Location: Dharamsala

It has already been more than a week, and we’re pretty much getting used to our daily routine here. A hearty warm breakfast of Tibetan bread (with sinful spreads of Nutella) followed by a huge physical and mental challenge of walking up the stairs to Mcleod Ganj. Greeted by our happy learning partners outside Lha, we each made our way to a nearby cafe or the garden past Temple road. Some of us also got the chance to get their chupas ready as the shop was closed yesterday.

Today was also another day for us to experience another one of those delicious dishes at the Common Ground Cafe. We gobbled down the delicious tofu and green beans as well as the cabbage pillows (finely chopped tofu and carrots wrapped around cabbage leaves -like a pillow!). It was a fulfilling day, not because of the food but also because of what happened in TCV.

After the usual 2 hours of spending time teaching the children of TCV, the day most of us have been looking forward to coming finally. A trip to the TCV nursery! It was like a safe haven for those little toddlers. There was an opening to the ceiling at the nursery where little cards of alphabets and illustrations of animals hung on a string. There were rooms with baby cots in a row and little cute rain boots lined up at the corridor. We got to the playroom. Their eyes widened probably with confusion and curiosity as each of us slowly made our way in. Tiny hands reached out at us, wanting us to carry them in our arms with only a simple unspoken request: “play with me.” And so we did. We even had 2 or more kids toddling up to us yanking at our pants as we hold another child in our arms. One of the good parts was probably lifting those beautiful souls high up to the ceiling so they could place their little palms there. We took them outside as well, playing catch, swinging them around and played hide and seek.

Pretty soon it was time to leave. Reluctantly, some of us waved goodbye; others had the kids arms wrapped around theirs in an attempt to not let go. We walked down the stairs completely tired and covered in sweat. But hearing that tiny room burst with nothing but sounds of giggles, radiating with immense happiness was worth the effort.