Neeti and I celebrated the end of Navratras with a Kanjak ceremony. This ceremony involves inviting at least five pre-pubescent girls home, washing their feet and serving them food.
This ceremony is done in devotion to the Goddess, as pre-pubescent girls are considered Her embodiments.
We prefer calling girls from underprivileged sections. Usually, the cooks and cleaners help in this.
The breakfast menu is standard - atta halwa, dry black channas and puris.
This time our cleaner brought with her five chirpy girls, all about 7-8 years old. After washing their feet, Neeti and I served them breakfast. As they were eating, we asked them if they went to school.
"Yes, we do! We have an exam today."
"Are you well prepared?"
"Yes" came an emphatic response.
Then we asked what subjects they loved the most. Three said Marathi, one said Maths and the last one said Science.
The next logical question was on career choices. Two girls said they wanted to study to be doctors, one a teacher, one an engineer and one a pilot!
They all smiled when they said this and had a sparkle in their eyes! We were speechless and very impressed.
Just look at the hope and passion these girls have, despite their deprivations!
"May God bless these little girls with strength to do what they want to!", that was the only prayer Neeti and I had at that moment.