Of Kolams and Readings

So I was a volunteer to Pratham Books initiative for 100 readings  across India on the World Literacy Day September 8th.

I spoke to Swaram, asking her if she could suggest and NGO in Bombay where I could read to a set of kids..I didnt want to do it in a library or a book store..dont ask me *rolls eyes*

Anyways, she was sweet enough to connect me to her contacts, but unfortunately things didnt work out from the guy’s end in Bombay, and Pratham books were sweet enough to suggest ‘Project Crayon’

So, I got in touch with them, and they were sweet enough to agree.

So I went there, with R and my office friend SDT in tow to click pictures..RD was caught up with some work and couldnt come, anyways, next time.

First – Thanks to both Project Crayon and Pratham Books.

Second – Maya of Pratham Books is an absolutely doll! I pestered her like 100 times since I didnt get the book on time, but she was patient every time, went out of her way to help me get the book and finally the courier didnt arrive and I got the address of distributor from her and then managed to get the book 🙂

The book was Susheela’s Kolam.

And so I spoke to the lovely lady at Project Crayons who gave me the teacher’s name and then we agreed to read the book between 11 to 12 in the morning..My friend SDT agreed to come to take pictures….RD was a bit skeptical about the distance and didnt know if we would get ricks, so all three of us, R, SDT and I reached at 10 instead of 11 heheheeh 🙂

Anyways we enjoyed just standing there for a while and then the teacher UN came to pick us up.

We walked through the slums to reach the place a small room, where the kids were there…we reached there walking through extreme conditions honestly…there were very very small shanties with not even a pakka roof, definitely no sanitation facilities with the water flowing through the road, houses just put together right next to each other, often separated by plastic sheets…It was an eye opener…I really give it to UN and the teachers there who slog tirelessly to ensure that the kids attend school..I am sure for them to get the kids to attend school is a very very difficult task…please go take a look at their website, I salute the teachers there…

Anyways, we reached there by 10.50 and teacher asked me to wait for a while before starting because they were sure some kids would come in..and they came in slowly…on the total there were about 22 kids who came in from the age of 6 years of 12 years…R was first a bit silent, but slowly opened up and came to her brattish self 🙂

First the kids started with the prayer and then told all the lovely rhymes…R recognized quite a few..and trust me they were GOOD!

Anyways, so I started, first introducing myself, thanking Pratham and thanking Project crayon and then told them that I will tell the story in English and then in Hindi.

So thats exactly what I did….I think they liked it, at least no one yawned 🙂 and they were looking at me with a lot of interest…A few of them were amazingly smart…they helped me translate words from English to Hindi…and I finished the reading…

Then I asked them where all they thought ‘Kolams’ could be made…and they come up with super duper ideas…and they translated the English words to Hindi and vice versa..some of them were shy and spoke only when I coaxed them to answer…

R was the brat running here and there and telling me to if she could start distributing stuff!

Anyways, after we figured out where all Susheela could draw Kolams including the top of autos and doors, and side of the bikes, and cars, and where not! I distributed blank greeting cards to the kids..and told them that I will draw a simple kolam on the board and they can copy it and then colour it and give it to their parents, grandparents…one kid asked ‘meri sister ko dena hai’ and I was like okie 🙂

Anyways, I must admit perhaps the kolam I chose was a bit complicated, but guess about 10 kids got it right 🙂 I helped the others..and then R had brought in all her crayons…the kids had a slight fight on who would take which colour, till the teacher’s genes in me kicked in and I was like everyone take only TWO colours…

While the kids were doing the colouring, I drew a simple kolam comprising of diamonds and then asked each kid to colour one diamond each, starting with the brat who was the youngest 🙂

anyways all the kids got a chance, and I had an assistant among them who told me which colour should be put where 🙂

We also decorated it with some flowers…and then came the highlight..my friend SDT was so sweet, that while the kids were doing the kolam on the floor, she walked through the place again and then came back with a big box of chocolates…

We distributed that, thanked the teachers, the kids..and I asked them if I could come back..and the kids were like ‘yes yes teacher’ and one of them tells the teacher ‘Please dont tell her no, let her come again’  :):)

So there, I wasnt a flop I guess!

