8 Jun 2011

Trip down memory Lane - Be the Change

Be the change you want to see in the world - Mahatma Gandhi

I had read this line somewhere a long time ago. Honestly? I am not much of a memory person... Ok I admit, I am bad at remembering references, but this line has stayed with me since a long time and that is the reason I chose to share it with you today.
They say school days are unforgettable for everyone and childhood never returns. But 3 years back that myth was proven wrong by my batch classmates who apparently got together via every medium possible, from long-lost hotmail, to most recent twitter and facebook. Somehow the idea of a reunion clicked in the minds of some of us and a series of emails were shot through to every known batch-mate who had access to internet. It was amazing to see how networks work, and one person can make a difference. 4th May 2007 was decided as the date for the reunion with an approximate head count of 28 people expected to ‘rock the party’ as we called it. What we didn’t realize was that this reunion would end up getting us together for a cause that none of us anticipated.

Most of the people who turned up eventually for the event were US visiting batch-mates who promised to stay in touch, few were the shy ones who only came because of all the insisting we did, some only came to see what the whole big deal was and the remaining were me and my few other friends who stayed back to discuss what we can do as a group.

Me, Mrudula, Jatin, Nihar, Ashwin, were very keen on doing something for the community especially for the school who got us where we were today. The conversation led to the old days and what we as students would have enjoyed having in the school and how much we miss being associated with it. So we decided to visit the school and meet up with the teachers and principal just to re-live those days.

We reached the school one late afternoon, (of course that only happened after several calls to convince the principal the reason why we wanted permission to be in the premises) Old school playground that lay deserted, the classrooms which still bore our names carved on the desks, the staff rooms as always bubbling with conversations, library that hadn’t lost the fragrance of books and polish of the cabinets, reminded us of the Golden days. Apparently the guys even visited the boy’s washroom and re-lived some of their old times and came out with a weird code language that I and mrudula just couldn’t decipher.(it still remains a mystery to me and mrudula, :P but I guess some things are better that way). Meeting old teachers went quite well when we realized that they knew a lot of mischief we used to do around class with the impression that the teacher isn’t looking.

After a tour around the school, we met up with the principal who much to our surprise was very curious to know why we wanted to visit the school. We explained to her our attachment with the school and how we would like to keep our association in every way we can. We were given an idea of how children who cannot afford their education are dropping out of school and even though the school does everything to reduce the pressures for such families, there is little they can do since it’s a school with a board of trustees to reply to.

On our way out, we all had the same look and thought and we barely needed a second opinion on the same. We decided to utilize all the resources to reach out to all our reunion list of batch-mates and do something for the students who could not afford their education. The principal helped us out with the names of 10 unique cases where the child had the talent to learn, but parents were either single parent, or had genuine reasons for not being able to come up with the money. We came up with the money of approximately Rs. 30,000 that year. With the fees of 1500 for the year covered in the contribution, the remaining amount of 1500 was used to provide the remaining necessities to the child, notebooks, pencil box, crayons, pen sets, Tiffin boxes, school bag, etc.

We personally visited the school to give this contribution and the principal had made sure that we get the chance to meet every parent of the child we are contributing for. A mother suffering from cancer, a single mom taking care of 3 children whose father abandoned them, a sister taking care of her brother by doing part-time job while studying herself, and many more cases came to our attention.

It was an amazing feeling to reach out to such kind, and we have continued to do it since last 3 years. This year, we are starting our drive again for this cause and hoping to raise the bar a little higher. Its our school’s 50th Anniversary and we intend to make sure its special in a lot more ways than just monetary contribution. Sports kits for the school, money for the annual function this year, a prize for the competitions held during the annual celebration and a special something is planned for the teachers in the school from our batch.

We are all doing our bit for the institution that made us the people we are today and we genuinely believe that if every little help counts when it comes to promoting education.

We, students of North Bombay Welfare Society high School, Ghatkopar, Mumbai are doing out bit…Are you?


Mrudula said...

Feels good to reconnect to old friends... :)

Shubbhi said...

wow, that is amazing. love the thought as well as the effort. i will surely share it.