From Gulshirin

Project “Muskurahat” has done 27 shows in 4 weeks and has played for over 5,000 children and many more adults. The project has gone wonderfully and this would never have been possible with the support and enthusiasm from all the people we approached. The overwhelming generosity we have experienced from people has been unparalleled. Before I start my ramblings on about my experience, I would like to say that none of my musings reflect in anyway, my gratitude for the support we have been given from our donors, volunteers and hosts.

I am in an odd position. The reason being that India is my home and there are certain aspects of life there that I take for granted – the extremities, the dirt and poverty are a part of life that I grew up with, so writing an update about my experience becomes slightly difficult for me. I can’t write about how seeing people with broken limbs lying on the side of the street, under a roof made of plastic, has changed me as a person. I can’t say that the extremities are shocking – I am part of this extremity. So, what I can try and say is how I find myself at a loss. I find that I need to be inspired by what I see and experience, however having grown up with it, I find myself at times, unmoved. Ultimately though, is it about what I feel? Should I be changed? I don’t really know the answers to these questions. What I do know is that after we left, the children were apparently imitating us, doing the lazzi, creating new lazzi, taking bows, shaking hands with each other and smiling.

How do you evaluate an intangible such as happiness and laughter? What is the value of it and how long does it sustain itself? The more I think about it, I believe the answer might be something to do with relief in the moment. Laughter is known to relieve stress and anxiety – I guess, if I can contribute to reducing some of this – even for the shortest moment – it should be enough. The benefits of laughter are severely underappreciated. To know that the relationship and connection between human beings can be improved by laughter is one of the greatest discoveries I have made. No, maybe we cannot measure it over a long period of time, but the period of time that lasts maybe a moment, a day or a week, through laughter, has the potential to forge relationships that may last a lifetime.

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