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How I spend a week living like a homeless person and what it taught me
Home is where the heart is but it goes deeper than that. It’s not just about the place where we live, where we rest or where we relax; it is a place where we learn so many things, grow and just be. No matter what place you call home, the very word strikes a chord deep inside each of us. Our homes say a lot about who we are and what we think is important in life. Our connections to home are basic threads in our lives and the importance of home was not known to me before the time I was on a visit to Kashmir with my family. After having enjoyed our very first day, we were tired enough to have a sound sleep. I was sleeping with my sister and suddenly some severe disturbances woke me up. At first, I thought it was my sister turning over and over in her sleep but when I looked over she was still. Half asleep, I couldn't work out what was happening. I hesitated in waking up my sister, because I thought I was probably being too dramatic. The disturbances geared up and the whole building began to shake. Sooner or later, I realized that it was a drastic earthquake. I woke my sister up and we started walking downstairs. The building soon appeared to be distorted to a great extent. We could hardly make our way through the building to an open space as everything was shattered away. We were here on holidays but the view was all so different. There were frequent tremors throughout the week and the people were asked to leave the city and take shelter in open areas. The city was completely damaged and trashed apart. Some passed away, some were injured and the others, homeless, screaming out loud for their lost ones. All that noise and movement was replaced by tremendous silence a few moments later. At that time, we could not have thought of a place safer than a home. In the days that followed, helicopters flew low across the city to take the injured to hospitals. Although everything seemed to be stable, we didn’t felt safe being away from our home because a home is not a place, it’s a feeling; a feeling of safety. Indeed, everybody was homeless, some being away from their homes and the others having lost their homes. Nobody had a shelter over the head, there was absolutely nothing to eat, no way to go away from such an environment. The rescue team provided clothes and food to the sufferers but it was not sufficient to fulfil the needs of thousands of people. It was the moment I realized the actual need of the things we take for granted at our homes. Even a bite was not less than a meal but we generally lit much of our food in the bins after dining. At that very moment I decided that I will not take any of the facilities provided at home for granted. The most important of all, this experience taught me humanity. People across the country were sending help in the form of clothes and extra-canned goods. The government of India raised various relief funds through which donations were made from people and trusts all around the country. The rescue team made every possible arrangement to check our needs. This continued for almost a week. After that, no more tremors were recorded. This brought great relief to all. Urgent arrangements were then made so that the people could get back to their homes safely. When I returned home, I felt as secure as anything. For me, it was like a paradise found.
By: Shivani Singla (Intern at Prayaas Corps)
Age: 19 yrs
Pursuing b.com(p) from Kalindi College, University of Delhi
About Prayaas Corps: Prayaas Corps is a charity/ non-profit/fundraising/NGO organisation. The organisation is mainly working in the field of education sector along with many other initiatives. The captive initiative of Prayaas Corps is known as Shiksha Mission in which underprivileged students are provided a class of education.