|AT Kearney visits Unnati, Gurgaon|
10 AM, 16th May 2009The sun was just beginning to cast its spell of indolence on the world, trying to push everyone in the cozy canopies. Thermometers aiming for a half century, combined with a weekend, there couldn't have been a better excuse for anyone to stay inside the house and sip a cold drink. However, the At Kearney team had different plans. The weather was just too incompetent to deflate their enthusiasm, as they visited the Unnati center of AID Gurgaon to spend some time with the kids, and offer them a day to remember. It was the day the kids were eagerly waiting for. They had all gathered in the school well before 10, knowing that a little delay on their part would mean missing a lot of fun,so eager were the kids that they quickly finished there daily prayer and PT exercise which was lead by Mamta and Atikool. They were definitely right, and some volunteers will by all odds learn a lesson or two from them, or even a plethora more!!The interaction started with a basic introduction. The children greeted all the volunteers with a very warm good morning, with each child trying to ensure that his/her sound is distinctly heard by the volunteers, and little kids eagerly waiting for the elder ones to stop, so that they can make their presence felt. Clearly a feeling of competition marked by the presence of respect for seniors! The volunteers had already divided the kids into four teams , with around 8 children in each team. To distinguish between the members of the team, and to induce a sense of belongingness in the team, each of the four teams were given bands of different colors by each AT Karney volunteers who was owning the team (just like IPL :), which they had to be tied around their wrists. They were quickly through with the task, with each child raising his/her hand as soon as he/she had finished. The battle, had begun!!The fun started with 'tying the rubber band game'. A team member from each team were selected, on whose head other team members had to tie the rubber bands. The team which had tied maximum rubber bands, was adjudged the winner. The children were quick to realize the advantage of the person on whose head rubber band were to be tied to have a long hair. While the member of one team sat down to facilitate easy tying of rubber band, the little ones of other team were seen pulling their team member to sit down. Not willing to give up at any stage, they decided to jump and just place the rubber band on the head of their partner. A few of them were actually successful in doing that. A few other children were just too happy to play with rubber bands among themselves, instead of loosing them to an alien head! And there was another set, who after finishing the game simply removed and pocketed their rubber band. These were the ones who enjoyed the flavors of both the possession and the competition.The next game was to write the maximum possible numbers on the white board in a given amount of time. The white board was divided into two parts, and one member from each team was called to write the numbers. Each of the team members were shouting hard to help their team member, not realizing that the number they are shouting can be heard by both the team members! The writers relentlessly scribbled among the chaos, inadvertently ending up drawing some random figures instead of writing a number! Nevertheless little mistakes under pressure do come with their share of lessons. This game was followed by throwing the ball in the bucket, the similar kind of game that we used to play in annual fair of our town. The hit and the miss, the zeros and the ones were all the part of the game. No body worried about the score, unless they got a chance to throw a ball in the bucket. They really enjoyed their version of bowling!! The Kearney team was willing to help at every step, but the children wanted only the resources. Everyone was willing to steer his/her own ship.Finally the kids gave a chance to the volunteeers of Karney to try there skills in bowling ...but the kids proved themselves better in it ..as none of them was able to put the ball in the bucket ..The next game was different from the first two. Unlike other two games which were played in a team, here each member had to show his/her individual talent. It was the moment of realization for me, as I understood the obvious reality of dearth of opportunities in a pool of natural talent. It was really amazing to see, how meticulously the sabeena and tara had picked up the dance steps and the lyrics for the songs. More important than that was their enthusiasm to show this talent to all those who were there. Thankfully the meaning of shyness and hesitation was missing from their vocabulary!! There were children who recited some really beautiful poems, and reminded us of our childhood days. This nostalgic intoxication was the defining moment of the day. Some evergreen poems like “Titli udi chat par chadi...and Machali jal ki raani hai ”, can never loose their sheen in our life. They just get lost in our sole, and the children at Unnati helped us find that. In our quest of defining their future, they gifted us the memories of our past.Similar was the case with the next event. Each of the children were given a sheet of paper for drawing. The flowers, the mountains, the fruits and the stick cartoons, the slanting and sliding lines that were beginning to take a form like their life, and the colors were beginning to spread both on the papers and their lives.The events were followed by a nutrition break and the prize distribution ceremony. The ones getting the prize were definitely happy, and there were others who silently watched the prizes being distributed with a glimpse of hope. But the man of the moment was a kid, who was forthright in expressing his annoyance on a girl being given prize twice, as Atikool shouted “Isko pehle de diya tha” (Sabeena has already got the prize) !!. The kid was definitely rewarded with a chocolate for his honesty. Those who didn't get the prize also had something to cheer about. Each of the kids were given a bunch of toffees, followed by the packets of delicious sweets and sandwiches. It was a poignant moment to see the spirit of caring and sharing nature among the kids, as most of them resisted the temptation of eating the whole packet and instead took it to their homes to share it with their siblings. Their voice and intentions were loud and clear as one of the kids shouted “Mummy ke saath knaoonga” (I will share it with my mother). I seriously hope we do love our mothers and not just wait for mother's day!! The kids had their share of fun and we had our share of both fun and morals. At times I am just amazed to see these little moments offer us some valuable lessons. Like any other day at Unnati I had taken my share of knowledge. I learned that a right blend or resources and guidance can take these children to new heights. I learned that its important to be in the right place at the right time. If we can ensure this synchronization for these kids, they will fly on their own. They gave me moments to cherish of my own past, a food for thought to reorganize my relationships and the motivation to come again.I offered them a bird and they fetched for me two from the bush !!