Saturday, June 27, 2009
The First Run Through
June 27th, 2009- Saturday
Sleeping in the car on the way to Wadala is ALWAYS a bad idea. I was SO exhausted when I reached that I could barely open my eyes. Infact, I was really tempted to take the car in instead of walking all the way..Zohar and Sriya pushed me to get out-they said the walk would wake me up..I guess it worked along with the 5 cups of amazing cutting chai that I downed once I reached the class room.
Following up with Gangadhar’s request, the three of us joined in at Parivartan’s bi-weekly meeting. This time however, they decided to keep the location the class room where we worked. I thought it was an amazing idea for them all to get a feel for the children in class. Our agenda was to just observe since we did a lot of talking last time..that’s when there were more of ‘us’ than ‘them’ at the first meeting. This time we had Devi, Sukania (assumed spelling) and Gayatri teacher join in as well. Devi and Sukania are also on Parivartan’s executive board but I’m not sure of their specific roles. We didn’t really get a chance to talk to them personally since the meeting started late and the children were already lining up outside the classroom. I was really glad to see that there were some important issues that were being addressed by Parivartan- an image I didn’t really get last time. Towards the end of the meeting, we asked them to go around and tell us about their experience of us working in Sangam Nagar. Gangadhar was saying that he was really happy with the turn out of the number of children that have been coming to school, he said that this was probably our influence because usually children don’t come at this time. It takes a lot of energy to get them to class. That point was really heart warming for me.. Devi mentioned that initially she and Rushabh were convinced that we would be one of those volunteers who would go back after two days of coming to the community. She said that the first time she met Zohar, she knew that Zohar wasn’t going to turn back. Devi was very impressed that we actually continued..Rushabh and Shakil, along with a nod of approval, were happy with our work as well. Gayatri teacher was glad that it was a two-way stream..she said that there was a lot that she learned from us while we learned from the children and the children learning from us. I’m sure I’m leaving a lot of the words out, but these our some of the important points that I remember..we just listened the entire meeting..I liked that.
During the 2nd half of the meeting, the children had already line up outside the door, on the staircase. Since it was 1pm already, Gayatri teacher let them into the class and asked them to sit on the side. It was amazing how disciplined they had become while there were new people in the room. No one talked, no one moved, it wasn’t something I’d seen in a LONG time. Given that, we asked the kids to perform for everyone in the room who was at the meeting. They did an AMAZING job! It was really pleasing to see the expressions on everyone’s face in the room. From my impression Shakil was impressed/happy, Devi and Rushabh had a good time, and Gangadhar -I couldn’t tell. The best part was that the children themselves were very happy with their play!! That was the first time that they had performed without any directions from us. They followed through carefully without too much commotion. So much so, that I thought it would be a good idea to add another scene at the end where all the little children would be included. The scene is on cleanliness (against littering and spitting)..Along with this, Shoab (Gangadhar’s assistant) agreed to close the play with a few lines to the audience. It all worked perfectly well.
Next, the kids really wanted to dance. We didn’t do it yesterday for various reasons, but today we thought they deserved it. We switched on the music and within seconds everyone had a move. It was full of energy..everyone was having a good time. After a few numbers, we let the children go for a 15 minute break..after they came back, we took them (after a LOT of difficulty) outside to try the play. The kids made a circle, did the song, but some of the boys were feeling “shy and conscious” so as a defense mechanism they ran off and weren’t acting like they usually do. We couldn’t do the last scene that we practiced in the class. We took them back to the classroom and talked to them – asking them how they felt. One boy, Sahil, who was doing the drunk man’s role wasn’t ready to do the scene outside. He said that people would make fun of him if he did that in the open. Also, if his mother found out, he would get beaten up. This is a situation that we need to talk about, and find a solution. The others had a good time and wanted to do it again. After talking to them for a while, we decided to allow Gayatri teacher to teach. Once we sat down, exhaustion was starting to creep up my limbs, numbing every part of my body including my brain. Zohar was exhausted as well since she’s not been sleeping a whole lot so we left at 4:30pm instead of 5pm. Walked back silently, we were very lucky with the weather today. We decided to go over by the short cut.. the heap of trash so that we could just dose off in the car. Spoke to Manjul briefly- it felt like an effort to open my mouth or hold the phone. Headed home for the first time reached at 7:30pm.