When I moved into my new neighborhood in Sec 46, Chandigarh, I was happyto sign the rental agreement, even though the rents were an eye soar. After arranging all the furniture andhousehold articles we were all so tired that we slept with the lights on. The next morning we knew we were cheated bythe land lord, this place was a mess. The lady next door would getup exercising her vocal chord with local badwords, over just a family dispute, the lady next to her would behaved as if thehouse she brought the road was gifted to her, she never let anyone pass thatway without a fight. The house next toher house was just burgled in broad daylight, the house next to the burgledhouse was mourning a death of someone who lived there for years and whom no oneknew.
In front of our house was a Govt. Model School where kids whowere supposed to be in class rooms were seen modeling in the grounds withboyfriends and girlfriends. Thevegetable vendors were afraid to enter the neighborhood as the people wouldshout at him for not coming to their house first. The kids in the neighborhood instead ofmaking teams for games like cricket and football were forming gangs andleaders. Their ability to plan, schemeand take action over the next fight was already decided. The age group of their gang would start fromthe age group of 3 onwards. Bashing,thrashing, breaking, screaming, shouting, bad language was the modus operandifor the gang busters.
I was too scared to venture out of the house and all thewomen living around me looked like Ekta Kapoor’s villainous women, would giveme those stone throwing looks, I was trapped in my own house. I just stayed indoors cried, mourned, fastedand prayed, and the Lord spoke to me, He said, “love your neighbor.” While Ithought my God must be crazy, my husband thought I was going crazy and my kidsthought their father was going crazy. Inthe whole melodrama of thoughts, words and action, my kids could sensesomething has going terribly wrong, and they had to fix it, while I put my handsup to pray for mercy, they decided to have a kids party.
I decided to invite the gang lords to my home, they allwalked in one by one, looking around for the trouble to start, and they scannedmy house upside down inside out. I stillhad a room to get done so I had converted it to a disc room for the kids. Soon we started the music, games, andgoodies. The gang lords, now became mybest friends, they invited me and my kids over to their dens, but I refusedsaying too much of fights are going on there. They promised me that there would not be any fights if I would come, andtrue to their word, there we no fights, no bad words, they offered me sweets,flowers and a special place to sit in.
We all had a deal, that we would get together, no gangs, nofights, no bad words, we are going to build our team and strengthen it withlove, our newly formed team needed a new name, and thus Angel Rangers wasformed, a group for the kids, of the kids and by the kids. Children from the age group of three onwards,Karan, Khushi, Rishi, Danish, Sheetal, Chota Varun, Bada Varun, Ginni, Komal,Shania, Kabir and others. We sat downone day in the park and composed our very own Angel Rangers Alma Mater. We have written out our own set of 10commandments that makes it mandatory for all the Angels to follow. Our gang soon became famous; parents wouldcome to see their kids becoming local performers as well as local guardians. While kids got their act of togetherness theparents followed the pursuit. Wecelebrated all festivals and when there were no festivals we created, theFestival Of Life, a mix bag of dance and drama time to bring all cultures to aharmonious note.
In my entire corporate history all our meeting never startedon time, but here the kids would complete their household chores, homework, andeven next weeks work and be there for the meeting much before the arrangementswere made. Soon, the stony looks in theneighborhood turned into warm smiles, exchange of sarsoon ka saag and makki diroti, missi roti, I stopped cooking as the varieties of home made food wouldcome from different neighbors. Theneighborhood crime chart was replaced by the love chart, it was time for us tomove out of this neighborhood, and while show goes on, I sit with my new neighborsand will never ever underestimate, the power of love.
In the photograph the children of the Angel Rangers harmonizing the community with their dancing skills. Left to right front row: Khushi, Sheetal and Shania along with the neighbors.