It had been a long, hectic week already. All I wanted was some sleep and peace and to be with myself for a bit, all of which had been missing for a little too long time now. But all this wasn’t going to happen, I knew, though weekend was here but so was THE TIME. It was the time to break from the little semi-open space of mine from behind what I could see what happening around but never had the guts to break out of it to take a step or a stand. It was the time to achieve what I had been wanting since time long. It was time to take a LEAP. An online form filling process, an orientation and three inductions later it came to me that I was about to enter a classroom. Like a REAL one. With ACTUAL kids. And I was supposed to stand in front of them and ‘teach’ them art and craft. Really? I mean, we had had inductions, we knew what to do, we knew what the Right to Education meant, we had seen slideshows on how to react, on how to behave- everything had already been put up on a platter and served to us. But I had my apprehensions, it’s not as if I was facing the kids for the first time; being the eldest always teaches you how to behave with kids. But this was new, there were going to be many of them *a lot of them. But then again, hadn’t we been taught all of that during inductions? An amazing comeback from the confident part in my head. What if I forgot things? What if I went blank? What if there’s a situation and I don’t know how to handle it? What ifs and but’s- it was a crazy affair going on in my head, something which had no solution to it. A few hours later, there I was, at my metro station platform where I met my project coordinator. We shared about how we were feeling; I knew she was scared too. Slowly everyone started to pour in, the number kept growing with the passage of each metro station. There were laughs, yes, we all talked but nothing made it better for me- it felt like a war-like situation in the pit of my stomach. Finally we were there. We were standing in front of the school. Our school. My school. Something stopped me from going inside, maybe the semi-open space or was it semi-closed? I had too many a thoughts- endless thoughts! We started to climb the staircase and finally met our fellow, he said the kids had been waiting for their ‘surprise’ *us. The first steps inside the class and it felt like ‘it’. A voice in my head spoke- this is it- and it felt so much lighter. It felt as if this was meant to be. The kids were super excited; they screamed with joy, it felt as if we had already been accepted. Their smiles were so welcoming; their excitement was surprising and gave us such a homely feeling! We started with our introduction; they were SUCH good listeners for us. With that glint and beam never leaving their eyes, we felt responsible. We had them introduce themselves to us. We used a game as an ice-breaker. The kids enjoyed a lot and taking us in nooks and corners told us that they wanted to play more. It’s not just them who played; we all were involved in it, much like a family. After this, it was time for our main thing- the art and craft part of it, we did hand painting with them. We painted their hands in different colors and took the impressions and not only that, but while keeping in mind the design. What made it all the more fun was the eagerness with which the kids were doing it. They jumped around us like Lilliput’s- occasionally pulling us from different angles and directions. We were having a time like no other. With each and every second that passed, we only seemed to feel more connected to them. We watched videos after this which focused on the main core values of their classroom, the discussion of which was something that left us all spellbound. The way these kids came up with various pointers for the video, the way they linked it with their core values, we were awestruck by them. For a student of class 3 they knew way too much than we actually had known throughout our junior high! After this followed a closing dance, wherein we taught them the chicken step. There was a lot of excitement and screams of ‘hurray!’ as we told them that this was what their surprise was. Only this and it gave them so much happiness, there were smiles stretched from one side of their face to the other. And those smiles remained glued on them till the time we left. We realised that it was such a simple and easy task to make a kid smile; their happiness comes from the very little things in life- a dance, a video, a time well spent with them or even as small as a hi-five. There were a lot of defining moments throughout the class like the one where our fellow told us that a particular girl wanted to be a fashion designer because she wanted to design clothes for those who didn’t have them or the one when the kids asked us whether we would come every day and on knowing that Saturday was the only allotted day for us, got disappointed. The way they would hold your hand to shake it or give you a hi-five gave us this indescribable feeling of happiness and responsibility. I took the LEAP; we all do at some point of life and that is what brings about a change, a new wave in our lives.
And why write about it than talk? Well, some things are better explained on paper than anything else.