As ten of us volunteers sat down for some Mutter Paneer and Noodles, one of us confessed “Guys, really, I don’t bring this up often, but volunteering is such a great feeling. I never thought I would do it but I did and I love this feeling. I love this feeling.”

This feeling.

The day started with each one of us waking

up with this feeling, looking forward to the day that belonged to children thousands of miles away. Every minute was dedicated to every single underprivileged child. Every smile was devoted to every hope. We quickly recapped the last three months that went by, the initiative of the leaders, the passion of the planners and the will of us all. We reached the venue, considered it as a blank drawing board and painted it with flowers, saris, candles and determination. We marched by the afternoon to acquire perfection. Why? Because we wanted to make sure that everyone who came to dine, to support, left the room filled with this feeling. And they came, danced, dined, smiled and donated. They all cared, traveling from other cities, traveling in spite of busy schedules, enjoying in spite of the economy.

Yes, this feeling is contagious.

The evening began with dreamers and doers, one by one, each sharing their experiences as volunteers and achievers. Then came the changers, the ones that make you move, a mile at a time. They projected stories of sorrow and talked about expressions of change. The children danced in black and grace, in color and passion, with diyas and dreams. And they all expressed this feeling in their own beautiful way.

This feeling is special.

The volunteers raised questions and answered with facts and firm beliefs. While one journeyed the audience through child marriage, the others addressed upon child labor and rights. Others collected, displayed and raised care with the help of silence and handicrafts. Some of us served, registered, took care of the logistics, with a hope to make this a successful conversation rather than only a successful event. Some orchestrated tunes and notes, keeping the energy level of all those on the other side of the stage over hundred percent. They played music and everyone danced, the ones with sprained ankle, the ones with heels, the ones with two left feet and the ones with curfews. We all danced, irrespective of age, irrespective of color, irrespective of time. We all danced this feeling.

This feeling is priceless.

We walked out of the room to our own comfort zones, saying silent promises of never quite becoming too comfortable in our lives that we forget those who need us. We were already trotting next steps, missing the days that had gone by, wishing we all could be together again and do this all over again. Because the feeling that we got because you came, you volunteered, you lead, you donated, you dined, you served, you danced, you enacted, you announced, you organized, you sang, is not temporary. It lives for more than a day.

This feeling is permanent.

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