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Love at Bal Ashram

Ramkripal carried aloft  © Jatin Makkar

Ramkripal carried aloft  © Jatin Makkar

Kalpesh and friends © Sophia McCarron

Kalpesh and friends © Sophia McCarron

Love is a living force at Bal Ashram. Today, coming to breakfast we round a corner to a ruckus. It is the boys carrying their Director, Kalpesh aloft, pulling off his shoes, little boys, bigger boys, grappling to keep his body of their fearless leader from hitting the ground. Then they grab their teachers, Ramripal and Rocky . . . all loving, all reckless, all boy.

 

Sumedha at yoga class © Jatin Makkar

Sumedha at yoga class © Jatin Makkar

Sumedha Kalash, arrives from across the road and the boys suddenly run to greet her, to walk together, chanting. She is their hands-on mama. She leads them, stays with them, hand-corrects their yoga, is tireless. And after breakfast conducts the hawan ceremony . . . today a celebration of the one-year wedding anniversary of a couple who were both rescued at Bal Ashram.

Sita, Bhadram and Baby Shivam  © Sophia McCarron

Sita, Bhadram and Baby Shivam  © Sophia McCarron

 

As a child, the groom was deemed a “worthless” worker and was thrown off a truck in the middle of nowhere.

The bride was sent away from her village with a family “friend” to earn money, was sold  to traffickers, was rescued from a nightmare life, rehabilitated and returned to her family . . . but they sold her again for $500.

However Bal Ashram was watching, intervened and rescued her again, and the two fell in love. They wanted to marry but had no family. So . . . the children of Bal ashram were divided in half – half for the bride’s side and half for the groom’s. With Kailash presiding and 300 guests invited, Kailash gave the bride away and Sumedha the groom.

 

What a story. And now, a year later, the groom works at Bal Ashram and their baby boy, Shivam has arrived and all are surrounded by their loving family.