Wednesday, October 15, 2008


On 2nd of July 2008, we [group 1] were scheduled to visit Vidya Nivas at Kotturpuram. Ms.Mercy ma’am gave us a detailed, accurate map to that place. As none of us were familiar with the area, it was very helpful to us.
The clock struck one; the college bell rang [feebly] and the Adventure began!!!

Sahithya and I were hungry and so decided to eat on the way to that place as we were instructed not to eat anything there. Lithiya misunderstood this and thus misguided Diana and Inbam to the college canteen, while Mira, Sahithya and I hurried to catch the bus. We three got into the bus and realized that the other 3 were missing. Thus my cell phone came handy. I called Diana [who was in college canteen with the other two] and informed her that we got into 45B specials just outside college. They hurried and luckily got into the bus in the nick of time.

Sahithya asked us to buy a ticket to Defense quarters. I opened my bag and alas! My purse was missing! I had forgotten to carry my purse. Sahithya got a ticket for me. Thanks to her timely help. Then the bus started moving. I called my mom and informed her about my program. Then I had lunch, which I had brought from home, in the bus. I enquired the conductor about which bus would take us to Kotturpuram from Defense Quarters. He said 41 would do so.

Then we got down at Defense Quarters. Lithiya opened her beautiful pink umbrella and was happily enjoying its shade while the rest of us were burning under the hot sun. We couldn’t get any 41 bus immediately. So we decided to take an auto. In the left turning, near the Nandhanam signal all 6 of us got into an auto. The auto fare was Rs 60, [=> Rs 10 each]. We cross checked the auto’s route with Mercy madam’s map. We were going in the right direction! The auto man’s name was Rajan {/Є Saidapet autostand}. He was interacting with us in a friendly manner. We were discussing about share autos. As we crossed the bridge, we saw the cross [of the church] and rejoiced. From there we directed the auto man to the place with the help of Mercy madam’s map. Thanks to ma’am once again.

We finally reached the place. It is just beside St.Antony Church. It is a modest enclosure, just as big as a couple of stalls [which one can see in a vegetable market] put together. The roof is made of Asbestos sheet [wonder how the children study there in this hot weather].
As we entered we saw a number of smiling faces welcoming us. The children were excited to see us. Of course, we were excited too! There were enough desks and chairs for the students and there were black boards. The children were wearing uniforms.

Ms. Revathy, who is a teaching staff in that school, welcomed us. She then made each of us handle a group of children. Mira and I were handling two sweet kids, Lokesh and Vignesh who belonged to III std. We were conversing in Tamil, so that they feel comfortable and understand. Usually, kids don’t freely interact with new people they meet. But these kids freely conversed with us. Its may be because they are used to new comers visiting them frequently.

We learnt a lot from the kids. They told us a lot of things that were happening in and around the school. The one which sadden me was the mention of physical abuse [in the form of beating children using sticks] going on in the school. They exclaimed how they were terrified by a teacher who does so. Lokesh was sharing his experience of confronting Ghosts [whom he called MUNI]. Vignesh, who had heard about this before, was not ready to listen to him once again owing to his fear for ghosts. So he ran away while Lokesh was narrating his experience. Then Mira and I tried to convince them that such things don’t exist. But they disagreed. It will take sometime and effort to change this belief.

First we started with numbers. They said they knew numbers up to 100. Mira asked them to write selected numbers between 1 and 100. They did a pretty good job. Then we moved on to English alphabets. They knew the alphabets very well, couldn’t give examples for all. Anyway with our hints they were able to do so. We then came to know that they cannot read English words.

After that we started first lesson in science: Plants and Animals. When we asked them what plants and animals were, they were able to give us equivalent synonyms and examples in Tamil. I was glad that they understood the English words. But later when I asked them what was sedi and mirugam in English they were unable to answer, We then explained the difference between the living and non living things Suddenly a child came running and took the book from which we were teaching. He claimed that it was his, and it was a V std textbook. OOPS! We had been teaching the III std kids, V std science. The kids laughed! We giggled and opened the III std book and continued.

Lokesh and Vignesh started fighting. We had no other choice but to teach them separately. I taught Lokesh. He said he loves Maths and thus wanted me to teach him Maths. I was happy to hear that. But when I wanted to start Maths I realized that the very first lesson required the knowledge of three digit numbers. Ms. Revathy ma’am advised me to teach something else. I suggested English. He instantly disagreed. He said It’s very difficult to understand English. He then turned the pages to science and wanted me to teach him the lesson 1: Living Things. Ms. Revathy ma’am said that the lesson was already been taught earlier. But he protested saying that he never understood anything. Then I taught him the next lesson which highlighted the difference between and Humans and Animals. He was excited to know the differences. When I asked how we walk and how the animals walk, he gave a live demonstration to me. I was happy that he was involved in the subject. Then we were discussing about the language of humans and animals. He made sounds of different animals and got even more excited. We also discussed about human’s ability to think and reason which the animals cant. Finally we finished the lesson by identifying the different animals whose colorful pictures were displayed in the lesson.

Then we agreed to study English. I motivated him by saying that it was a story [as I knew he loved listening to stories]. It took me a long time to make him understand the meaning of “Three Fishes”, which was the title of the lesson. He knew what Fishes were but he was confused between “Tree” and “Three”. Then he was being distracted as it was a single room in which all lessons for all students of different classes were taught simultaneously. He was interested in what his friend Vignesh was learning and wanted to learn the same from me. So we went to another lesson where we were asked to form words from a snake whose body contained a number of letters. I found the words for him and made him understand the meaning of each word.

It was 2:30p.m., time for us to start. We bid them Good –bye. Vignesh wanted to know my name. He wrote it down in his note book and said that he would pray for me in the evening at the church. I was moved by his kind-loving gesture. Seeing this Lokesh wrote down my name too. Then I asked him to write his name. He wrote it in English and told that he did not know how to write his name in his mother tongue – Tamil. It was quite surprising!

Then, I don’t know who started it, all children moved around the class to get the autograph of the 6 of us. It was quite funny! Then we gave them the clichéd advice, “Study well, Behave well, Earn a good name!” Lokesh and Vignesh came forward to shake hands with me and bid me good-bye.

So we started walking back to the main road. We were very hungry. It was very thoughtful of Inbam to carry a biscuit packet along with her. She shared with us. It surely gave us some energy. We spotted a bus stop nearby and enquired about the bus which would take us to our desired destinations. Sahithya and Diana had to cross the road to get their bus. Inbam, Mira, Lithiya and I got into 21G. This time Mira got me a ticket to Mylapore Tank. Lithiya bought a ticket to Parry’s. Mira got down at RA Puram. Inbam and I got down at Mylapore tank and bid good-bye to Lithiya. Then Inbam got into 29C and proceeded to Perambur. I crossed the road and continued walking back home.

I called my mom and informed her that I was at Mylapore tank. Then I called Sahithya to enquire her position. She said that Diana and she had got into a bus at Kotturpuram soon after we left and she had got down at Gandhi Mandapam while continued her travel in the same bus. Sahithya was waiting for a bus to T Nagar. While we were talking her bus arrived and so we discontinued our conversation. After reaching home, I called Mira and learned that she had reached home half an hour before I did. Then I got a message from Immaculate asking about Inbam. Inbam hadn’t informed her mother about the program. So her worried mother had called Immaculate to know about Inbam. I replied to the message and then had a big mug full of pomegranate juice. Then I called Sahithya. By that time she had reached her place.

On the whole, it was an exciting, wonderful and a different experience. I am eagerly looking forward for my next trip.

1 comment:

Sahithya said...

thanks ma. But I don't remember what I did on that day. What do I write?