20 Jul The best days of my life
“Kids, You gotta love them. I adore children. A little salt, a squeeze of lemon – perfect.” – Jim Butcher
I have always been fond of kids, their smiles, innocence, mischievous behaviour, and unselfish nature. So once I had registered with Bhumi, I was eagerly waiting to start an exciting new chapter in life with small children, when I got mail from Vijay Anand (Bhumi Coordinator, Pune) on 27th Jan 2012. Soon, I attended the orientation on 19th February, through which I learnt about Bhumi’s history, vision, mission and work in Pune. My excitement grew even more, and I was eager to see the centre I would be placed in, and to spend time with the kids there. My first visit to Eklavya centre was on 26th Feb 2012. When I stepped in, the kids started out enthusiastically, all of them talking at the same time, shooting out questions, “Meghna Didi, Vijay Dada, Didi, Dada, Didi, Dada…Tumache naav kay didi? Tumhihi aata roj yenar? Ya na aapan he karuya…Didi tumhi kuthe rahata? Didi tumhi kay karta?” So many innocent faces with so many questions! Full of enthusiasm, energy, and hope in their eyes that these ‘Dadas’, and ‘Didis’ or ‘Tais’ are going to make their Sunday enjoyable through educational models, sports, arts and crafts, songs, dance, films, etc. It didn’t feel like I was spending two hours with a group I hadn’t met before. I enjoyed every minute of it like a child! Once the weekly routine started, all the volunteers were connected with each other for each week’s new activity performance. Our co-ordinators always asked us for feedback and suggestions for improvement. From that day, I started living satisfied and happy. I had tried many things in the past in search of a happy, satisfied life. But I had always felt as though something was missing from my life. At Bhumi, I found that “something”.
For the next six months, I enjoyed very Sunday with my fellow-Bhumians and the kids at Eklavya. I participated in and headed many activities, while also teaching Mathematics and Marathi to the respective classes of children allocated to me. I also mentored them regarding their daily problems, giving them hope that their ‘Dadas’ and ‘Didis’ or ‘Tais’ would be there for them. I enjoyed the different festival celebrations; Holi, Diwali, and Ganesh Utsav. The summer vacation was buzzing with activities like Art, Crafts, Singing, and Dancing. I taught the kids to make sandwiches as well! We added one more school, Bholagiri, to our list of centres. Little Rojani (2.5yrs old) was the first to come to me and acknowledge me. She helped me overcome my fear with confidence and a smiling face. I also took part in the ‘Show Case’ programme at Ambedkar Bhavan on 16th June 2012. Happiness, satisfaction, smiles, enthusiasm, emotion – that was my experience!
After this, life got so busy that I was unable to attend Bhumi Sunday sessions anymore. Yet, whenever I have a bad day or a bad experience, I would long to meet the kids, the little charms of my life, drawing energy from them and being filled with new hope.
I was able to rejoin full-swing activity at Bhumi on 8th June 2013 – it feels almost like a rebirth, meeting the kids, I feel like life has started again with new energy and hope. This time, I worked for the summer activities for the kids. This time it was Nasreen who gave her best and took efforts to bind us together. Of course her efforts, dedication, smart work and great attitude paid off, and we arranged and successfully enjoyed our ‘Summer Bonanza’ in a nice way. This time the Play was titled ‘Cleanliness’, the Poem was ‘Signal-Lights Indication’ by Archana Varma, and the theme for the Fashion show was ‘Vegetables, Fruits, and Animals’ in a cute remix style (Marathi + English). It was a great team effort by Nasreen, Archana, Himanshu, Aditi, Neha, Suren, Upasana! The children loved the remix concept, and now they enjoy practising English! I had a rocking experience as well! I felt like all that I had missed in the past one year, I gained from the beautiful moments I spent at Summer Bonanza. I will cherish these memories forever.
Bhumi has made my dreams come true; it has given me real satisfaction and happiness. I cannot promise my continued presence in all the future activities, but I promise to be there for the kids and the volunteers at Bhumi, Pune whenever possible! As Seymour Simon rightly put it, “I’m more interested in arousing enthusiasm in kids than in teaching the facts. The facts may change, but that enthusiasm for exploring the world will remain with them the rest of their lives.”
– Roshni Jaid, Bhumi @ Pune