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No, Vasundhara is not my real name. I am breaking it in for a friend!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Support @ SUPPORT

Office apart, I took to volunteering in a big way. I would offer to help other teams at official events, and also for varied social causes. I even enrolled myself to teach at a Non Government Organization (NGO) for kids and young boys. These were cheerful kids, aged 6-15, who were at one point, addicted to drugs or were victims of child abuse. Pained with their suffering, I thought it a noble deed to be able to utilize my education to this great purpose. I would go there on Saturdays for two hours and teach English to them. They were all a happy and enthusiastic lot.
They would call me “teacher” , “sister”, or even “miss” at times. It was a complete pleasure to be able to teach them. I felt privileged to be amidst them. They were such wonderful people.
We celebrated all festivals and big days with them. They would draw cards for us on all occasions, be it New Year or Teacher’s day. I specially remember the Republic Day celebrations at SUPPORT.

Joy is not in things, it is in us! The Republic Day Celebrations at this noble initiative resounded this belief. The children, eyes brimming with hope and happiness, were all set for the day. We could feel their zeal the moment we stepped into the hall. The ceremony commenced with the unfurling of our Tricolour...complete with a salute to the flag, followed by the National Anthem. Inspirational group songs and speeches by the children were praised by all present. The way the ceremony was conducted was commendable.
Eager hands deftly filled in colours in the Tricolour during “Flag Making”. We had organized games for them. “Passing the Parcel”, “Antakshari”, “Chinese Whispers”, “Fire on the Mountain”, and “Talent Show”...all saw enthusiastic faces that lit up with beautiful smiles. Prizes were awarded to the winners of each activity.

Their mischievous moods took the better of them and they danced...to the sound of music...and the rhythm of their hearts! It was sheer joy for us to be a part of the celebrations. That day I realised, it is not we, who lend them a helping hand, but they, who make a difference to our otherwise dreary lives.
Along with English, we also taught these sweet children many more things like, Vedic Mathematics which involved active participation from the kids as they were eager to know the shortcuts to solve tough problems. There were also computer assignments like making tables and drawings which enhanced enthusiasm in the kids.

I still remember the “mask-painting” competition and the “dramatics” event I had organized for them.
They surrounded me, eager little eyes and faces. Ready to paint and show their creativity. They painted lovely and brilliant colored masks. They jumped to show me what and how much had they done. They would scream enthusiastically and peep into their neighbour’s drawing book.
The dramatics event was welcomed with great fan fare. They rehearsed their parts rather well. Not one of them forgot their dialogues. They rendered the script and play more humourous than any playwright could have done, by their sheer simplicity and sense of humour.

During the prize distribution ceremony, when each one stood up on the stage to receive their prize, they waved to me, and smiled till the time they came off the stage. Each one would turn back and look at me and smile while they stepped onto the stage. Oh! It meant everything to me. I felt blessed.
It was their faces and voices that stoked me to get out of the privileged comforts of my home and get on the train to "Santacruz" every Saturday.

I remember the sad look on their faces the day I told them I was leaving. I still have those beautiful cards and painted masks with me. The quiz competition that they asked me to conduct on my last day there was a memorable one. Some asked me to give them pencils, while some others, the notebooks I had as a keepsake! They were such emotional and sweet people. GOD, please give them all that they want off life. Bless them and protect them from this big, bad world. They too are Your children.

1 comment:

Brainblaze said...

I'll tell you a story....

There was an old man who lived on a hillock and would go down to the river every day to fetch water. Every day, he would go down the hillock carrying a stick on his shoulders with two earthen pots hanging from either side of the stick. While one of his earthen pots was nice and new; the other one had a crack...and since he had only two pots, he would have to make multiple trips up and down the hillock for his water. The fact that one of his pots had a crack only increased the number of his trips up and down the hillock coz by the time he would reach up the hillock, more than half of the water would seep out of the pot with the crack.

He was an old man. His multiple trips up and down the hillock made him tired and worn out. The pot with the crack felt bad for the old man and felt guilty for only increasing the old man's troubles. So one day, the pot with the crack said to the old man, "Oh Master, you are old and weak, and the multiple trips you make up and down the hillock tire you out. Further I add to your voes by not being able to help you at all for I am but a useless, cracked pot, good for nothing...yet you do not choose to discard me and throw me away. I plead before you oh Master, do not embarrass me more. I am grateful to you for all that you have done for me and I am ashamed that even for all that you have done for me, I have been of no use to you. Why are you so generous Master? You have not only chosen to keep me with you but also take me with you up and down that hillock every day to fetch water even when you are aware that I am no good...Why do you do this oh Master?"

To this the old man replied, "I know that you are cracked and broken. I am aware that every time i climb up the hillock, more than half the water I fill in you is lost on the way. However, it is not true that you are useless and no good."

The pot with the crack looked puzzled but the old man continued. He said, "Can you see this flowerbed which runs through the entire length of the hillock...this flowerbed here full of the season's most breathtaking blooms?" The pot with the crack replied, "Yes Master...these flowers are indeed the most beautiful vision that this entire landscape has to offer and they are a result of the hard work that you have put in oh Master in planting those seeds." To this the old man replied, "Yes indeed I worked hard on planting those seeds there...but those breathtaking blooms are not the result of my hard work. Some time back I planted those seeds there but made sure to plant them on that side of the hillock which you would hang from every time I went uphill.And every time I went uphill, it was you who watered those seeds and the fruit that those seeds have borne is all your doing. So those breathtaking blooms my friend are there because you were there. It is you who is responsible for them." With this, the old man smiled at the cracked pot and left the room to go about his other daily chores.

If you respect these kids for who they are...if you respect them as living, thinking individuals and acknowledge and appreciate the knowledge base that they possess and encourage true participation, you'll be even more amazed than what you are now!! They're ultimate rockstars!!