It was a great scene at the Prayas class inside the community on 16th March 2008. The early morning rush in the narrow pathway of the community apart, there were some bright faced parents who were eager to send their children along. A special mention was the look on Afsana's mother -Naimudin Shah, who had a glow on her face as if she was climbing a NASA Space Shuttle. A total of 32 children came along with us for the picnic. The kids were all dressed up and ready to go on a day of learning and fun. Gudia in a bright lovely yellow frock with red frills and a matching top, glowed with that beautiful smile of her. She surely was my favourite. But, every one of our children was rearing to enjoy this day and every one of them a special little star in our eyes.
We got ice-creams for all of them as the final treat for the picnic. This boosted energy levels of the volunteers and children to a new level. Everybody was now involved in singing and dancing as if there was no office or school tomorrow. It came to an end now after we parked out in front of the community and the children & volunteers emptied out. With a heavy heart I breathe a heavy sigh of relief and felt a joy that overcame the pain and tiring, inflicted throughout the day. A great day for Prayas came to an end and with great efforts from all the people involved to make this an invaluable day in the history of our prayas at Prayas. We have a wonderful team today with some great efforts being put in worth oodles of compliment and praise.
We had with us that day the ususal suspects / volunteers - Anand Bhai, Neha, Nikhil, Ruchi, Darshan, Vikas, Kanan, Sonia & me and also some volunteers from HCL - Sharukesh, Sanjay, Nikhil, and Pawan, courtesy Sonia's effort. Anand Bhai's sister Pooja & Darshan's friend Jagdish had also joined us and were a great help. We did miss two people thou - Anuradha & Raj, without whom there was surely a difference. Our kids have this habit of greeting all new and old volunteers with the same energy and interest that, make you feel you are special to them from the very moment you reach there. This feeling I believe, drives many of us to be present with them no matter what the circumstances are. I feel, the new volunteers also felt a similar emotion after spending time with the children of Prayas.It now started rising upon me as if we were taking on a journey like the Roadies. Every moment was a task, at which the success was, a bright smile on lovely faces our children. From the moment we entered the bus, we started singing songs and dancing with the children. If either of the children felt left out it would have been a loss, but our Dhira-Shoor-Volunteers would not loose hope that fast. Kanan & Selva started with Nikhil a.k.a Dhoni Sir, backing them up with songs and 'folk' music.Neha & Ruchi meanwhile worked on forming groups of children as teams of 5-6. Each team had a color to identify them - Blue, Green, Yellow, Red, Gold & Silver. The blue team with 'Dhoni Sir' were the most loud and proud of them all. They somehow stuck to their own groups beyond our expectations, hand in hand throughout the picnic. Our attempt at team-building did succeed to an extent. Good Going Ruchi & Neha!Our first stop was the Natural History Museum. At the gate stood, a T-rex - the most infamous & ferocious of all dinosaurs. The look on some of the children's face said it all. Zulekha has this i-have-seen-a-ghost look about her as she ran towards me, when Subi convinced her it was not real. Inside the museum, the children hung on with their group leaders and enjoyed the exhibits.
After a few photo sessions, the gliteratti (;P) moved on, to venture into more open grounds. We reached India Gate @ the Children's Park. Selva, Kanan, Ruchi, Neha & others played some games with the children, while I was having an adventurous time finding and then negotiating with the Food Delivery Guys.Finally, after all the play and hard work we all sat to have a well-deserved meal. And viola !! Dal Makhani & Shahi Paneer … After all, the Darshan's Dal-Makhani Democracy failed today, while suffering a distressing fate at it. We discussed and voted on mails and phone to finally decide, Dal Makhani was the choice of common taste with some Aloo Gobbi. yes, I personally along with Kanan, indicated to the people of Breakpoint Hotel that we will not be taking any Shahi Paneer. But lo & behold … Both Shahi Paneer & Dal Makhani ! वह कहते है न – "जले पे नमख चिदखना", वैसे लगा मुझे कुछ टाइम के लिए.Sajjad brought some finger-licking good गोबी-की-सब्जी and roti from home for us. Me and Ruchi dug into it to savor in the flavor of the food. Sonia took the lead with the food to distribute the thali's to the volunteers. प्यारी मोटी मौका देखकर बैट गई ;) … Neha was now trying her luck at getting some beginner pics of a few gypsy ladies around. She tried hard at it and was trying to get what she called, the right composition. But all she got was a few gypsy ladies who were on her tail to get mehndi written on her hand, in exchange for pictures taken. Until, our hero – Anand Bhai, like Dharam Paaji, at the top of his voice took charge to shoo the ladies away. Neha now, literally gasping for precious breath is not going to do much of photography for her own sake. By around 2.30 we wrapped up from there and set sails for the Rail Museum at Chanakyapuri. Darshan had joined us by now and set the feeblish spirits on fire, with some evergreen Dev-Anand class energy. He sings and sings and sings and then dances also, the children now can only clap, because this guy had more energy than the 32 Kids & 14 other volunteers combined.We now reached the destination at the Rail Museum.The Rail Museum was an exciting place with all the model trains and well described history of the Rail Network in India. Sharukesh and his group were the most interested of listening to the stories of trains and the history associated with it. Looking at him I felt this guy had some skill in handling kids. Anand Bhai also tried his luck at trying to get some of the children to listen to him, but I saw most of them running away with a बचाओ-भूत-आया look about them. The children after the Joy Train ride found the experience exciting and wanted a repeat ride. If it was not for the कम्बक्त time, we could have but then we had to leave.
I am proud to be part of Prayas !
Jai Hind !!