I’d come to visit the reforestation community I had volunteered at for much of last two years.
Incidentally, since it was also the place where I had started my bicycle trip, I felt the need to visit again to get a sense of closure to this incredible journey I’d been on.

One of the special aspects about this community is the concept of Unschooling or ‘Nature led learning’.

The kids as well as adults seek to learn and grow by interacting with the environment around them, guided by the compass of their curiosity.

While I was volunteering here, the most profound lessons I learned came from the kids in the community.
It was always such a joy to gain perspective from children who were just being, learning, growing and evolving as a function of their environment.

So yesterday, when I sat down to have breakfast in the morning with all our community members, I got a wonderful surprise snuggled up in another volunteer’s lap.
It was one my little teachers, Rahaphaello. A five year old bundle of joy we all kindly called Rafi.

I was happy to know that he had stayed through my eight month absence in the community.

At first, he gingerly observed me from a distance, as if trying to place me in his mind. It had been a while since I was away after all.

Slowly he walked towards me to get a closer look. With each onward step, his memory jogged him to fond memories and soon enough he came close and held me in an affectionate embrace.

He had grown taller and heavier in these eight months. His eyes shone as brightly as I have always know.

His eyes were gazing deeply into mine, as if casting a spell that needed cooperation from both of us.

‘You know what I see in your eyes?’ he asked.

‘You tell me Rafi, what do you see in my eyes?’

‘In your eyes….
It’s …it’s…round ..like the earth,
I can see the whole world in your eyes!’

Still in my arms, with a gaze transfixed,
And with all the love that could ever be found, he looked at the world he saw in my eyes.

‘You know what I see in your eyes Rafi?’


‘It is a big star, very very big….
And it’s shining bright…
Maybe it’s many stars..
Could it be a galaxy of stars?
Or could it be the whole universe?’

‘The whole universe?’

‘Yes, yes , the whole universe, right when it all began, with a beautiful big bang.’

‘Oh really? I want to see my eyes then ! ‘ he said excitedly and ran towards a mirror.

And like many of the lessons he taught me without knowing, it ended at the threshold of his attention span.
It was a habit of his,
Of leaving you in deep thought as he jumped away to another context he fancied in his surroundings in that moment.


Nihilistic thoughts often flirt in our mind.
‘What is the point of it all ?’ one often wonders.
‘We are just a speck of startdust in the grand scheme of things and nothing really matters.’

But it takes the wisdom of a child to make one realise that even in the speck of an eye, in the speck of an insignificant being one is,
Dwells the blueprint of the whole universe,
Of creation itself.

Even in such a momentary happenstance of our existence in the grand sceme of the cosmos,
There are the answers, to all the mysetry, all the magic there is.

How easily did Rafi teach us all,
That the secret to an ever fansinated consciousness, like that of a child’s, is accessible to us all if we choose to find magic in what we relegate as mundane !

That maybe the meaning of life,
After all,
Is to realize that the universe is undeniably,
within you.