Friday, December 29, 2006

Ramnagara school trip

Thorns made red by bleeding hearts.

Well, if not a bleeding heart, I indeed was in a quandary. Chalghatta school - 200 kids - never been on a school trip - wow! lets take them out - but how ??

The logistics was turning into a nightmare. A bus can take 50-60 kids, a long journey makes it 9k/bus, and entry fees. And, food expenses. Mysore beckoned, but entry fees & quite long a journey. Same tale with Shravanabelogala-Tallakad-Bellur circuit.


My morning run ---> solution thrashed. Check with Sunand. 'Yes! we will do it', he says. Bliss.

Funda: Thorns are mostly in our imagination, as in the pic above. The locust intimidates other predators with it thorn like legs.

And, so on a saturday morning 9th of Dec 06. All the 6th & 7th std kids were taken on a outing. The 5th std kids from Chalghatta, along with 3rd to 5th from the Bellur school will be taken to Fun-world sometime in Jan. An elaborate pooja for the bus, seemed to satisfy the bus driver. He had cribbed heavily that only 46 passengers are allowed, and we were 66 kids, 8 teacher staff, & 6 volunteers!!!
And soon, Sunand & Shweta got some major Anthakshari going in the bus. Latest Kannada songs from FM 137.66
Ramnagara was the destination. A rock-climbers paradise. A quite place, with vultures above ur head, place to be. We wanted to introduce the kids to trekking and rock-climbing.
And soon, after breakfast, Sunand launched onto what trekking is....rock climbing is......the equipment you need to be.....water bottles.....discipline....etc etc. At the end of the briefing, a boy promptly fainted!!!!
And soon, the 66 kids were divided into groups with volunteers Leena, Chetna, Shweta & Navrathan leading them. Sunand & Mallesh were the rock-climbing experts and leading the trek/climb. The teachers, esp the school HM Mary had a tough time in the small trek. She kept saying 'Since when have you been scheming this on me'...she struggled.....the kids literally ran.....and after some time 2 kids came back to help their HM!!!

Soon, we reached the base of Ramdevar betta. The joy here is the natural slide thats on this rock....the kids went up & slid down merrily.

We climbed up the hill, pitched in the equipment, and introduced rappling.
And after swift instructions from Mallesh & Sunand, the kids rappled down. It was a good test of their confidence, courage and trust.

Soon boyz & girls clamoured to get down. A few kept away, having a single rappling rope was becoming a botlle-neck. Shwetha took upon securing the harness & gloves.


By 5pm, we had finished with the last rappling kid, and went down for lunch. A good number of the kids had rappled down. The plan was also to visit Kokrebellur, some museum at chanpatna, and Rajarajeshwari temple. But, with rappling taking all the time we ditched it.
The school had raised Rs 2300 from the kids 50Rs each, from all those, who could pay. They covered food charges and also bought some canvas shoes for those needing it. Transport charges was covered by DSF. Rock climbing charges raised from volunteers.
The way back, the back benchers started with some major Ayyappa bajans, and soon being tired gave up and slept. It was 8:40pm, when the bus reached the school. Sunand wanted me to 'de-brief' the kids. And so, for the 66 kids seated in a corridor, that glowed in a yellow light lamp, for those who rappled, and those who didn't, with some of their parents watching, I spoke of 'Why adventure'....'Why push the body'...'Striving beyond the limits'...'Marathon running'.....'Rock climbing'....'Their exams'.....'their studies'.....'little more marks' The kids starred back sleepily, and their parents were quite.
Well, we managed to pull thru this outing safely. And, the kids enjoyed it. A new experience.
A zillion thanks to my buddy & Man Friday (Man Saturday ?) Sunand, who made this happen.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

School Trip - Malleshwaram Kannada and Urdu school

Star studded sky, the toy train, the swings and slides, boat rides, good food and the company of friends. When we as adults can enjoy all of this, why wouldn't the kids !
And our kids from the Government Primary - Kannada and Urdu
- School, Malleshwaram, who probably do not get to have this kind of fun too often were nothing less than ecstatic today !

We started early in the day and as expected the kids were all in school before we got there with the hot idlis. The kids helped us and themselves to a good breakfast and were all neatly seated in a disciplined assembly, but deep within raring to go. Thanks to Veeresh who brought the BMTC bus on time, ensuring we stuck to our schedule. We had one bus 121 kids and 16 adults... And all of us quite accommodative in a over-crowded bus. Thanks to our fear of one-ways, our excitement and the fact that our bus-driver was quite cautious... We reached our destinations and back, packing ourselves tightly up in the lone bus, very safely.

The Nehru Planetarium was our first stop. All 120 of our kids under one sky,
learning about the milky way and the constellations. The parade of planets and the darkening of the dome was applauded and thoroughly enjoyed by all. The show is called "The Solar System" and plays in Kannada at 10:30 am on Saturdays. The rebated ticket for Government school children can be procured at the counter at 10:15 am at a cost of Rs. 15 per person. [Contact No : 22266084 / 22203234]

Balbhavan welcomed us next. While the wait for the toy train was announced to
us, we stepped into the aquarium in the neighbouring building. The moment the first few of them stepped into the dark room, there was a sound of awe and amazement that gradually grew into a loud chatter, the kind that one of our volunteers classified as "sounding like a Fish Market". Never-the-less, adding to the dimensions of learning, was this experience, that opens up the young mind to the existence of such a variety of fish, in so many different colours sizes and shapes. The aquarium charges Rs. 2 for a child and Rs. 5 for an adult. They cut down the price by half, in case the school authorities carry a letter of authentication.

The toy train... as exciting as ever took us on one loop of the BalBhavan area. Quite realistic in terms of the Train experience when it runs through the tunnels and over the waterway and through Bamboo much as not when you see dinosaurs and other animals along the way. But it's a great experience for the kids. The roar while we passed through the tunnel, still resonates in the memories of today's outing. The Toy train tickets cost Rs. 5 per child and Rs. 10 for adults. The train operates after 11:30 am and has a lunch break between 1:30 and 2:30 pm.

Once off the train, the children rushed to the play area and spent the rest of their time on the swings, slides, boat rides, etc., wanting to be uninterrupted, except for lunch. After lunch, although they would've liked to spend more time at the play area, we decided to call it a day. The drive back was dotted with the undeterred enthusiasm, we started with... the kids singing, in more like a contest of sorts, loud and rocking !

Thanks... is what they said to us...

Thanks... is what we ought to say to DSF and our fellow volunteers - Ameya, Kavitha, Sri, Chilli and Vikram and their super effort, in the trip that we thought would be a big challenge in implementing.

Thanks to Mr. Dey and Mrs. Rajini for helping to sponsor a half of the

Thanks ... to all our children, who always bring us smiles, by just being themselves - innocent and genuine !