We (Radhika and me) are just back from a short vacation to our native village Naula in the Uttarakhand hills of India. To reach our place, one has to pass through the famous Corbett National Park. It is named after a British Jungle enthusiast, Jim Corbett, who penned The Man Eaters of Kumaon.
There is a small school, named Shikhar Public School, in the village. My nephew, Bittu, studies there. We visited the school and explained the concept and benefits of Laughter Yoga to the Principal and teachers. Instantly, a laughter yoga session was arranged for the kids. Some of them were very young, just three or four years old in the Nursery class, and the older ones were about twelve years old in their Eighth standard.
We started the session as usual with clapping and chanting. There were guffaws all around as they chanted Hoho Hahaha and moved around. They relished Milkshake Laughter, may be because it was close to lunch time. Radhika did the Laughter Zoo with them comprising of various laughters from the animal kingdom like Lion, Elephant, Kangaroo, Penguin, Bird and Monkey Laughter. It touched the core of their hearts and they yearned for more laughter as they had never imagined of such variety in laughter. We did Age Laughter and Swinging Laughter.
Then, we realized that the sun was straight over our heads and it had got somewhat hot. We tried to wrap up but the kids wanted more. So, we decided to come back to the school again in the evening.
To our utter surprise, all the kids were there in the evening. We did a quick recap of the warm-up steps and some laughter exercises. Then we played the games Follow the Leader and Pizza Pasta with them. They were simply delighted.
By this time, a word had spread in the village that children in the school were having some real fun. When we looked around towards the end, the entire school was surrounded by spectators from the village who were shouting in chorus Very Good Very Good Yay.
It was quite a fulfilling experience as kids there dont have equipments to play any games and this could be very handy. Some of the villagers expressed that well meaning citizens like us should regularly visit the remote village to encourage and guide the local kids.
Last night, I telephoned my mother to tell her that we have reached back Indore safely. She seemed very happy and said, Radhika and you have left permanent footprints in the village. The chants of Very good Very Good Yay by the kids can be heard anytime, anywhere in the neighbourhood. Now, you are not away. You are always right here!