Location:- Snehasadan, Western Express Highway, Andheri (East)
There is a lot of laughter and screaming that I can hear around me as I make my way inside. Surrounded as I am by boys belonging to the age group of 5 to 15 years, I think this positive chaos, smiles and clash of energies is but natural and glad I am to be able to witness it and slowly become a part of it, for it draws me into it like a plant soaks the sunlight.
As I climb the stairs that lead to the source of all the noise,I know I am about to embark on a journey of giving and growing, much like a plant does under the sunlight.
This sunny Sunday that has promised to be full of useful learning and new memories starts with the ‘Unity Circle.’ This requires all of us to hold hands and reconnect ourselves to one another after a week long break. Then, we are all supposed to introduce ourselves and tell of the one thing we like about the day. This talking around puts us all at ease.
Reading English is the first activity our volunteers conducted following the Circle. The boys seemed unwilling to do their reading but soon, all the story books our volunteers had brought were distributed amongst the kids. We also read to them from Ruskin Bond’s Book of Nature poems.
They not only aced the English reading but even translated the perfect meaning of the words. As for what those words meant, with our slight pushing they quickly grasped the most complex poetic ideas.
Soon it was time for some indoor gaming, and that seemed to lift them from the seriousness of studying. The excitement was amazing- jumping up and down-they didn’t have the patience even to be told the rules. For why care for the rules when fun is all we want?
However importantly, all these games that our Project Managers Dhruv, Swati and Feya had ideated on for a week and which our volunteers (Pratik, Nandinee, Rutvi, Rut,Varija, Shourya) were ready to put into action, involved at some level developing various aspects of their personality. For example, the first game was a mixture of Pictionary as well as Charades. Called ‘Misunderstanding’, it was played with teams of 2. Here, one mate was given a secret word that he had to describe to his partner using synonyms, and from which the partner had to guess the original word.
This not only stimulated the imagination of the presenter but also forced the guesser to think hard and arrive at the correct word.
Next,our focus shifted to their physical fitness. Our next game ‘Relay Race’ was all about ensuring coordination with one’s surroundings. The object that had to be passed around was a bottle between 3 players on two sides. The trio who reached the finishing line first was the winner; however the twist in the tale was that the object had to be relayed backwards, and immediately after having passed the object behind, one had to go behind himself (remember – only 3 players in one team) without facing forward to complete the relay to the end.
The boys’ muscular skills were tested to the limit along with that of our volunteers who joined in the fun. The great deal of gusto and sportiness that it gave rise to proved to be a perfect close to this week’s session.
However, can anything good end without the people who were part of it wanting to hold onto it for a while longer? The boys hadn’t yet got enough of us and requested that we be audience to a rap performance by two of our own Gully Boys. And what a show they put! The two boys had us fixed to the spot cheering away at their ‘Apna Bhi Time Aayega’.
Swear upon whoever was listening, even Ranveer Singh would have wanted tuition from these two stars.
And as I climb down the stairs with the same noise echoing in my ears- the noise of a million smiles- I am more grateful than before that this time around, I was part of this noise once again echoing in the light surrounding us.