The beautiful sunny spot that we chose for ourselves during the winters has become a curse now, with the temperatures rising and the hot sun glaring down at our uncomfortable selves during Street Smart! So we decided to move the classes to Gandhi Park across the street from the Orient Cinema. We did that on Wednesday and it was great. Ah! I wish I had my camera to take pictures of the lot of them sitting on two dari and a few mats in the park and lounging under the trees, on the grass, colouring lazily, playing with a ball one of the boys had with him, writing letters and numbers and occasionally shouting obscenities at passers-by (at which they were duly reprimanded, of course!). It was brilliant and it was perfect and so obviously it did not last!Today, the kids refused to go to the park for two reasons. One, they cannot leave their work place. Two, the entrance to the park is very far and we have to walk halfway around the circumference of the park to reach its gates, which is quite a pain! Our kids are used to coming to Street Smart and leaving as they please (before you object, this has to change WE KNOW; but will happen gradually). So the kids pulled us towards outside Orient Cinema while we pulled them towards Gandhi Park and after a brief tug of war of sorts, we slumped down on our original spot. As soon as the slumping happened, the otherwise cloudy sky was suddenly engulfed in a looming, burning sun that shone on Street Smart like a *beep* *beep* limelight. Then Shaila yelled angrily and the Sun meekly hid behind the clouds, to stay there until Street Smart lasted. True story! She has got a temper, that one!A few other interesting titbits: We took a globe and an atlas for the kids the other day and they hogged around as Shaila showed then where we live, where she lived (London) before returning to India and where everybody else who has ever visited Street Smart comes from (most of them were from Dehradun so we would spin the globe to return to the same spot, but we stopped when the kids gave us scathing looks that told us in very clear terms what they wanted us to go and do to ourselves!
Naina, who is missing Sangamitra most among the bunch asked us to point out where her ‘Sangi didi’ would be right then! Naina had earlier said that without ‘Sangi didi’ it was difficult to eat, which was quite an incredible thing to say just then, considering her mouth was quite stuffed with rice and rajma!
Sunita and Rajkumar went with us to Nijaat to look at what options they had. They loved the room intended for their stay, with the beds and the adjoining bathroom with the geyser. And while they obviously refuse to stay for the night (let alone the whole two months), their positive response to the place is encouraging and we will nudge and prod them slowly until they are ready to move in. So to all of who were told about the kids’ admission into Nijaat and who are wondering about that, the kids are still out on the streets. Nijaat’s wonderful counselor Prakash will continue to work with the kids gradually since we must also keep in mind that a few hours’ worth of counseling is nowhere close to what is actually needed to get the kids to understand what de-addiction will do and what options are available for them after they have spent time at Nijaat.
Finally, I have to write about the wonderful photography workshop that Shaila and I attended today, where we met brilliant people working through their NGOs for people everywhere in Dehradun, learnt about using photographs and online tools for fundraising and networking, while also watching a slide show of some incredible pictures taken of Street Smart by our immensely talented friend Erin and her group-mates with absolutely fitting songs in the backdrop. But this and more in the next update!
To more days like today! 🙂