20 Dec Volunteer Den – Shivabalan V K
A little about yourself (origin, education, past work experiences
I am from Erode in Tamil Nadu and did most of my schooling there. My parents encouraged me in sports apart from curricular activities and started playing tennis from an early age. At school I was comfortable with two things – tennis and visiting the library, but I cannot say the same for school curriculum. But by good fortune and hard work I scored good marks in my school leaving exam and got into College of Engineering-Guindy at Chennai. Boarding at college was a very different experience for me. For the first time I was completely independent except financially. For the first two years in college I engaged myself in NCC (A, B, C certificates) and the college dance team. At college my friends and I used to talk a lot about doing something for the society. We talked politics, hygiene and sanitation, youth empowerment and so on. But in the last two years, I relaxed a lot and sort of became lazy. After college I wanted to prepare for UPSC and prepared for one year and gave my first attempt. But I couldn’t clear the second stage and later I realized that the problem was with my attitude. I had become very lazy in college and it was hindering me in my preparations. So I consciously got into banking thinking that a job will make me systematic and disciplined. I have quit my job now and am pursuing my studies.
How did volunteering with Bhumi happen (including beginning, which project you volunteered for)?
While working I realized that my routine had become mechanic and that I was missing out on different things I could be doing. I missed meeting new people and making new friends. I remembered reading about Bhumi while in college, and searched for Bhumi on the internet and got myself registered. I had a lot of fun at the orientation and I was already feeling happy because the atmosphere there was so exciting. Maths being the strongest suit, I opted the Maths project.
What change did these experiences bring in your life? How has Bhumi altered you, personally?
One change that I would say that Bhumi has brought in me is responsibility – since volunteering is a personal commitment, I feel morally obliged to honour mine. Also when I see some of my friends at SISTWA turn up every week without fail;come what may, I was truly inspired to emulate them. I am thankful to Bhumi for letting me be a part of conducting workshops, volunteer meets, etc. It has improved my inter-personnel skills and organizing capabilities.
One most memorable incident in your life as a Bhumian.
Friends from Bhumi surprised me on the morning of my birthday at my house. I did not expect that one bit. I was brushing my teeth when they came marching in. They knew how to throw in a good surprise. Now, it is almost like we are searching for one event or the other to celebrate. My life has become a celebration after Bhumi.
Tell us about one Bhumian, who you think is a very good inspiration for you
I am really glad that I met and made friends at Bhumi. It has been a great learning process for me at Bhumi. Princee has taught me how to be more organized. Ganesh has made me realize what it truly means to be efficient. He always gets things done then and there, and one could always rely on him to get the job done. Ranjani always goes the extra mile so that the program does not suffer. Sandhiyan brings out the elegance in being humble.
Any specific, special moment with kids or volunteers you would like to share with us?
At the math project, we conducted an activity based “Math Carnival” to assess the progress of the kids. I enjoyed the carnival like I was a kid and was very happy to see the kids excited about Math. We had life-size snake and ladders, markets, balls and hoops, drawing competitions, Tom and Jerry shows, etc. It was like being in an amusement park, ironically the amusement being Math. We also had a lot of fun, brain-storming, planning and organizing the carnival. Special mention to Keerthi and Thangaraj for making it so enjoyable
A message to every volunteer at Bhumi?
Bhumi is a great platform to make changes in our society collectively. Bhumi offers a great opportunity for volunteers to interact with like-minded people and to grow personally. Once we decide to volunteer it is our obligation to be committed and make Bhumi grow from strength to strength. I pray that Bhumi attracts more change makers into its fold and continues making the changes it has been making.