Winter in Benares


The cold has come!


The week after Mahanirvana, the weather has abruptly changed. One morning the ashram was enveloped in a very thick fog while the temperature had noticeably fallen. Winter has come one month early and the sun has difficulty and is slow in peeping out through the fog, radiating some tepid rays lazily. We handed out sweaters, socks and shoes to the ones who needed.


ChandraMa and the teachers of the school


Just after the roll-call, starting from the youngest ones, the kids have a hot milk and rice or rusks-based breakfast; for many of them this is the only morning breakfast. Our children are grateful to Mr Terrani, Port Moka and ‘Il Caffè della Terra’ trademark owner, who every month sponsors their breakfast. Thank you Mr Terrani!


The kids greet Mr Terrani


Then dance and music groups reach the areas devoted to these activities while the others take a short break before going back to their lessons. In winter, classrooms are cold, so it is really better to sit down outside under the sun, when it is there. Scattered in every corner of the garden around the school, the kids go on with their lessons outside. This year the pupils are a good 385, 204 out of them are girls.


Hello to everybody!


In the afternoon the girls and boys supported at external secondary and high schools arrive. They are 74. They do their homework and coaching with the tutors but very often under the patient and loving look of Anil Baba, who answers their questions and corrects them if necessary.


Milk in the morning for everyone


The sewing course for the village girls and women, has 56 persons enrolled and is held in the afternoon Monday to Friday.


Friends have breakfast in a circle


During these last days, with the early arrival of the biting cold, the kids want to come to school as usual but, instead of following the lessons, they play and run all morning. Three, four hundred scamps throwing balls, playing cricket, badminton, tip-cat, going on a swing, whizzing on their bikes, whirling on the merry-go-round but there are also someone who just sit down around a brazier to get warm. All the kids and even we adults have a cold, and, everyday, groups of children go to the infirmary to take something for winter diseases.


Playing to get warm


Selene (ChandraMa) has seen her project of a comic book, specifically thought for low literacy level areas such as the slum of Varanasi where the Centre is, to become a concrete reality at last.


Ready to receive Selene’s comics


The kids of the Shri Aghoreshwar Gurukul were the firsts to get a copy and were immediately ravished by the story.


Selene hands out the books to the kids


It is about a group of kids who, being aware that some habits in the village they live in aren’t hygienically correct, inspired by the experience of the elderly, decide to take countermeasures to improve the living conditions of their community. After some amusing adventures the resourceful kids get appreciation and support from the village.


Vishal enjoys reading the comics


This story tries to inspire the kids and their families with more attention towards basic hygienic practices and a healthy nutrition.

Being this Plain Ink publication for Indian people, it will be distributed for free in the villages and the schools of the neighborhood.


Selene and the pupils of the Shri Aghoreshwar Gurukul


The doctors, Dr P. K. Singh, Dr Misra, Dr Praven, Dr R. K. Singh and Dr R. Singh, deserve our respect and our appreciation because, despite the considerable troubles they face to reach our centre from the city, they never fail to keep an appointment with their patients. Among these ones, there are also some sadhus, often they are old, coming to our hospital when they have some health problems. The poor people know that, in case of need, they will find help here. These special persons work for free.


Sadhus reach the hospital of the Centre

One day, after the morning fog had dissolved, with a motor boat we brought about twenty orphans of our school to Harishchandra ghat, almost at the extreme south of the city, allowing them to admire some kilometers of the most charming riverfront of the world.


The boat is about to leave for the city


After mooring the boat, we made our way towards the interior and we stopped at a shop to buy some clothes for each of them. On the spot the shops assistants were surprised to see such an invasion. The kids were fascinated, instead; they never entered such a shop before. The patient help of the shop assistants could meet the requirements of the numerous and lively costumers.


Brand new clothes for the kids


We had lunch late at Kerala Cafè, where, welcomed nicely by the owners and the other costumers, we occupied a great part of the place. Coming back to Harishchandra Ghat we stopped to visit Baba Kina Ram Sthal, then we reach the boat, making an offing to come back to the ashram while a light haze started coming down. The kids were very happy for this special day.


Trip on the river to the city


This year, after long time, I will spend holiday season in India with Anil Baba, Harsha V. Singh and his daughters, the people residing at the ashram and the ones who will arrive from Italy soon: Mariuccia, Ferdinando, Stefania, Lucrezia, Beatrice and Sara.

We wish you all a Happy Holiday Season from the Avimukta Ganga Maa Siddhapith.