Thursday, June 14, 2007

Games Children Play - II

Day 2! "Uncle, where were you yesterday? We were waiting for you at the temple," said Ankush. I had to give a sheepish grin and come up with a silly excuse for not keeping my appointment the previous day. I swore to myself never to miss an appointment with these fellas, and even if I had to, I'll go and inform them of my inability to conduct that day's session.

It was night time and our usual place, the pavement, was unlit and dark. So we sat outside the temple itself. "The temple authorities will chase us away," the kids cried out, obviously used to being chased away by the many security guards -there are lots of them, temple watchmen, Society watchmen, Asha Nagar watchmen etc - "Let us see who chases us away," challenged I, quite blindly so.

And no! No one disturbed us. Thus we sat on the nice and shiny marble slab outside Sai Mandir, in full view of God, and started our session for the evening. And much to Gaja's surprise, I pulled out a pair of note books and pencils, and an eraser and a sharpener. "Today we begin with a 15 minute study session, after which we play." Gaja looked hither and thither, so wishing he could run away. And so they began their (probably)first ever tryst with the English alphabet! Gaja could not even hold a pencil in hand. While Ankush was more eager to learn, Gaja was quicker to grasp. His only problem was lack of confidence; he does not believe that he is meant to study or learn anything and hence avoids even looking at me when I ask him to recite something in English. But as and when we came to the point when I told him that only when he recited the A thru the E, will we restart play again, somehow he came up with the answers.

And so study we did, alternating with play and study sessions. At the end of the session we had Akash and Sharath also joining us, one who works in a Chinese hotel and the other who works in marriage parties. Their only reason for not going to school was lack of money at home. They happily agreed to attend the next day's morning session at the Mandir.

Luckily, while leaving, Akash's father met me and we discussed the possibilities of enrolling him in a school. The father had not put him in a school as he did not have a birth certificate. I was appalled at how trivial a reason that was, but within the week, I will take all efforts to enroll him in a municipal school nearby.

Already one friend of mine has agreed to join me during the weekends in these efforts. Will you too?


jas said...

I too will like to join in for weekend email id is waiting for ur response.

Natarajan said...

Really happy to see the way classes are shapping up. All the very best! Best way to leave your mark before you leave Mumbai for good.