As an intern, I don’t very often get to spend time with kids. So when presented with an opportunity to train kids for “World Dance Day” celebration, I thought, “why not?”
They had no idea what World Dance Day meant but it didn’t matter. Cause the word “dance” was there and they knew what that meant. They also understood that there was going to be a video recording. Suddenly a question sprouted from one of the tiny mouths – “Are we doing Kuthu dance, Belly Dance or Bollywood Dance?” And suddenly the room erupted with different kinds of dances. Some of which, I suspect, were original forms.
A few parents were reluctant to have their kids participate but when I mentioned that I was from CRY, they readily relented. It amazed me how much they trusted the organization.
While I have engaged in field work in Kerala, this was my first time in Bangalore and so I was quite worried about language barriers. I have a rudimentary knowledge of Hindiand know no Kannada or Tamil. But all my fears vanished when I interacted with the kids. They tried to make sense of what I spoke in English and eagerly translated it for others along with teaching me the basics of Tamil and Kannada– Vanakkam, Nimmahesaruennu, Chennagithira, Kannadagothilla. I was Akka for some, sister for others and even aunty for many.
As the video recording progressed, the children wanted to know where it was going to beuploaded. TV or Facebook? They needed to know so that they could tell everyone to watch it.
As I got ready to leave, I could hear little voices asking, “Akka, when will we see you again?” I wish I had an answer but I knew I didn’t.
I returned to my other duties as an intern and once again, I was asked to go support some volunteers. This time, to take a few kids to an exhibition called “Heritage on Wheels” and to visit Tipu Sultan’s Palace.
To my surprise, they were the same kids. They came running to me and I was engulfed in a group hug. I don’t think I can ever explain in words the warmth of their love.
The kids and I had a lot of fun visiting the palace. They knew all about the Sultan and shared the stories they heard from school and elders. There was even a debate on whether Tipu Sultan had been bald or had hair. After the palace, the children were divided into two groups. One group went to see the Heritage on Wheels exhibition and the second group got to discover the old building of Fort High School. After both groups got an opportunity to explore both, they gathered together for a storytelling session. Their enthusiasm prompted the organizers to also show them a video presentation on Bangalore and they returned as happy campers.
Everything in Bangalore has been a new experience for me and so was this field trip. From the volunteers I contacted over phone, the kids’ family members who guided me and most of all, the children– everybody extended warm helping hands.
I never thought people so unknown would help me so much. I leave with a heart full of love for the kids and the organization.
Nitha Paul, CRY Intern, Bangalore