Yesterday was a hectic Sunday, jam-packed with activities. Sometimes I am a lazy Sunday person but sometimes I just hate spending Sundays lounging at home. Yesterday we were planning a day-long outing at Oberon Mall but my contact at Make A Difference (MAD), Sumesh, rang me up in the morning to ask if I could come over and check out the summer camp where I was scheduled to speak on journalism some time this month. So Abhi, Ditu and I piled into the car and off we went to Palluruthy Snehabhavan, which takes in orphans, street children, kids from broken families and provides them with food, shelter and education. MAD is an NGO that helps out with underprivileged children, training them in English and computer skills. They also have a placement cell. Click here for more on MAD.
At the Sneha Bhavan, the children were thrilled to see Sumesh, and the boys greeted him boisterously. One young fellow came up and shook hands with us, too, saying 'Hello' and 'Welcome'. When we went into the office to speak to Fr Sunny who looks after the place, the kids came in too, pulling out chairs for us and giving us some candy. I was pleasantly surprised, to say the least. Of course, they insisted on joining in on the conversation too and it soon got so noisy that Fr Sunny had to lovingly shoo them out. I was struck by the environment at the orphanage: the staff and the children were all happy and cordial.
We then went to the Don Bosco school where a theology student, Br Saji, had organised a month-long camp for children aged 10-15. He suggested that I make the class as interactive as possible to make sure the kids pay attention. And Sumesh warned me they may try to intimidate me which was just their way of checking my mettle. I have committed to a class on April 14: two hours in the afternoon. So if any of you have interesting interactive/group activity-based ideas on journalism, writing or simply on expressing creativity, do mail in or reply to my posts.
Am looking forward to hearing from a lot of my friends. Also, do let me know if you are interested in spending time with the kids, teaching them any skill or just providing some career guidance! It will be a great experience both for the kids and for you too!
We did go to Oberon Mall after all, and , as usual, were amazed at the readiness of Kochiites to spend on food. The Food Circle was crowded beyond endurance and we ended up sharing a table with a couple of young lovers (who, understandably, were not too thrilled about it). But we had to gobble our lunch and rush because the young fella sitting opposite us had a gulab jamun on his plate, and Ditu absolutely loves this syrupy sweet! She kept eyeing the gulab jamun and poking his plate until it got too embarrassing for all of us! :) Oh, she did get platefuls of gulab jamun at night though, at the housewarming do of a new neighbour!
In between the mall and dinner, we visited a dear friend and a former neighbour, who has been advised bed rest for discitis, an inflammation of the spine. Now, this is one person who has hardly ever taken any rest before and was always a busy bee, attending to the needs of her large family. She is a gregarious person whose life revolves around family and friends; these relationships mean everything to her and are a driving force for her life.
While there, one of the kids unwittingly spilled tea over my white tee shirt! I wiped it down with some water but my friend's mom wouldn't hear of me leaving the house like that. She rummaged in her cupboard for the brand new FabIndia kurta she had bought a few days back and forced me into it. When I sheepishly emerged from the bathroom in the kurta, Amma smiled radiantly and said, "Now you look so good. You have made me very happy by wearing this." So much joy in such a simple thing! Now I know where my friend gets her joie de vivre from!