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Play for Peace Mumbai celebrates new beginnings during World Interfaith Harmony Week

Photo Credit: Landscape Photographer Sanyukta Kulkarni

During World Interfaith Harmony Week, the Play for Peace Mumbai club found peace in honoring Mother Earth and their ancestors. The session began with a group of women walking in the garden. The exercise was simple with the women merely sitting on the Earth and touching their bare feet to the ground. Feeling a warmth and a connection to Mother Earth, the women felt relaxed. The garden is not a foreign place as it is the place they work every day, but together they achieve a connection to the Earth and let themselves sink into deep meditation. Younger participants were very curious, asking questions about what the women were thinking and discussing. One enthusiastic participant began hugging the trees! Gratitude for Mother Earth was felt throughout each individual, and peace for all humans was a wish amongst the group. To the members of Play for Peace Mumbai, celebrating Mother Earth also honors their ancestors. This thought believes in the unseen links that bond all people on our beautiful Mother Earth. So while feeling gratitude towards Mother Earth, the women offered a prayer of gratitude also to those spirits that have lived before them and celebrated all those that live today.

Play for Peace Mumbai also experienced a moment of new beginnings when our trainer, Archana, connected with a member, Puja*, on her day of departure. Puja was found on the street eight years ago. She is afflicted with claw hand, and when she was found, the police dropped her off at a destitute women’s home. However, none of this stopped Puja from sharing her inspirational smile. She completed all sorts of work from cleaning, and gardening, to catching pets as PFP Mumbai has many rabbits and hens. Apart from working, Puja loves to draw, dance, and play completing all that she does with joy.

When Archana was coming back from work one night, Puja beckoned her over. She informed Archana that her parents had found her after eight years and had come to take her home. Employing her cooperative listening skills, Archana asked Puja how she felt, noticing her face full of mixed emotions. Puja was happy but knew she would miss everyone. The most wonderful memories were with the people she had spent the last eight years with. She had learned so much from everybody, met new people, made great friends, celebrated the Ganesh festival, and played the PFP Games. PFP had been so much fun and felt like home. However, she was happy. Her real family had come to take her home even though she was incredulous as to how they found her. She did not even recognize them when she saw them! Before she left, everyone gathered in the garden. She went up to Archana dressed in the Diwali dress that Archana had given her and said, “I'm wearing it now because I want to go with happy memories.”   *Name has been changed.