Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Holi Celebrations

Hello friends…

I am sure all of you had a great colorful Holi…

It gives me great pleasure sharing with you, the delightful Holi experience we had with our children in LEAD…

Here are the snaps:



http://picasaweb.google.co.in/lead.airoli/HoliCelebrations#



I & Arun gathered at about 6 pm at our place…Children started flocking with their school bags, with the foggiest idea about the imminent surprise event planned for them…Some of them immediately opened up their books & scribbled on them just to flaunt it before us… “Sir, see this; I have written it…”, “Sir, madam has taught us this”, Sir, Surekha again didn’t come to school yesterday“…The best one was when Madhuri proudly showed me her name on our new board… ;-)

Einnetti & Sunita (non-school going girls) were missing, so I brought them from their homes requesting their mothers for their break…

We started with their favorite program… seeing their photos... Arun had got his laptop & we played the video portraying the LEAD’s journey from its pre-school days through school admissions to all the festival celebrations. They were seeing their Republic day & Circus snaps for the first time. Then came in the comments… joker, elephants, slides, Shainki knew that I had taken her solo photo while in the park... smartly she kept inquiring about that snap ;-)

Meanwhile, Saroj teacher arrived & she nicely took the charge of the uncontrollable bunch ;-) She began with a short & sweet prayer, instructing all the children to close their eyes. She even explained the meaning of the prayer beautifully… it was all about the truth, hard work etc… Then she narrated the story of Prahlad, King Hiranyakashyap & Holika, while I & Arun started working on the flowers in the back, nicely enjoying her lucid language & style of narration…While this story was primarily to serve the purpose of explaining the importance of Holi, it also ended up with a good moral -- triumph of good over evil. The room was instantly filled up with a wide applause. As HP was too anxious to join us, so we got in some more fillers viz. Saroj teacher played the game of Gandhiji’s 3 monkeys… Children need to act according to her words…. Close their eyes when she says ‘Boora Mat Dekho’; close their ears on ‘Boora Mat Soono’ & shut their mouth on ‘Boora mat Bolo’… The game really gained the ground when she speeded up her instructions. It was really heart warming when, later, some of the children stood up & individually demonstrated the 3 morally upright behaviors.

Then we played the audio-visual of A.R. Rehmnan’s “Maa Tujhe Salaam” to add in a patriotic color to the festival. The encouraging part was the children humming along the Vande-Mataram stanzas. Mother of Vinod & Madhuri entered right into the room to peep into the black box (laptop) so as to know what’s there in it that makes their children glued into their seats. When asked humorously if she would invite us for their special dinner tonight, there came a pat reply, “Aa jao Sir, Mutton hai, Daaru hai…!”

HP joined us by then just to rush out for some sweets for the children. I had got the chocolates for the children but Saroj teacher wanted to contribute her part & handed over 50 bucks to HP for more chocolates. Now it was time for the real celebration—the real fun--- the real thrill—HOLI with flowers! Arun & I briefed them about the need & fun of celebration with flowers & after-effects of artificial colors. (Was I putting my integrity on question, as I myself was immersed into the same colors in the morning? ) If you have read the article in the front page of today's Times (Toxic Holi colour lands 16 kids in ICU), you surely feel glad that we could educate them about this yesterday.....Heres the link ...

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Cities/Holi-colour-lands-16-Thane-kids-in-ICU/articleshow/4253360.cms

The bag of 1Kg colorful, fresh, fragmental & fragrant flowers was almost emptied down into the hands of about 35 children. Their expressions & body-language clearly radiated out their excitation & enthusiasm levels. Why only them? Even we were in high spirits about this unusual Holi ;-)

I really don’t know what triggered the flower-bomb, as there was a sudden uproar of loud noise along with the huge shower of flowers all around. Believe me; it was really difficult to be on our nerves amidst this super-charged-up atmosphere & action packed environment. I mean, forget about the full-stop, there was no comma in this. What an incredible experience! Smiles & happiness everywhere, children dancing & hopping around, flinging flowers everywhere & on everyone… (More on us ;-))… room enliven by the cries & cheers of the children as well as the colors & fragrance of the flowers… the now moist-turned feet due to the flower-fleeced cloth-carpet that further zinged up our emotions…Well, I really deserve a pat on my back to be in myself & get some snaps for you ;-) (Thank you Kailash for your digicam)

Some how we managed to gear down this break less car & made them settle down for the chocolates. HP came back with a bag full of yummy gulab-jamoons. Needless to say, they were back to their originals on hearing about the sweets. Some pushy children, fights, quarrels, lies, begging, snatching etc…We must say that we really had a tough time for distribution to the children, though the much insisted queue system did took off & brought in some solace later. The children did sweep across the floor with the broom nicely but again many of them threw off the chocolate wrappers outside our place. To make the things worse, the owner immediately pointed out the indiscipline of our children. (It’s natural. Even a small stain/mark has enough power to ruin away the sheen of a neat & clean shiny white dress)

Our child Maruti however exhibited his leadership trait by helping us move the things smoothly. A real achievemnet for LEAD!

Don’t wish to end this fun-ride with a discouraging note but would like to point out one thing & well, which equally applies to me too …

Somewhere, we are again being carried away by the customary academic meaning of education. In the quest to make this bunch compete against the other lot, we are simply teaching these children. Frankly speaking, that’s not needed. They will clear their exams on their own till class-X. (Unfortunately, a Municipal school ensures that) So let’s do something that is not being done by their parents & teachers.

Let’s start shaping up their discipline now, building their character now. Let’s spend some less time just teaching them academics. Let’s go prepared well-in-advance what we will be doing constructive with them today. Good habits, a story with an impacting moral, an exercise, a prayer, a game that improves their Maths/ memory/concentration, some good manners, greetings—thanks, sorry, excuse me, good morning, stand up when a teacher/sir arrives/play simple games/ drawing etc.

Would you like these children to be ill-behaved in front of some other person? Our pain, efforts, time & money will be worthwhile only when these children become lovable to others too.

Some of them ask "can we punish these children?" Lets answer one thing, will we shy away scolding or beating our child if he/she does anything wrong....No, right? Because, we are scolding / beating/ punishing them for their betterment...

If any one of us is facing any problems regarding this, please share this with everyone… in fact that is the primary reason we have started a google-group....

PLZ PLZ PLZ let us not visit these children just to teach them Maths or Marathi or English…Only if we can build up their character & make them disciplined, we will be able to retain them in the educational system for the long term…


Cheers...

--
Rupesh S Gesota
LEAD
http://leadatairoli.weebly.com

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world. It indeed, is the only thing that ever has.”....Margaret Mead

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