That spark!

Sumedha lived a very ordinary life. You know – all the days were just like the previous ones and she knew that the ones that came also would follow the same pattern. She would have liked for a little bit of change now and then, but that would mean going out and searching for it. She was so well-cocooned in her snug life that converting that thought into action never even occurred to her.

The days slipped into months and the months oozed into years. She didn’t even realize that life and youth was passing her by. She was quietly content but there was some small niggle inside her, that tried to tell her that she needed to DO something.  That small niggle however got drowned in the complete cacophony of her normal life. She juggled a full time job, a couple of kids, home loans, friendships, social functions, an extended family and everything else, just like other normal women do.

It was the annual family get together. This was a sacred occasion with attendance mandated for everyone – one-off cousins, black sheep uncles, cast-off sisters – just everyone made it to the annual event, irrespective of their differences, spats and fights during the rest of the year. It was held over a weekend – people came in by Friday evening to Saturday morning and left by Sunday night or Monday morning. This year, the event was at Mangalore – the place with the lovely, unspoiled beaches, still a relatively less traveled and hence less commercialized and cleaner option than it’s cousin, Goa.

There were activities planned during the days – simple stuff, not heavy duty with plenty of time to catch up with others. However the afternoons were left free – primarily because all the adults wanted to catch their forty winks. Sumedha was the only adult not sleeping and so, would spend the time with the kiddo bunch. It suddenly hit her that none of the kids missed any of their usual trappings like video games, television and the like, and found their own entertainment with others. That thought sparked off a trail of thoughts and ideas.

When they got back home, she fleshed out her ideas and wrote a business proposal for an unstructured activity centre for children. This would be a place which would have facilitators, not teachers. There would be lots of free space and open air. It took a couple of months to convince people to support her and get a lease on the land. ‘Kids hangout‘ started out with just her two kids and broke even after a year of struggle. It grew by word of mouth and today, five years later, Sumedha has become younger and happier because of the company she keeps.







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