It was a gloomy Saturday afternoon. The sky was grey and the dark alto nimbus clouded over the generally green, but then grey city.
Somehow the city, normally buzzing with activity, seemed disconsolate. But one tiny part of Mangalore, the ‘Balika Ashram’ dint seem to be affected by the rains. In fact the place was bubbling with enthusiasm and fervor. MAD Mangalore was having its first Ice breaking session for this year in ‘Balika Ashram’. The core team members were sitting in the comfy office room, sorting out papers and allotting duties to all of us. Rest of the MAD volunteers came, half wet and with a big smile plastered on their faces. The enthusiasm was infectious. The new volunteers were given instructions ‘It’s simple. Just smile and be nice’.
Then we were lead to the main room, where all the little kids were waiting for us. When they saw their old teachers, they waved and ran towards them. It took a decent five minutes for everyone to finally settle down. Nikita then gave her warm welcome speech and assigned us the kids we were to teach this year.
As a newbie I was as scared as I was excited, to finally meet the kids. Everyone told me that the kids were very genial and warm. I had no doubt about that, but I was scared that perhaps I wouldn’t be able to gel with them, or they’ll think I’m some young girl speaking absolutely pathetic Kannada.
But the moment I saw them, all my fears went away. Saying that the kids were extremely nice would be an understatement. In a minute, they made me feel at home. I realized knowing to speak the local language wasn’t all that very important because the kids tried to speak as little of Kannada, as they could. I introduced myself and gave them a chance to tell me about themselves.
My batch was just like any other typical class. There was a one notorious brat, another one that wrote poetry, two others who liked sports and another one who wanted to be a doctor, the others chirpy and one very silent wondering what she was doing amidst a group of MAD people. Once the kids took me into their posse, I then gave them the test questions, which were supposed to determine how much of English they knew, but at the same time we were told not to tell them that it’s a test, but just a little quiz game. Needless to say, the kids did great!
It was an amazing day! We sang, we danced, we played, and we laughed. There also was a photo session where the kids posed like professional models, only with more innocence and more charm. The pictures we got would probably make Deepika Padukone get a complex! When it was time for us to leave, I felt a pang of sadness. But then again I was coming back in some time! Once I got back home, mom asked me how it went and I said ‘Ive got the most amazing kids ever!’ My mother gave me an uncanny look and walked away deciding not to test my level of insanity. When I told my MAD friends they said with an astute smile ‘Welcome to the club’.