One day my baby sister sent me a link to Nimesh's song, Grateful: A Love Song to The World, and I fell in love. I had to listen to it everyday to keep me in perspective. I knew if it had that kind of effect on me, I wanted everyone to know about it and I wanted to know more about Nimesh. After a few months, I reached out to him to ask if he would be open to sharing his story. With no hesitation, he did. It is my honor to share his story in his own words:
My proudest moment happened less than 2 years ago. I had quit all I was doing in my career: music, business, and all my personal aspirations – to serve in the underprivileged slum communities in Ahmedabad at the Gandhi Ashram. I wanted to work with children using performing arts as a tool for transformation (for them as well as myself). So I embarked on this journey to find 16 children from various local slum communities through the loving support of Manav Sadhna, a beautiful NGO. It took me over a year to select 8 boys and 8 girls within the age range of 9-11 years old. Once the journey began, we became a family. Through the ups and downs, thick and thin, we walked together. Everyday for 5 hours we would gather in the evening to learn, practice, pray, meditate, dance, create, inspire, share, and just be. Instead of focusing on the dance and drama, which should have been the main focus, we focused on the little things. Everyday we would sit in a circle, where we would pray, share, meditate and get to know each other. This eventually became the heart of our relationship – this sacred circle. Before and after dance and drama practice, we would always sit in our sacred circle. I know in the beginning the children found it a little awkward. “Why do we have to sit together for so long, couldn’t we just practice and dance?” they would ask. But as we continued on little by little they began to understand the importance of the circle.
Few years later, our show was ready. The show was titled “Ekatva” (“Oneness”). We were ready to share our 90-minute dance drama musical with others. So we began the journey in Ahmedabad, our hometown, and then got invited to perform in Mumbai. The energy and inspiration was high. So high that we got requests from many to share this show across the world. That was a far-fetched dream, but we left the idea open to the universe, to allow for it to happen. Six months later, with God’s will, and hundreds of synchronicities, that thought me the power of pure intention, we received 23 visas for all the kids and staff for both the United States and United Kingdom, and overwhelming support from all around the world to enable our 2-month tour across the world.
My proudest moment brings me back to May 30th, 2012 when we were at my house in Los Angeles, while on tour. By that point we had already traveled and performed in Chicago, Indiana, Washington DC, Philadelphia, New Jersey, New York, San Francisco and Berkeley. We had seen a lot at the point, much more than the average American will ever see in their own country, and the schedules were quite intense. Wake up at 6am go to sleep at 12am. Full days packed in the middle and performances in front of thousands of people in big auditoriums. Sight seeing trips from the White House to World Trade Center, Empire State Building to Golden Gate Bridge, zoo’s, parks, service activities, restaurants, non-profits, schools and homes of friends and family. The one thing that was common to each day on our tour, was prayer. We prayed every morning and every evening. Every home we visited we did prayer there as well. And many times the hosts were in tears; because they had these little angel ambassadors sharing so much love and joy in their home.
That night on May 30th, 2012 was no different. It was prayer time at our home at 9pm. Almost 40 guests and friends were gathered downstairs in a circle ready for prayer, when the question was asked, “where are the kids?” They were nowhere to be found. It was strange, never once on the entire tour, was there a time when all 16 were missing at once. This seemed quite weird, so I was very curious to investigate. I quickly ran upstairs checking in every room. Finally reached the guest room and opened the door and wallah! The lights were on bright and 16 children, 8 boys and 8 girls were sitting in a circle together. It felt like some sort of God’s miracle. I thought they only sat in circles when they were sitting with adults. I started smiling widely almost to the point of laughter and asked, “What are you guys up to? It’s prayer time we need you all downstairs”. Some of them had a smile on their faces, the rest were serious, and they told me “Nimesh Sir, we are resolving a problem that we are having. We will need five minutes more. And then we will come downstairs”.
Did I hear them correctly or was this an out of the world experience I was having. 16 kids, 8 boys and 8 girls, in a very foreign environment, having had 1 full month of sensory and emotional overload, have the groundedness to deal with their issues in this type of manner. I asked, “Can I help? Could you let me know what the problem is?” They said, “No, we will handle it on our own as you always told us we should. Please just give us 5 more minutes and we will be down”. With big smiles and a lot of curiosity I agreed and closed the door behind me. The prayer started 10 minutes later after they arrived.
That was it, one of the most inspiring moments on this EKATVA journey. I look back and think how was something like that possible. And the answer comes back to the importance that we put on our journey and not on the end result. The importance is what we put on the small things, not on what the outside sees. Our time at MS has been full of circles of payers, sharing, silence, and noble friends. I felt so blessed to see those seeds bear fruit at that moment, in the way that it did, along our journey.
Mother Theresa says wisely “We can do no great things, just small things with great love”.