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An Offering To My Parents

My parents left early this morning, after three weeks here in India. In a way, this was their first “ServiceSpace” trip to India. It started with them being spontaneously gifted plane tickets, in a completely unsuspecting way. And it just continued on and on. Another friend gave up his car for the entire duration of their trip. Everywhere they went, love and gratitude would follow them like a shadow.

In the span of a week, they spoke at three Awakin Circles in three different cities -- Ahmedabad, Baroda and Surat. To be honest, I wasn’t sure how it would all unfold, since I don’t think of them as “guest speakers”, but everywhere, people were moved deeply. I wasn’t at any of them but I would get grateful emails everyday. They even moved the ServiceSpace veterans (like Neil and Nimo) to tears. It all felt like one glorious arrangement.

My Mom would tell stories, my Dad would whittle it down to an insight, they would field questions, and conclude with a collective song. Gratitude all around. In Baroda, one gentleman coyly came up to them after the circle with an offering: he wrote “thank you” hundreds of times on a piece of paper, while wishing them gratitude. “Awakin Circles in Baroda have saved my life,” he said, “And it was a ripple of what you started in your living room, 18 years ago. I can't say thank you enough.” A group of folks gifted them a heartfelt scroll, on which they each wrote different practices they were going to do.

My parents had heard that Awakin Circles have rippled out all around the world, but to actually experience it, in such a way, was nothing short of amazing.

In between all the goodness, they managed to get a couple days for family, couple days for a vacation in Kerala, and my Dad even managed to fly kites on Uttaryan! :)

And they constantly did things like inaugurate this vegetable garden at the Gandhi Ashram, via an offering of soil from their backyard in the US.

At one point, during the Gandhi 3.0 retreat, my Dad came up to me and said, “Nipun, I’m proud of you.” Now, I do know that my Dad has always been proud of me, but he never really says that. A bit surprised, I looked at him and said, “Why do you say that?” “Well, I just saw what you did in there.” “Where?” “In the circle. The energy was off track, and in just five minutes, you turned it all around. Just like that, and no one would even notice.” I was really touched that he noticed.

Similarly, my mom returned back and couldn’t stop raving about the Gandhi 3.0 retreat. "Now, I can really understand what you’ve been doing for the last 18 years of ServiceSpace. All these inspiring volunteers, working so selflessly and in harmony, creating all these unending ripples. It takes all those years to pull off just one of these retreats in this way.  Like any mother, sometimes I still worry about how you'll be taken care of as you get older, but now I can see clearly that the universe has got you covered." :)

I am grateful beyond words, to have been able to offer these three weeks to my parents -- and in turn, I offer bows to the many invisible hearts that effortlessly came together to fulfill this unspoken wish.    

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