Into The Shadows . . . Daan Utsav at Manipal University 2014

— a true inview to the reality that could have any comfortable feet with a sole, to freeze right at the sight of it-an unfortunate one.

Photo: Anubhuti Jain
Photo: Anubhuti Jain

The serene hands with a pure mind came together, with the sunshine over the dew drops just perfectly right to reflect their thoughts, motives and will for the day. “MEAL FOR SMILE-Daan Utsav” kicked off with the vibrant energy as VSO volunteers united alongside the horizon that settled down for a peaceful morning on Gandhi Jayanti.

KMCians with the MITians dropped their lab coats... Photo Composite: Anubhuti Jain and Surabhi Yadav
KMCians with the MITians dropped their lab coats…
Photo Composite: Anubhuti Jain and Surabhi Yadav

The KMCians with the MITians dropped their lab coats, their hands didn’t delay a moment to possess the knives, and transpose into the master chef heroes of time. While the clouds of tension and utmost stress were building up, the combined aromas of the masalas, oils, vegetables triggered the taste buds of anyone standing miles away.

Photo Courtesy : Surabhi Yadav and Niraja
Photo Courtesy : Surabhi Yadav and Niraja

The wheels rolled over and the dust raised off the ground, our feet were soon on the other side of life-an untouched one. Through the waves of heat that could burn anything from a flower to the skin, the muscular and the gentle hands were fast enough to put in place the setup.

Photo: Anubhuti Jain
Photo: Anubhuti Jain

The reality of a new world which has the same sky spread over it while the barren earth runs under the small feet, a sight of an eye with the same dreams but into the shadows, could invoke a feeling of dismal , rage and the need to make a difference.

Photo Courtesy : Surabhi And Niraja
Photo Courtesy : Surabhi And Niraja

The clock had ticked a bit slower than ever, the many colors of the world had been well absorbed by the dust- it seemed. In a state, where literacy rate has always been an inspiration for the rest, it was a disappointment to have witnessed the utter reality which holds in itself the sorrows of many.

Photos: Aakash Jain and Niraja
Photos: Aakash Jain and Niraja

The little hands were far from reality to hold a pencil or toy in their burnt hands, in fact, were much burdened with water buckets on their skinny shoulders which were barely covered with the ripped clothes, which they probably inherited.

Photo: Anubhuti Jain
Photo: Anubhuti Jain

“We get water when they remember to discharge it” said an old fragile woman in her late sixty’s when asked if they are able to go off to bed without any traces of hunger. “We elect them, and they reject us” said another lady who was listening well to the conversation going on.

Photo: Anubhuti Jain
Photo: Anubhuti Jain
Meal For a Smile - VSO Manipal University 2014
Photo Courtesy: Anubhuti Jain

“I go to school and I like to study. I want to earn good” were the words of an 11 year old boy called Subramanian who still had the privilege to have his thoughts guided in the light of academics and perhaps reality. Some facial muscles flexed when we saw the girls being treated equally and given a chance to study. However, in a nation where a Chaiwala could rise to head the country, it’s of utmost concern, that most of them can’t even think of being it-water is unaffordable!

Photo Courtesy: Anubhuti Jain
Photo Courtesy: Anubhuti Jain

At the food distribution table the people gathered in flocks, included everyone from a six month infant adjusting himself in the arms of his sister under the hot scorching sun to the weak bones that had put in all their effort to walk uphill. The hungry hands holding the coupons, extended beyond their reaches to grab more than they could, the young faces, a perfect background for the smiles that could stretch beyond the bounds and the eyes filled with all the excitement about having a perfect meal for the first time or ‘maybe’ once again- was a distorted sight.

Photo: Niraja from SOAHS
Photo: Niraja from SOAHS
Photo: Anubhuti Jain, MIT Manipal
Photo: Anubhuti Jain, MIT Manipal

Article by: Aakash Jain and Nirja Kaplay
Photography by: Anubhuti Jain, Surabhi Yadav, Nirja Kaplay and Aakash Jain.

About the author:  Aakash Jain  is a student pursuing computer engineering from Manipal institute of Technolgy at Manipal. Passionate about writing and interaction. Keen interest in sports precisely table tennis, snooker and Swimming still floats to be at the top of all.