14 April, 2011

Fly like paper, get high like planes.

Some days, you know, you are so happy that nothing can ruin it. And the best part about such days is that they are never planned.

One of them was yesterday.

As usual, I struggled to wake up and get out of the bed in the morning. I was super late, so skipped breakfast and ran to the station. And guess what, the trains were late too.
When I reached my destination eventually, it turned out someone already did my part of the work. Which is good but I went all the way there only to return immediately.

On my way home, in the train, my mom called and asked me if I wanted to come to her school. She is the head teacher at a Kannada school. So, I got off the train at the next station and took another one to get to her school.
It is situated in Dharavi. It is a government-aided school and most of the students are from the nearby slums.

I entered the office room and was greeted by three super cute kittens. Next thing I know, the students in the adjoining classroom start singing Vande Mataram, followed by other prayers. They even said the ‘India is my country’ pledge but in Kannada.
So I peeped inside the classrooms, there weren’t many students. Hardly nine or ten combining both first and second standard classes. These days, parents prefer sending their kids to English medium schools.

The classrooms were tiny with tiny benches and tinier desks. Charts were hanging in the walls. All in Kannada. Nothing made sense to me. I don’t understand Kannada. Even my parents sent me to an English medium school.

It was their second last day in school before summer vacations. Their exams were done, they had just come to school to, well, waste time.
My mom asked me to draw something on the board - nothing very difficult because the kids won’t be able to copy it. So I drew a car, a joker, an apple, a pineapple and grapes. Which turned out pretty decent. The kids drew them, coloured the pineapple blue, the apple green and the grapes yellow.

I don’t know why, but those kids found me very fascinating. They stared at me. Everywhere I went, their eyes followed me. And when I looked at them, they just gave me giant smiles.
Then, I borrowed a slate from a girl, and doodled something with chalk. The kids kept jumping around me to see what I was drawing.

In the second half of the day, the kids sang songs. Of course, I couldn’t understand because most of them were in Kannada. And they were all clapping, tapping, dancing while singing. They sang a few English songs too, something about potato wadas with many sound effects.
Then, one by one, each student went to the front of the class and sang songs. One girl sang and danced to the Madhuri Dixit song - channe ke khet mein. We all clapped and cheered.

I taught them to make a dog using marble paper. It was super easy and they got all excited. There were pink dongs, yellow dogs and even green and purple ones.
Then my mom – their teacher – left the room and we kids were all alone in the classroom. I taught them to make paper planes and we flew them around in the class. Red, yellow, green, pink, purple, orange air planes everywhere. It was the best part of the day. Racing planes. Trying to catch them. Some of them flew out of the window and into the neighbouring classrooms.

The bell rang and the school ended. The kids asked me to come again on the last day of school. Maybe we can fly some more paper planes.

Some days, you know, you are so happy.