We will be featuring stories of people giving children a helping hand henceforth. This is the first story from a group of college boys in Sastra, Tanjavur, written by Sajit.
Birthdays in Sastra involves three main things; midnight birthday bumps, a feasty birthday treat, and sometimes a gift from money which was pooled in by friends. With my birthday approaching I was expecting all these things but not the birthday bumps with eagerness. But my friends decided to do something else. They wanted to do something for society and give back something , and they chose my birthday for this I was really touched by this. Although I couldn’t escape from the midnight beating(and it made me sleep upside down for a few days), we all decide to pool all the treat money and the money for my gift into doing something for society. We felt that donating the money wasn’t very helpful ,we really wanted to get an experience and make a few people happy. After some thinking we decided to do some thing for young orphans. We stumbled upon the Guild of service in Thanjore and we were really impressed by its functioning , so deciding to spend our money and time wisely we planned a few things for the home.
A couple of us went to the home one day and enquired about their requirements and their needs . After talking to the warden we looked around the place to see where we could make a difference . The ever intrigued kids followed us and when we were away from the warden we struck up a conversation with them to find out what were their requirements .After making a list of things required , we made a very important decision . A part of the compound wall was broken and we saw the feasibility of rebuilding it. Upon enquiring with the civil department of our college we got the estimate and we decided to take the initiative of building it although it would strain our budget. Our budget mainly consisted of the birthday money (two of us had birthdays ) and generous donations from many students from their own pockets. Everyone wanted to make a change .
We decided to visit the home on a Saturday so that we can spend a lot of time with the kids. While shopping for the items on the list on Friday we were shocked to see while passing by the orphanage; the wall had been rebuilt. On inquiry, we learnt from the warden , the Collector had visited the home a few days ago and on seeing the pathetic condition of the wall he had sanctioned money for rebuilding it. The cost of the repair work was 17000 and the estimate we had arrived at was 7000. Thank God , we hadn’t bitten more than we could have chewed.
The day arrived and we all went to the home (around 20 of us , all second years of various department). All of us were a little unsure of how to go about today; unsure of the reception we were going to receive and unsure about how we would communicate. On seeing us around twenty kids came running and stood in front of us. Twenty pair of eyeballs was looking at us eagerly. Watching our every move , then few of them smiled , we smiled , that’s it the ice was broken . All hell broke loose – everyone started talking jumping around and wanted their picture taken, every kid watched us with so much concentration and watched our every move. We were overjoyed. We had planned a few activities for them and a few games. We played running race , lemon and spoon race and breaking the balloon game ,ko-ko and of course in India what would boys do without playing cricket. In all these games I could see the fierce competition and everyone wanted to win or do something to please us. They wanted to get a compliment from us and wanted their achievement to be recognized.
Each kid had his own character , some were quite and shy, while others were very outgoing, few were so naughty we had to keep a very watchful eye. They were all full of energy and we had a hard time keeping pace with them. We got them juice packets as it was a very hot day, and in that process we thought them to stop littering. They unintentionally threw the packets to the ground and we all asked them to pick it up and put it in to the dustbins we had bought them. We really wanted everyone to follow this principle.
Ice cream -all the kids smiled when they heard this word, they were given it before their lunch and boy did they enjoy it. There was a satisfied feeling in their face, and I thought how these small joys means a world to them. After their lunch(we did nt have any), we distributed hero pens for the tenth students who had just returned from their tuition. After distributing the things which were required for the home it was time to say goodbye.
It was little emotional as the kids wanted us to stay longer and play with them , we sat with them for sometime and slowly stared telling that we had to go. They reluctantly let us go. I got to say even among the fifty students there were two or three kids who stood alone for their characters and a special bond was formed between us and them.
While returning to college we all decided to make this an annual affair and thus the first work of URAVUGAL has stared. The kids require dresses and shoes as they were very shabby. I got to say the visit did change something in all of us. We are trying to get more support from the college to continue this good work.