Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Bannerghatta School Picnic

My blogging cycle seems to be following some kind of a distribution (Chakku, could you please specify which? ;-)), and here I am once again after a brief hiatus.

Anyway, the past couple of weeks has been fun. A lot of fun. And today’s post would be dedicated to the best school picnic I’ve ever been to. Nope, this is not a nostalgia post.

The volunteers of the Dream School Foundation organized a trip for the kids of the Thiruvalluvar Government School, Malleswaram. There were 65 kids in total, from classes 3rd to 7th, and they were taken to the Bannerghatta National Park. Accompanying them were 5 teachers and the headmaster, and 11 volunteers. And me being one of them (the volunteers, that is) gave me the chance to enjoy a picnic like this after a long time.

Before I begin the narration on the picnic, these are what this particular set of DSF volunteers does:
  • conduct vocabulary sessions for the 3rd & 4th standard kids
  • helping them to get acquainted with a slightly advanced level of English before they formally face it as part of their curriculum
  • get them acquainted with words used in day-to-day life, and hence hopefully aid in sentence formation
(Oh, and then there is me, who, as all the other volunteers insinuate, cause the distractions in the class, and prevent the kids from being serious.)

The 11 of us who had volunteered (headed by Megha) were:
Achuth, Akshai, Ameya, Anu, Dhimant, Indrashis, Megha, Pavithra, Pooja, Vikram and me.

As a result of the many “not being serious” exercises with the kids, I came to know their musical tastes quite well, and took the job of the DJ, dishing out one gaana paattu after the other. :)
[Though most of the volunteers braved the music, there was one who decided to opt out of the musical extravaganza-filled bus during the return journey…and paid a good price in the other bus. :P]

The bus ride to the zoo was an eye-opener for me. Just the initial tinkling sound was enough for the kids to guess that the song being played was Appadi Podu, and up they went in unison! And what followed after that was pure mayhem…of the good kind.
Knowing the initial lines of all songs is great.
Knowing all the lines of all the songs is exemplary.
Knowing all the lines, and all background music of all the songs? No words to describe that!

The official requester of songs from the kids was Suresh (on whom I could write an entire post…one heck of a kid!), who forwarded his requests to “Pepsi Uma” Akshai, and I did the needful.

The bad conditions of the road led to a few…err…unpleasant incidents in the other bus. While the kids in our bus were quite oblivious to the road conditions, and enveloped by the incessant music being churned out. (thank to me! thanks to me! :)))

After reaching the park came the toughest part of our job - trying to hold all the kids together and prevent them from scampering away. And surprisingly the kids behaved quite well. Perhaps not so surprisingly actually. They were staring with rapt attention at all the animals and the birds. And in the few places where the creatures weren’t clearly visible (the goddamn snakes (!!!!), for example), one of us did a recon and managed to spot it for them.
[At this point, we were faced with a sudden crisis situation. Something that we hadnt’t prepared for; a few of our volunteers decided to turn into kids themselves, and encumber us even more. Inder did the job of goading this cattle…I mean these Kids (Pavithra & Anu)…both of whom, as Achuth said, sat down in most places to memorise the biological names of all the animals. :-)]

After a tiring tour of the zoo, the kids (and the Kids) all ended up relaxing at the playing area, while the guys went out to carry the food from the buses. Vikram, who had taken care of the food arrangements, also proved to be a master-thief by entering a locked bus through the window, and letting us all in. And then began the arduous task of carrying the huge barrels through uncertain terrain. All that hard work and effort prompted the highly chauvinistic “Women…now go serve the food!” from me, and won the approval of all the guys. ;-) (Before all the women’s lib (creatures ;-)) start baying for my blood, I would like to make it noted that the guys also helped in the serving.)

While the volunteers themselves had their food, it provided a lot of comic moments…like Dhimant’s photo-op joke, and Vikram’s bombshell on Ameya with his “Leos do not like Cancerians”. All that I could say is, “Dude…how can you say such a thing!!” :)))

And then we were on our way back; the other bus with the same “unpleasant incidents”, and Dhimant, again, showing everyone his workplace and the bus went “oooooohhhhhhhhhhh”, and that helped things a bit.
And our bus; with the same song and dance, with an unintended joke by Megha on a Rajni song, and the lecture on Tamil movies to both Vikram and her. :)

We rounded off the day with a hot cup of filter coffee at CTR, and the tired souls trudged back to their respective homes.

Amidst all the fatigue, the feeling of fun never died down.

It was a great day for the DSF and its kids.



At 11:33 PM, Blogger Srini at the Movies said...

Really like the work you are doing. Can you involve me next time around?

At 3:39 AM, Blogger Punk Floyd said...

You forgot to mention Mary's excessive interest in animals...-:)


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