Today we started with alphabets!!! Whoopie!! It was a lazy beginning with a few kids coming in and hanging around post a nice meal at the dhaba we had zero-ed in on, yesterday. Gudakesh drew the alphabet क for the kids and they started colouring in it and through the day, we had everybody discussing all words beginning with क and then making those things with Play-Doh. So we made कंघा, कड़ा, कटोरा, कढ़ाई and others. Somewhere in the middle, I was lost in my own thoughts and had absently squished a lump of Play-Doh into something amorphous and the kids around me asked what it was and I said I don’t know. One of them, mimicking me, says ” ‘क’ से कुछ नहीं”! They are something else, these kids! Eventually, we also had the older kids writing other alphabets and understanding the difference between ‘क’ and ‘का’.
On other fronts, Shaila brought carrots to eat in the middle of the class and we later Neelu treated us to cholas when class ended. One of the kids again left in the middle of the class to eat Gutkha and we used the opportunity to point out to everybody that while they are at school, studying with us, they must not eat Gutkha or sniff glue. Paras, one of the kids who is terribly hooked to solution, also came in towards the end and we refused to pay him any attention, which- I am happy to note- seemed to irk him a little. And we explained why he cannot be part of the classes and hopefully when he shows a little willingness to give up on solution, we will be there to back him and help him out of it (I know, I know it won’t be as easy as writing about it but I am just saying, that’s all).
Our experiences at Street Smart are a mix of bitter and sweet. Bitter, I have to say here, comes from the people around us- affluent, middle class and above people whose shriveled hearts are the size of bloody raisins. (I would have used must stronger vocabulary here but Gudakesh today lectured Shaila and myself on what he calls “misusing a language” when he overheard us using the ‘F’ and other words). Take, for instance, the man who owns Standard Confectionery there (I think I had written nice things about him in an earlier post and if I did, well it stands void) and who is OK with us leaving one table at his shop after classes are finished but has a problem with two tables. The Orient Cinema guy too, we find cannot accommodate two tiny wooden tables anywhere in his huge-ass premises.
But in all, it was one of the better days when we did a lot of different things.We may be able to move soon, which is a good thing. The shelter will definitely be a better place and with less distractions for our kids, we should be able to make more headway.
PS- I am headed to Auli for a few days and until then, Penny has kindly agreed to update the blog daily. ergo, continue to watch this space!