Those First Days..

I figure Hijaz never really wanted to ask me to join MAD.. I just happened to be standing around gawking while he was asking a couple of my other friends if they’d be interested… He probably told me about it just to be polite… (He’ll probably deny it now too!!)

Anyhow, like most people do when I talk about Mad now, I listened to him inwardly smirking.. Thinking ‘Yeah, right!! Like I have nothiing better to do. It doesn’t pay either.’ And I never, ever, like ever, figured I’d be so involved one day, that I’d be sitting up at two in the morning and writing this down… (Caffeine, thou art my best friend!!)

Anyhow, I didn’t give it much thought.. And then, one day, I just figured, since I was officially the most jobless person in the world, I might just go to a meeting and find out how things worked…

Hijaz took me to that meeting, sometime in the middle of May I suppose, and I can still faintly remember being skeptical about the entire deal… Trust me, even then, I hadn’t made my mind up on joining.. But there I was.. And, Mr. Hijaz also conveniently forgot to mention the fact that I’d be interviewed, but when he finally told me, ten minutes before showing up at the meeting, I just took a deep breath and summoned every reservoir of manly hormones I had.. I was going to see this through.. What did I have to lose anyway…

The meeting was OK.. Lots of unfamiliar people.. The uncomfortable silences that I’m so used to.. The whole package… And I still hadn’t made up my mind… But then, it was interview time… I was a bit nervous.. Hijaz had warned me that my confidence levels might be put to the test.. But I kept telling myself that I had nothing to lose.. Nothing to gain… (And, how wrong i was!!)

Anyhow, Varkey and Nikhila did my interview… Nikhila told me later one day that they’d just had some sort of disagreement regarding treatment of the interviewees or something.. Point is, coz of that, those two went easy on me.. I’d like to say I aced it.. But my interviewers might see this, so I won’t.. :)  And, I was officially accepted as a Mad volunteer…

But the biggest challenge still remained… Going in and taking class.. After coming back from my month long sojourn in June, I dived straight into it.. YMCA it was… One very wet Friday…

One of my favourite pics.. Victory celebrations... :)
One of my favourite pics.. Victory celebrations... :)

Calling up Sibi and giving him a heads up, or finding my way to the orphanage and getting lost ten times on the way were the minor details.. But I still remember what happened in the class itself vividly….

Couple of the kids had just been in a fight.. And, the little disciplinarian inside Sibi was offended… While I stood by watching, he ranted on and on about not taking matters into their own hands, and blah blah and blah blah… And I was thinking to myself.. “Man!! I can’t do this.. If they end up fighting, I’ll probably stand by and clap them on.. I’m no friggin humanitarian damn it!!”

Anyhow, that was how it started.. At first I was pensive about messing up… Afraid of saying the wrong thing.. It is an under priveleged home after all.. And, the basic assumption is that the under privileged class constitutes another realm of human existence entirely… But then things changed..

Now trust me.. I’m no great soul.. Or benevolent human being… I’m a blood sucking, college going, air breathing, food devouring human being like everybody else… But, what I do on those two days of the week… Now, that’s a way of reinventing myself, redefining myself.. And I’m sure it is the case with a lot of Mad volunteers……

Onam at YMCA...
Onam at YMCA... Think I'm in there somewere!!

Somewhere down the line, those kids there became my friends, rather than my students… And trust me, they are really cool kids.. Every story there is a tragedy of it’s own, but they still find it in themselves to try and have a good time.. At least when we volunteers are there two times a week.. And, that just inspired me… Now I can’t wait for my classes… It’s not an obligation or responsibility anymore… It is….. life… It is part of the bigger picture of life, rather….

But don’t get me wrong here.. I do have my bad days… Actually, now that I think about it.. I have more bad days than good days.. I don’t think there is not even one teacher in the world who hasn’t, at one point or another, doubted his teaching skills… I go through that phase all the time.. But persistence is the key… (Man, that sounded a lot like advise.. Don’t worry, won’t happen again…Promise…)

Five months ago, I was just another guy…. Just another skeptic human soul.. And somewhere down the line, I became a Mad volunteer…. And now? Now, I’m a believer.. Yes, we can do good.. I do it four hours every week!!

What about you??

:)

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Comments

  1. admin says

    ” I’m a blood sucking, college going, air breathing, food devouring human being like everybody else… But, what I do on those two days of the week… Now, that’s a way of reinventing myself, redefining myself.. And I’m sure it is the case with a lot of Mad volunteers……”

    I have always wondered…do really need to wear those khadi kurthas an act serious and pretend we are the epitome of righteousness to be a social worker??

    Cant we just be who we are…a lil less perfect, but still with some good intentions..to do something we believe in…to Make a Difference..and still have some fun doing it??

  2. admin says

    ” I’m a blood sucking, college going, air breathing, food devouring human being like everybody else… But, what I do on those two days of the week… Now, that’s a way of reinventing myself, redefining myself.. And I’m sure it is the case with a lot of Mad volunteers……”

    I have always wondered…do really need to wear those khadi kurthas an act serious and pretend we are the epitome of righteousness to be a social worker??

    Cant we just be who we are…a lil less perfect, but still with some good intentions..to do something we believe in…to Make a Difference..and still have some fun doing it??

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