After yesterday’s fiasco we acted on Neelu’s (our team member who is excellent and enviously patient with the kids!) suggestion and brought in plasticine for those children who were no longer interested in painting.
Earlier in the day, a few of us met at Doon Club to discuss strategy and plan of action for the immediate future. We decided on exploring the possibility of bringing in tiffin’s everyday from one of the caterers/meal-providers instead of the dhaba food that we currently feed the children from. Kadhi-chawal is not really high on nutrition and the pigs (includes the swan-tattoo-on-neck-piglet) there have started shrinking the size of our portions. The kids remain hungry even after the meal and it is appalling!
So for today, we found another chola-bhatura guy (I know that is not nutrition either but that was just for today) and have zero-ed in on another thela that provides chapatis, vegetable and dal for ten rupees for tomorrow’s meal. Here’s another thing: even the thela walas and dhaba walas treat our kids as second-class citizens and it irks me to no end. Today the chola-bhatura guy asks them to sit a little way off, and not on the dirty, plastic stools that he has kept on the pavement next to his thela! Well, hell!
So moving on, we changed our location today- from opposite to Mc Donald’s, we moved next to Orient Cinema Hall since we feel that the parking area on the front side of Astley Hall has a lot of people when this area is sunnier and also has fewer people. So we cleaned up the place and put down nice little mats and our little table.
We began with painting but very soon there were too many of us to fit on the tiny table and the ones who could not fit in began to create havoc.
So we brought in Play-Doh!!
In my mind, I had thought I would walk back to where the kids were, cool as a cucumber and put out the Play-Doh cups out, and start making fun things. In my mind, the children walk towards me curiously and soon we are all happily sitting under the sun and making clay things.
In reality, I walk back to where the kids were and I pulled out the first Play-Doh cup, opened it and pulled out the red clay lump on my palm. I set it down and reached for the blue Play-Doh cup but before I could, the red clay lump was gone! I called out to the two boys who had taken off with the red Play-Doh and in the meantime the blue Play-Doh was gone and soon everybody was running around and there were only little palms all around me as I clutched at the last remaining green Play-Doh cup with absurd possessiveness!
I will tell you something now. At times of utter chaos, the best thing you can do is stand up right in the middle of the confusion and scream your bloody head out! And I did! And it worked! Well, for five seconds at least it did. The few seconds of stunned silence from the kids gave us an edge and I was thankful I work with quick-brained folks. We made the kids sit down, Gudakesh caught hold of the boys who had run off with the red Play-Doh and Neelu calmly sat down the remaining bunch to work again.
Then the group went about making beautiful things with the clay and we were quite pleased, except that one of us had to always be chasing after one or the other from among the brats!
I have to mention here that Rajkumar and Sunita were not present today and though Naina claims that the much-affected Rajkumar decided to leave for Vikasnagar yesterday after what had happened and that Sunita had been howling as she left, we suspect little truth in her melodrama. The kids are probably off working at some party or function and will hopefully be back tomorrow.
In all, it was a crazy day but as one of our friends said, the only time we have to start worrying is when the kids don’t show up!