Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The Rusty gate

That is all I remember from this Diwali.

But no, I remember many more things. The first day on 8th nov thursday, we met at CRY office and left for Kutumba , about 8 kms out of Bangalore on hennur road at Dodda Gubbi. Although we planned to reach early and finish the celebrations early. It got delayed , we reached there by about 07:30. The Volunteers Rajarshee, Murtuza, Venugopal, shweta, Anil, Sonia and friend, Sabina, Deepak, Devendar and Family, and myself,

The kids were waiting for us, there were a lot of new faces this time, as the strength has increased there, so after a round of intro - we set on fireworks, lit the place with candels, and what next ? lot of fun, crackers, rockets, sweets, Bombs, flowerpots, sparklers, the children had major fun , also we ensured everyone gets involved in this festival .

Then it was time to have a small interaction session discussed things like their courses, etc

NOTE :- we need a volunteer to teach them basic Computer skills , may be once or twice a week visit would be enough, the PCs are going to be provided .

Then chocolates and one small goofup by our dearest volunteers, they couldn't locate the sweet box kept in the car, and we thought we lost the sweets , but none the less we gave them other sweets like gulab jaamoon toffees , etc, then we left, as it was late

But still that rusted gate Haunts me.......

The Second day 9th Nov Friday was at Vatsalya at5 Wilson Garden again most of the volunteers were the same with the addition of Akash, Dharin and Nancy, while some from the previous day had dropped out.

Vatsalya being our regular intervention also happens to become a very pet place for most volunteers . As I entered the tiny tots came running wishing diwali and it was as if meeting old friends after ages. And yes, they remembered the action songs I had taught them and asked me to do those again for them. So without wasting any more time we got into our activities, then some fun activities, and the fireworks started.

The kids were divided into three groups of small , very small and the very very small kids ( Vatsalya has girls between age 5 and 15 years, and there is a fair mix of Children of all ages.
The very very small ones were given only the light ones like the sparklers, bhoomichakras, flowerpots, etc, the very small ones were given the little bigger ones like a mix of sparklers , Small bombs, flowerpots, some fancy fireworks etc the small ones, mostly high school kiddos, were seen with the big B's the Big Bombs, double sounds, and lakshmi bombs and the likes
and yes all under the supervision of the volunteers.the grand finale was our guided rockets which went in every direction but straight , and some special bombs,

Then we distributed the sweets including the sweets that was lost and found. Mmmmmm My mouth waters even at the thought of those exotic burfees, thank goodness we found them..... I got to eat too.

The rusted gate........

The third and Final day Of Diwali saturday 10th Nov we went to shishu Mandir.

This is where lot of thoughts and emotions were evoked again. Reached there at around 6pm saw two rows of girls seated on the road and our volunteers bursting crackers lighting flowerpots, etc... it was a common diwali planned for children in two homes situated adjacent each other a girls home for girls above 5 years and the infants home, for children below 5 years, mostly children lost and found, who went missing, abandoned, are the ones who stay in these homes, even children undergoing juvinile justice stay here.

As I reached the fire works were on. The older girls were seated on one side of the road watching the fireworks, I was wondering what happened to the tiny tots, then I walked a few steps towards the shishu mandir, Where the tiny kids stay, they were all seated on a small pathway that leads to the home and that gate seperated me and the children , the gate was kept locked , a meshed old gate , the children had to sit inside the gate and just watch the Celebrations and fireworks demo being done by us, To me personally it was a very sad scene as these kids looked like any other children, ( imagine some child you know of less then 5 years of age and you standing in front of a closed gate and inside which there is this child who cannot ask for some thing it needs.

I hope the gate breaks some time ....

But to the volunteers even getting permission to allow them see the fireworks was a major effort, so we thought this was much better then them not having anything at all, we gave the bigger kids sparklers and assisted them to light them up.

Immediately after this they were asked to get into their respective homes and we packed up.

Could some one define 'childhood' ? what are the minimum requirements to be called 'experiencing childhood'. What it means to miss the light of Diwali, id or christmas. Does it make any diffeence if they are aware of the MAC D, the internet, , Pogo, etc etc that the other children cant live without, how about Forum, PVR Even small outings, what difference does all this make. And Finally what difference does it make to stay away from Family...... ...

The Rusty Gate.....

By Sunand