Monday, January 2, 2012

Curious Bharti and the Ripple Effect

One of the beauties of children lies in the capacity of their curiosity - In essence, it is limitless. As the noises of the various park animals and splashes of the running river filled our ears in Sanjay Gandhi National Park - We stopped to watch a beautiful bird across the water that we had just learned about from our fantastic friend, and tour guide for the day, Rushikeshbhai.

As I sat there next to Bharti she noticed tiny movements in the water that made numerous circles throughout the river. She looked at me and asked what those circles were called in English. It was always amazing to see Bharti taking advantage of any chance she got to learn more English. I repeated the word "Ripple" a few times to her, and she looked elated as she quickly took a mental note of the new piece of information she had just been introduced too. As she skipped away repeating the word over and over again, I called out to her to share her new learning with her other sisters and brothers as well. That's exactly what I heard her doing.

The next day we were welcomed to the home of a Manav Sadhna family member for lunch. Bharti noticed on one of the tables there was a quote by Mother Teresa that read, "I alone cannot change the world, but I can caste a stone across the waters to create many ripples." She quickly grabbed the frame and walked towards me to help her understand the meaning. As we sounded out the various letters in the sentence, we were able to read the English quote together. And soon thereafter, she was able to translate it into Hindi knowing that she had just learned one of the key words in that message the prior day. Bharti was beaming with a smile at her ability to read and understand the quote.

"Main Nimeshsir ko jakar bathaon?" She excitedly asked me if she should go share with Nimeshsir, and I asked her to share with the whole family, as it was a great quote that everyone ought to hear. Initially, a bit nervous, she agreed to reading the quote in English first, and then translating it into Hindi for everyone in the room.

She held my hand into the room. At this point, we had gathered a crowd of about 30 people and all eyes were on Bharti. Her nervousness quickly subsided as she began a beautiful recital of the quote and the translation thereafter - Not a glitch her in voice and with the confidence of a politician. It was a beautiful moment and I was smiling like a proud parent. Upon finishing, I asked her to tell everyone who said the quote, she replied, "Apne (You)!" That gave everyone a good laugh and I was the lucky girl in the room to receive a heart-filled hug from Bharti, our new spokeswoman!

A few days later, Sanjay sat next to me on the bus and told me how he wanted to get better at speaking in front of big groups...Bharti truly started her own "Ripple Effect" without even knowing it!


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