“You feel lighter, don’t you?” by Sweta Singhal

By Volunteer Sweta Singhal, FHI Guwahati 

Rapture: noun; a state or experience of being carried away by overwhelming emotionextreme happiness or excitement. 

That one word alone can describe how I felt after my first event as an FHI volunteer. I might have smiled on hours for end and I might have trembled with the sheer joy of putting myself out there and bringing a smile on someone’s face. Such is the joy of giving; you always seem to get back more. 

Empty-handed, we step into institutions that hold together kids who have known life in ways we never will but we never come out the same. We always, always, always learn. A new feeling, a new value, a new reason to be more humane; to give more and to love more. 

For all the compassion, all the kindness I have known in me, a lot of it has been planted by my mother, who, in the simplest words, explained how giving and holding out our hands to help someone can be the greatest joy sometimes. And it was mum, who after my first event, glowed with the happiness I was radiating; an emotion I seldom adorned. All she asked me was, “You feel lighter, don’t you?”

I don’t think I could put down one single word that could encompass everything that I have learned as a member of FHI; everything that has been imbibed in me after all the times I have reached out. 

I have learned to be more empathetic, more sensitive, more emotional; learned that sometimes, we may ask the wrong questions but we can always leave with the correct way to phrase them. I have learned how smiles are actually contagious and laughter is just a seismic zone that leaves everyone shaking with unabashed joy and giggles. I have learned how knowledge, when shared, really doubles, triples and quadruples. 

The comfort zone is a trap that often ensnared me before. It will pull me back even now but I have learned that there are greater comforts out there, in someone’s smile, in knowledge, in friendship and in love. 

I don’t think I will ever stop being the shy, awkward girl who often stutters out of anxiety but I can always be brave if it means I’m giving into the joy of giving. 

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