Special thanks to my friend SDT who was absolutely amazing..engaging the kids, taking photos, handling R, being a big support system in all 🙂

Here are a few pictures 🙂










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68 Responses to Of Kolams and Readings

  1. My Era says:

    Wow! great effort RM….loved all you did and that Kolam too.
    *stands up and claps loudly*

  2. That’s an amazing thing you did RM! Sounds like it went really well. 🙂

    By the way, is that you in the green kurti teaching the kids? Just wondering because we’ve never seen you on here. And also wondering that you said you need to lose weight…if that’s you, you look fine to me!!

    • R's Mom says:

      Thank you thank you 🙂

      yes yes, thats me in the green kurti..errr…I am good at wearing clothes that camoflague the bum and the paunch 😉

    • Scribby says:

      PB, trust me she is not FAT, I’ve been telling this to everyone here cause I’ve seen her not once but twice 🙂 so first hand reporting: RM is not FAT she is perfect 🙂

      • R's Mom says:

        Yep for Scribby I am always perfect, thats why she loves me so much 🙂

        • momofrs says:

          RM, if that mehendi-green-kurti-clad woman is indeed you, then you need a big spank each time you crib about your weight 😐 😐
          I’ve never met you, but I can see that you are loads leaner than I am :|!!
          so zip your lip if you feel like calling yourself FAT !!!
          On to more important matters, I’m really impressed by this initiative of your’s. Very heart-warming. Keep up the good work 🙂
          And I’m glad little R was the proper little helping elf and not a typical whiney cribby baby who rants about going back home 😀 (my kids do that, so yeah, full marks to little R 🙂 )

  3. Wow! That is so so so amazing, RM. Kudos to you for volunteering to do that, and for all the effort that you guys put in! 🙂 Lovely!

  4. pixie says:

    wow!! Awesome!
    You are truly inspiring RM! 🙂

  5. Scribby says:

    I loveeeeeeeeeee you!

  6. Sujatha says:

    hey.. that was wonderful… Kuddos to u 🙂

  7. Ramya says:

    Believe me.. thats a wonderful task 🙂 And congrats for being such a good teacher.. its soooo tough to be satisfactory for all the kids 🙂 Kudos to u RM. by the way.. is that R with 2 kudumis in the last photos?

  8. The Bride says:

    Wow… looks like teacher could be your alternative profession!

  9. Amit says:

    That must have been an experience. It makes one feel good and happy, doesn’t it?
    Also, I feel that when you see people living in such conditions, you understand that life has been so kind to you.
    This was a great post. 🙂 We are all proud of you. 🙂

    • R's Mom says:

      yes Amit, I admit it was definitely an experience, and I was wondering if I could go once a month to do a reading! Honestly I dont want to commit, since being a working woman, my weekends seem precious to me *Selfish eh?*

  10. Lifesong says:

    Superlike this RM. Simply Wow! Great work 🙂
    You are an inspiration RM 🙂 Where did you go?

  11. ashreyamom says:

    wow.. thats great RM.. the kolam looks really good.. so its RM trying to become a teacher..
    let me tell u, again u are definitely not fat..u look perfect..
    looks like kids too had great time..

  12. Smitha says:

    Wow! That is amazing, RM! You (and Swaram) are truly inspirational! You took out your time, and went and I am sure made a huge difference. Even for our children, activities like these are so much fun, so for the slum kids, it must have been just amazing!

    As for your being fat – from which angle????? I should go hide myself somewhere if people like you call yourself fat 😦

  13. Smita says:

    Hats off to you RM… I seriously dont know how you manage to all these great things along with ur work…. I love you dear…. and am damn proud of you 🙂

  14. sandhya says:

    Way to go, RM! You brought back memories of the work we did, coincidently, at the Malvani slums when at medical college. I was posted at the health centre there for 8 months of my MD course.:)

    • R's Mom says:

      For EIGHT MONTHS *Falls at feet*

      I swear Sandhya, from there we went to the mall area of Bombay, and the starking difference in the levels of poverty and richness, gave me jitters…I was a bit unusually quiet that day, which RD mistook for me being angry at him for something 🙂

      But honestly, I really admire people who manage to go there day in and day out, face the crowd and yet make a difference…I dont think I could do it!

