Friday, August 27, 2004

Social service for?

So after two meetings with Prof . VK who was pretty enthusiastic, we were supposed to go to the adult school and choose representatives frm there .

Rn was also ready to come , so we went almost on time to VK's office where he told us that there was some change of plans and that another prof and his wife have started a school for slum children and we could help out there. Since both rn and i preferred working with small kids we agreed and left for the place which is 3 bucks away from college.

As we were walking towards the gate, one of our seniors, just the third person who was ready to do this kinda work came along. He insisted that we wait till a car from our college comes to pick us up and take us to the school. We were surprised and said we didnt mind because its not very far and we can afford to pay 6 bucks. He just looked at us weirdly and told us he'd come with A, the NSS coordinator, someone who usually sucks up to all the faculty members. We were glad to leave him behind and walked on.

We reached the place to find a slightly stuffy classroom with around 30-40 kids in it. They were pretty cute though scruffy and there were two or three volunteers walking around teaching them telugu. The moment we walked in, a few kids got up and st arted shouting 'good evening madam, good evening!' . Was very cute.

Since i've got very rudimentary knowledge of the language i just looked around. Found a kid who i could talk to in urdu and made him do some work. From other small kids who used to come home to study, i've learnt something thats very helpful to get the kid to co-operate. Instant appreciation and praise. Works like nothing else does. I told this kid that he had very neat handwriting (and it really was very tidy) and from that minute onwards he kept rewriting every number that he wrote. Always works! Taught him some stuff.

Rn had a more funny experience. She was sitting between a small girl and boy. The boy was melancholy personified, rn said it was so hard getting him excited about anything, he just wouldnt show any enthusiasm. As for the girl, she wouldnt pay any attention to what rn was saying and kept playing with the locket hanging from rn's neck or to touch rn's dress and admire it. Was funny the way rn described it.

Will go back some time next week. As we were leaving the chota mota 'ischool', the NSS co-ord came up to us and said .. 'Since this isnt part of the official NSS work why do you want to work here ? When I was in NSS as part of _____ school in _____ (I had heard this statement three or four times already since the evening) we did a lot of other work like cleaning up slum areas,planting trees, giving speeches about health and hygiene etc. Why do you want to work as part of the school?' Rn replied politely but acidly that we were interested in working with small kids and we'd prefer this work to the NSS work irrespective of whether we were part of NSS or no. 'Well, still ...'he said, 'I've got her name through email already, why dont you send me yours also.. then i can put you in for the NSS list whether you're working or not, just to keep a record you know ' . Rn agreed since he kept cajoling her to do it and then he added 'Achcha , next time we'll make sure we get the institute's car to come here, then you can use that to come and go' Both of us replied that we didnt need the car, it was near enough. He broke in and said '.. No , if we're getting the facility we must make use of it, when the college can use it for other purposes why not this also?' This made us real mad and I said 'We're doing this for our personal satisfaction, it doesnt matter whether we're doing it for the NSS or for anything else. Its hardly any distance and we dont mind coming on our own'. He made some more stupid excuses after that. Do people have to be so selfish when they're doing social work too? Made us feel really mad.

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