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(36) The first school day of VTCL…

November 8, 2009

Our school in the small, rehabilitated cow shed at Brahmagiri was nearing a year since we started. The initial excitement was now slowly wearing thin. Mere cooking and playing could not keep the children engaged all the time. We needed to do something different to hold the flock together. I struck upon the idea of having a school day. I thought this would give the school an identity in the tribal colony and also opportunities for the little ones to showcase their talents. Apart from this, it would possibly give all of us something to do and keep the school alive.

We fixed a date and started planning. The children decided to enact a drama and chose the scenes depicting the exchange between Alexander and Pourava, the great Indian king who opposed him. The practice and rehearsals went on all day for nearly two weeks and the day finally arrived. Lalitha, our teacher, invited me to watch a rehearsal. But the performance did not meet my expectations and I blew my top. Those days, anger was my constant companion and little did I realize that it was not a useful tool in either managing myself or working with my colleagues and more importantly, understanding and working with the little ones.

When they heard and saw my reaction, the children were up in arms. They decided that enough was enough and informed me that they would not enact the drama or participate in the school day. The whole event was now in jeopardy and it was really a learning experience for me to watch these little ones stand up to authority and so clearly state their minds. Seetharam was doing his internship then and came to the rescue. He mediated between me and the children and calmed them down. Thankfully, everything fell in place and we had the first school day of VTCL in a small enclosure we had erected opposite our cow-shed school. Dr.Shekhar, who was one of our steadfast friends and supporters, was the Chief Guest for the occasion.

Balu

Members Mridula, Veena & Raghuram distributing sweets to children in the cow-shed school
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