The morning of last Sunday turned out to be a very fruitful day for us. On this day, we visited Sewadham Ashram located on Barnagar road not more than a few kilometres away from Ujjain. It is a non-profit, non-government and internationally acclaimed organization, found by Sudhir Bhai Goyal in 1989 after years of witnessing terrible hardships in his life. As with all places like these, this one also had gone through their share of sufferings.
After all the hard work of decades put in by Sudhir Bhai and other devotees of mankind, five hundred plus people call it home now. We reached the ashram and felt the positivity in the air even as we entered. Everything from the get-go was extremely clean. We were taken to a projector room almost immediately. One of the members showed us a documentary and briefed us about the Ashram. The Documentary talked about the stories of all the men, women and children left there in horrible condition. A lot of people there were differently abled. So many of them came back to life from their deathbeds. Every person there had a dark story behind their smiling faces.
It was now around lunch time so we went to each of the four wards to serve them food. We were instructed to only give them as much as in their diet plan. A lot of them eat without a filter and this causes them digestive issues. They take food and hide it. They had much bigger appetites than their bodies could handle. Saying no to those hopeful, innocent faces was a tough thing for us. The women had to have their hair cut short as they would grab each other’s hair. They all joined their hands in namaste as they saw us. Even just serving them moved all the students to tears. There was so much we wanted to do for them. We met the children, unable to talk or run around, dumped by their parents. We were burning with anger and sorrow as we picked these children up and fed them. A baby called Pratham really grew on us. Leaving him there hurt us all.
Meeting Sudhir Bhai Goyal was an eye-opening experience for everyone. There are very few people in this world as compassionate as him. For these people, he was like god. The way he took care of these people made us want to join this ashram too. The children there had a performance in store for us. We all sat by the stage as they, clad in elaborate costumes, went up and showcased their talent. The crowd went wild with claps and hoots as they danced. One of the women there, Bholi, with her dholak and her voice charmed us all. Her talent was a pleasure to hear. Some of the students from our university also performed for the people there.
Sudhir Bhai talked to us all about how there were so many untold stories. So many stories in one place, all hidden from the crowd. He told us all as a part of the ashram now, to spend some time in spreading what we know about the place.
We all left the ashram with the idea of coming back again and again and meeting them. We all had plans in our head to do more for these people. This experience chilled us all to our bones. We felt the urge to do something bigger than ourselves. Such an experience is so rare. It was one of the most unusual and eye-opening experiences we have ever had.