washing soap, coconut oil, toothpaste) and of course ice-creams!
The time to say goodbye had arrived. The little ones got into the buses arranged for them and waved with all the happiness they could muster; for they knew that it was a goodbye, until we met again, at the abode of Gurudev Sadhu Vaswani and Rev. Dada J.P. Vaswani.
Participating schools included CR Ranganathan Residential School for the Deaf and Poona School and Home for Blind amongst others.