Monday, June 29, 2015

Chitradurga : Rural Reach Program - Part II

Part 1 is here - Chitradurga RRP

The students were divided into groups of 50 (on avg), and finally I was allocated to a set of girls. They were seated in a circle, and I was at the centre. I had the feeling of a performing artist, and that I would be judged by them .

I uttered my first few words (in kannada, ofcourse) : “Yellarigu namaskara. Nanna hesaru Arathi” (Greetings everybody my name is Arathi)

I heard a few girls in chorus “Kellastilla miss” (we can’t hear you miss)

“Oops” was my reaction. Then I did what any sensible person would do…

“Oh ok.. Lets come a little closer shall we”. And it was a feeling of the earth moving, closing in on me, if I can say. All the 50 chairs moving towards me.

And then I asked them: “Can you hear me now”…. Again a chorus “Illa miss”

I now decided I dint want a circle… It’s not circus, and I cannot look at half of them. So I made them sit in 3 rows of concentric semicircles. And then asked them the same question. A little louder this time “Iga Kellasta idiya” (Can you hear me now). And in chorus again they answered “Yes miss”

I remember how in school, we would wish our teachers when they came inside our class “Goooood Morning Miss”, I never thought somebody would call me miss J

Anyway back to my class. I repeated my name and told them that they were going to learn about computers alright.. but before that they had to tell me, what they knew about it.

When I asked them the school name. I got an answer alright.. but again in chorus.. “fndsklncfffsfksdlk” is what I understood. I requested one of the students to answer “Priyadarshini Girls High School”.

I now understand, why teachers asked us to lift our hands… You just can’t understand what these kids tell you when in chorus J

I divided them into 4 groups so that I could get different opinions… They first told me what they knew…

“It’s an electronic machine”

“You can play games”

“You can talk to each other and also look at each other, face to face, even if you are countries apart”

“You can communicate easily”

“You can get lot of information”

And much more… I was trying to formulate my plan, on how to tell what to these kids.

And, I also tried to get what goals these kids had. Some wanted to be teachers, doctors, police, software engineer, military, district commissioner and some of them had no goals. So I tried to tell them how computers would help them in any field they wish to take up.

We started off with switching on the laptop. Only why laptop is called a “LAPTOP”. How a monitor looks. What a keyboard and mouse does.Then I made 4 of them come front to enact as monitor, keyboard, processor and a user and showed them how a computer does simple things like addition of 2 numbers.

And then after a lot of anecdotes and examples, I now let the kids use the laptop. The moment everybody were waiting for. I opened up MS-Paint for them. They went crazy over it. It was as good as how the toddlers feel when you introduce them to the actual paint.

I felt a bad, since there was only 1 laptop and so many kids, so rationing the usage time was very difficult. It had already been 2 hours and we hadn’t realized.

One of their teachers came upto me asking if the class is over and if he could take the students. The students dint want the class to get over, I did not want the class to get over. But the time was up. Infact we were supposed to have the class for some more time, but it seems the students had to leave since they had to have breakfast and also, their teachers were waiting.

This was the pic.. my students created in ms paint.

With heavy heart, we had to let go of each other. With a lot of good bye miss, and then shaking hands (I felt like a celebrity), we took a couple of selfies. “Bye miss” “Bye miss” was heard continuously for a couple of minutes. As I was packing my bags, I could feel “Inner peace”, if only for a few minutes. One of our collegues came and asked me, how I felt. Though there was a flood of feelings in my mind, all I could muster at that point was “Amazing” (with thumbs up). The “Bye Miss” brigade was still on, and I was waving to the kids.

The moment reminds me of the song, from the movie “Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara”
“der lagi lekin…maine abhi jeena seekh liya..
aasuon ke bin.. maine ab hai jeena seekh liya”

We returned to our rooms, and then thought of going to the park which was right next to the Math. As we were near the entrance, we saw some students leaving the campus. A group of girls came near me. These were the same girls in my class. So they asked me where I was from. Then one of them asked me for my phone number. I oblidged. And then another girl asked “Miss, can I have your autograph”. I was in shock. Somebody is asking me for my autograph… I don’t remember anybody ever asking me for this. So I did give my autograph to 2 of them.

After all this, the students left for the day. We roamed around the math, then the park. If anybody is going to Chitradurga, the fort is a must visit, and if you have some time, do visit the park too.. A very good theme park, on showing how human evolution has happened etc. There were lot of people visiting.

Around 4.30 PM, we started from the place, and finally reached our homes by 9.30 PM. It was a day very well spent.

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