Kutties Carnival

‘Play is the work of childhood’ – Jean Piaget

To give the children a day of play and fun – a Carnival! – with magic and colour and wonder and games… the stuff that is spun in the depths of dreams and longings of every child came from the head of Jyothi. And was backed by every member of Siragugal with heart and soul.

A couple of meetings to discuss what where when who and how put the framework in . A morning of workshops and an afternoon of magic and games at the Thalaiyattumund School was the frame work decided on. A trial run so we could expand later to include more schools and more events.

10th March saw Roopa , Sangeeetha, Jyothi, Desiree, Nivishna and others gather to decorate the school with paper flowers and buntings and balloons. In view of sudden rains it was decided to host the even inside the classroom.

11th March, 2017. Only the 8th standard kids were asked to come and help with preparations. 60 children turned up to add to glorious confusion. But it was their day after all!


A last minute gap in the morning slot was graciously filled in by Karuna Sendhilnathan with storytelling that held the kids rapt.


Simultaneously Sapna held another workshop making puppets with socks.Adding eyes and giving names to their puppets engaged another set.

Juniors lined up for some fabulous face painting , while waiting they watched Tom and Jerry. With some of the parents from the Main Bazaar school who were included in the group.

Break at 11 and the kids lined up for cake made by Desiree , biscuits from Jyothi  and an orange drink.

Groups get interchanged for the workshops. All eyes are on the juniors who dazzle as Batman, Superman, Wolf, Bird and a host of other creatures.

Everyone enjoys a heart vegetable biryani made by Roopa’s cook. And ask for more. The ominous look of rain cuts short lunch  break.


Shahul the magician shifts his show inside one classroom. These kids have not seen a magic show before and watch with open eyes.  Loath for the magic to stop.

Meanwhile volunteers are getting games stalls ready. Go Fish, Darts, Hoopla, carom, 7 more, Pin the tail, Memory game, 2 buckets and a Ball….. the volunteers start making up more games as kids line up again and again. The games become the greatest hit of the day and the children don’t want to stop playing ever.

We finally shoo them home with the help of the teachers at 5.30 p.m. and go home very happy and tired!

With our faces and hands painted !!  The child in each one of us !

The next day saw the painted faces in the HIndu and Thina malar.



New Shoes! Pretty Shoes!

As a spin off of the Sports Program, we wanted to give all the kids sports shoes so they could feel some pride in them and be encouraged to play.

The idea of collecting used  shoes was discussed and dropped as being too cumbersome. Matching shoes to each child would be difficult and may not happen. New shoes would be easier and much nicer for the children.

We decided to put out a campaign on Facebook. But even before we did that, contributions from friends and family began coming in which covered our costs and even stretched to a pair of socks for each child.

The shoes were sourced from a local shoe shop. They came and measured the kids sizes and delivered them to the school.

Distribution was on 22nd February, 2017 . It was a wonderful day of happiness for all of us, children and adults. Shalini who contributed her first salary, Desiree, Nivishna, Sangeetha, Roopa, Prema, and Kalyani happily distributed the shoes

Using the Sports Field

What started as a wild wish to create a skating rink for the children of the locality tamed down into practical , doable use of the playground next to the school.

The school could not claim exclusive rights to the playground because it is the only open space in the village and hence used for all kinds of games and village festivals.

Deciding to hold games from 4.30 to 5.30 every evening was the first step. Making it alternate days for boys and girls was the next. Balls and nets were bought. The children were enthusiastic and the games began  with volleyball and the more popular , football. The boys knew much more about the rules and taught us which we passed on to the girls.

Claiming the field for the one-hour has been a long and drawn out battle. First it was driving out the cattle which were used to grazing there. Then it was tackling the older boys of the village who had long established rights for cricket, marble and general hanging out. Cajoling, talking, persuasion, threats.. each day was a new trial.

Its taken more than 3 months to establish routines. Running, warm up exercises, and then the games.  The children are now stronger, faster and quick to pick up the ball and reluctant to let go.

A Little Boy

This is  a wonderful poem with a message, all of us with children, should read

Once a little boy went to school.

He was quite a little boy

And it was quite a big school.

But the little boy

Found that he could go to his room

By walking in from the door outside,

He was happy

And school did not seem

Quite so big any more.

One morning,

When the little boy had been in school awhile,

The teacher said:

Today we are going to make a picture.

Good, thought the little boy.

He liked to make pictures.

He could make all things;

Lions and tigers,

Chickens and cows,

Trains and boats –

And he took out his box of crayons

And began to draw.

But the teacher said, Wait.

It is not time to begin.

And she waited until everyone looked ready.

Now, said the teacher,

We are going to make flowers.

Good, thought the little boy.

He liked to make flowers,

And he began to make beautiful flowers.

With his pink and orange and blue crayons.

But the teacher said, Wait!

And I will show you how.

And it was red, with a green stem.

There, said the teacher,

Now you may begin.

The little boy looked at the teacher’s flower.

Then he looked at his own flower.

He liked his flower better than the teacher’s.

But he did not say this.

He just turned his paper over

And he made a flower like the teacher’s.

It was red, with a green stem.

On another day,

When the little boy had opened

The door from outside all by himself,

The teacher said:

Today we are going to make something with clay.

Good, thought the little boy.

He liked clay.

He could make all kinds of things with clay:

Snakes and snowmen,

Elephants and mice,

Cars and trucks –

And he began to pull and pinch

His ball of clay.

But the teacher said:

Wait, it is not time to begin.

And she waited until everyone looked ready.

Now, said the teacher,

We are going to make a dish,

He liked to make dishes,

And he began to make some

That were all shapes and sizes.

But the teacher said, Wait

And I will show you how.

And she showed everyone how to make

One deep dish.

There, said the teacher.

Now you may begin.

The little boy looked at the teacher’s dish,

Then he looked at his own.

He liked his dishes better than the teacher’s.

But he did not say this.

He just rolled his clay into a big ball again

And he made a dish just like the teacher’s.

It was a deep dish.

And pretty soon the little boy learned to wait,

And to watch, And to make things just like the teacher.

And pretty soon

He didn’t make anything of his own any more.

Then it happened

That the little boy and his family

Moved into another house,

In another city,

And the little boy had to go to another school.

This school was even bigger than the other one,

And there was no door from the outside into his room.

He had to go up some steps,

And walk down a long hall

To get to his room.

And the very first day

He was there,

The teacher said:

Today we are going to make a picture.

Good, thought the little boy,

And he waited for the teacher

To tell him what to do.

But the teacher didn’t say anything.

She just walked around the room.

When she came to the little boy she said:

Don’t you want to make a picture?

Yes, said the little boy,

What are we going to make?

I don’t know until you make it, said the teacher.

How shall I make it? asked the little boy.

Why, anyway you like, said the teacher.

And any colour? asked the little boy.

Any colour, said the teacher.

If everyone made the same picture,

And used the same colours,

How would I know who made what?

And which was which?

I don’t know, said the little boy,

And he began to make a red flower with a green stem.

                                                                                                                   Helen Buckley

little boy portraits