Happy, Despite Lost Shoes: Volunteer Ahmadabad Engages with the Old City
My shoes were stolen at about 8am on a Sunday morning. Normally I would have been upset, even a bit angry, but this morning I found it laughable and liberating – a perfect opportunity to walk in someone else’s shoes. As part of heritage week, in late November 2009, Volunteer Ahmedabad organized a Prabhat Pheri.
Prabhat Pheri (literally translated to morning walk) is a tradition of walking through a city in the early hours of the morning singing spiritual songs. On this November morning we met at a temple in Ahmedbabad’s old city. At 5am we came together for a moment of silence and lit candles to begin our walk through the city. With a group over 30 strong we moved through the side streets to the peaceful sounds of Rutles Ehipassico or ‘Rootless’ a local Sufi band.
As one of the participants Abhishek Kher noted, “This was an opportunity for us to deeply connect and immerse in our own city.” The walk ended with time for reflection followed by chai and a brief trip to a nearby Mosque, Shah Jammu Masjid. We took time to meditate together as a group within the mosque and as the sun began to shine, I felt a sense of content with the day that had just barely begun.
As we walked out I noticed my shoes were gone. Assisted by others, we searched the grounds, but my shoes were nowhere to be seen. I laughed, found two mis-matched shoes in the corner and continued on my way. For me, Prabhat Pheri was a beautiful reminder that walking in another person’s shoes, through another person’s roads in the city, is important to gain a more holistic understanding of where each person comes from. (To see photos, click here)
Lakshmi Eassey, Indicorps Staff 2009-2010