A cloudy Saturday morning at St. Catherine’s centre. Volunteers scrambling about… “You spoke to the bus guy? The snacks are here! Yes, enough for everyone. Where are the kids? Is the bus big enough???….”
The occasion for the excitement and anxiety was MAD Mumbai’s first ever placement bunch project. A Field Trip! Where? To a Biscuit factory! Goody goody! A project meticulously planned by our darling VP Placements – Aparajita and her awesome bunch.
Obviously, we were super-enthusiastic! A tad bit more than even the kids, maybe.
Soon, the kids rushed through the gates. Smiling faces, excited voices and laughter. And the questions! “When will the bus come, sir?” “Miss, we will play football????” “Will we only get to see biscuits being made?” Miss! Sir! …..
Somewhere in the middle of pacifying the unusually unruly kids, trying to settle them down in the classroom, assuring them that a) the bus would come for sure, b) They would get to take goodies home, and, c) We would sing and dance in the bus.
Each of us realized what terror we must have spelt for our teachers on such trips, back in school.
Finally, the blessed bus came, the kids were divided into ‘partners’ and we set off. And did we set off in style or what! I’m sure the whole neighborhood must have realized what was happening.
Once aboard the bus, we began singing. At the very top of our voice. And the Kids? They knew the lyrics by heart! We sang ourselves hoarse, and before we realized, there were three ‘Antakshari’ sessions going on in the bus, and volunteers were singing, dancing and doing whatnot!
This led to a lot of ‘Haww, Miss, you dance like Shakira!” “Wow Sir! Do you know Waka Waka?” (Yes, our kids know the song.) Snacks were passed around, eaten and it was back to the songs!
Somewhere in the middle of all this, we reached the Parle Biscuit Factory. The first thing that welcomed us was the aroma! That feel-good, sweet-smelling, warm fragrance of oven-fresh biscuits! We all sniffed and let it fill us up, as we entered the colossal gates.
I must say, once we reached, our otherwise naughty brats behaved like angels, and we couldn’t have been more proud. The Parle guys were awesome too. An animated film with a Genie explaining the biscuit & chocolate making process! Even in the dark auditorium, we saw the kids smiling and going ‘Wowww!’!! And all of us – kids and volunteers couldn’t help but drool at the sight of mountains of colourful candies and chocolates piled high!
Then followed the actual tour! Dough being moulded into biscuits, gigantic ovens that hissed, and biscuits sailing on endless waves of conveyor belts
The kids’ reactions – “Wow!! So many biscuits! See? That is where they get the Parle-G ‘Stamp’ (the Moulding section). See? Paper from here, biscuits from there and ready packets! (the packaging section).” Even our guide was impressed! Imagine their delight when they saw melody chocolates ‘raining’, as one of the kids put it!
The singing continued on the way back and soon, it was time to say bye! We wished it could have gone on forever, like the kids said!
The hugs, flying kisses, ‘thank you’s’ and comments by the kids made every effort taken by the team seem worth it! Content smiles lit up our faces, as we realized, this was the PERFECT start to Placements this year. And as they say, well begun is half done!
Plans are on for a whole lot of fun stuff for the kids, and well, you shall see!!!