The loss of that one point to hit the century in mathematics in my first board exam feels like a historical loss even after so many years. This number 100 brings different emotions to different people in different contexts.
At this point, the century I am awaiting to happen is very exceptional. This is the day the Rajabazar Public Action Group (PAG) will hit its 100th Children session. This maybe a very insignificant milestone, but, to me this century is equivalent to a soccer player’s 100th goal or a musician’s 100th concert. Not many get to chance to rejoice a century of this kind in their lifespan.
They just had their 99th children’s session on the 30th April. This day makes me rummage through memories of day one when we managed to get 60+ odd children to a place after venue hunting, poster-ing (in a language which none could read) for a week or two. This upcoming 100th session reminds me of the struggle of many day zeroes (of about two years) towards building credibility and visibility in the area after we initiated the PAG.
It has been exactly 6 years from the very first day zero – the same day when I was lost in the murky labyrinth in Rajabazar with 2 other unknown (at that time) people – Puskar and Varma Ji. Of course we – those 3/4 people who mastered all the corridors in the slum – do not walk in them now. Now the patrons are much able and younger generation of volunteers. But, no matter wherever I am, whichever function I contribute, my heart and eyes still dwell there from thousands of miles away. The feeling of seeing the group standing steady on its feet and doing such incredible work makes me proud – almost like a parent.
However, I wish by the time someone like me cherishes the second century, we lose our necessity to be active there at Rajabazar as we build a truly child friendly vicinity. There is no harm in dreaming as long as we strive towards achieving that. More power to all!
(Spandan joined as a CRY volunteer in April 2011 and is currently working as an Analyst in Ernst & Young. The PAG in Rajabazar works with a focus on the education and health of the children through joyful learning sessions, curricular activities, emphasis on enrollment and health camps. The volunteers aim to create an area free of any child rights violations. )