  15. Smita says:

    wow!!! This is something that I too would love to do but I never even try to do!

    Have you ever thought that may be Teaching is something that is close to your dream job? I mean u r good with kids, you are innovative with stories? Why not?

    Lovely set of pictures & great initiative! And like Babs says and as I have been saying forever, YOU ARE NOT FAT!

    • R's Mom says:

      why not? you should..next time I volunteer, I am making you my cameraman hehehe 🙂

      Oye, I am not good with kids at all…honestly, kids are mostly scared of me. 🙂

  16. uma says:

    Amazing. It’s indeed praise-worthy of you to have volunteered to do the reading, RM! kudos to you! Loved the kolams. The enthusiasm is palpable.
    I missed seeing the Ananda Vidyalaya event by Shruti and Arthi here in time, else would have surely attended it:-(

  17. Wow! A standing ovation to you and all those who put so much effort and show so much interest in giving back. I have got a lot to learn from you – about ‘making time’ to do something you truly believe in! Hats-off!

  18. deepM says:

    Simply Great RM!!

    U r really inspiration for me. You have got a job, kid, you are managing home, update this blog daily and still you do such great work and ppl like me always complain about not having time to do stuff.. 😦

    Hats off to you!! 🙂

  19. meenamenon says:

    Gr8 Job RM! Kudos to u……… what with peop like u n swaram i hope i get motivated enuf. BTW U guys make this world a much happier place.

    N hey assuming u the one in green kurthi – u aint fat at allll!

  20. Swaram says:

    So nice RM 🙂 Wonderful initiative from Pratham and u too 🙂
    Am sorry I could not help u with finding an NGO 🙄 U shud have told me na, I would have asked him again 😛

    • R's Mom says:

      why are you sorry…you did your bit na…no actually I think the timings didnt work out ..thats why the issue…but you are my inspiration for doing this you know that right?

  21. techie2mom says:

    It’s really nice of you to bring smiles to those little faces…my respect for you has grown more…
    I loved this idea and what Project crayon is doing.

  22. Hugs, lots of it ! It must have been such a beautiful experience 🙂

  23. God, these children look so sweet. Man, it breaks my heart. I feel so removed from how they live…so completely removed. I know it, I have seen it…still…
    To think of the heights they can reach given the right opportunities!
    Glad it went well and the kids enjoyed it!

  24. Clap clap clap
    Three cheers for you, R and SDT..

    Hip hip hurrraaaayyyyyy
    Hip hip huuuurrrrrrraaaaayyyy

    Well done . And way to go.

    Ps. After reading the couple of comments by pb and scribby.. that’s you in the pic, you been saying a lot on weight and this and that , no no no.. now I feel I am so fatttt.. if you call that girl in green fat, oh my I should remove my pics from my blog now…

  25. kashlife says:

    Wonderful job RM, it is a great feeling right? I really appreciate your effort.

    It reminds me of something. After my marriage, when I was in India, I used to give free tuition to orphanage students during weekends. I remember those kids were waiting for me at the gate every Saturday afternoon. More than teaching, I was interested in spending time with them, listening to them, their stories, dreams etc. It was a great experience :).

  26. Nameeta says:

    Hats off to you RM!!!

  27. vethal says:

    I did it here in Bangalore in my apartment complex. My 3 yr old son brawled since he was jealous. But for that one incident , the event went v well. I made my own twists to the story.

  28. vidya says:

    hey RM great job..ve to salute u….keep rocking my lady

  29. Arch says:

    🙂 RM, this is such a wonderful thing to do with R! You rock!

  30. Pingback: Tag Time – Blogging Marathon Post 5 | R's Mom

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