The 11th morning of the 11th month of 2011 saw me setting out – on behalf of Bookaroo in the City – for the Ahata Thakurdas M.C.D. Primary School for girls located in Karol Bagh, New Delhi.
Rajesh Khar from Pratham Books joined me there.
This school is tucked away in one of several narrow lanes bordering the Sarai Rohilla railway station. I was reminded of a time when one could take a leisurely walk down almost any of Delhi’s lanes or roads without fear of being pushed around, honked at or run over. How times have changed !
The little girls seated expectantly on a dari, welcoming me with friendly smiles, were from classes 1 to 5. After every story I told them, I stopped to ask if they wanted me to continue. Young kids are honest. If they don’t want to hear you any more, they tell you. Since these little girls kept nodding, I told them 4 stories and didn’t try their patience any further!
An interaction with children can often be tiring, but it is a most satisfying kind of tiredness.
After a pleasant chat with the Principal and teachers of the school, Rajesh and I left, plunging once again into the chaos and cacophony of modern Delhi.
Volunteer Urvashi Das writes about the session conducted by Tanya Luther Agarwal (via Bookaroo blog) …
“Words are beautiful” she wrote on a ruled piece of paper evidently torn from a school notebook extended to her by a little girl asking for an autograph.
You know you have a brilliant session when the children cheered gleefully and other kids popped their heads out of their classroom windows to listen to the speaker, intrigued by her story.
The story Tanya Luther Agarwal narrated to the 6th and 7th graders of Kendriya Vidyalay Air Force Station was “Jungle Brew”. A very interesting take on how the world’s first cup of “masala chai” came to be created.
The children sat on the concrete, restless,entertained, amused, excited, some moved away from a friend for talking too much, others distracted by my camera. Sitting in columns dressed in an uniform white, grey and navy, with red ribbons in the girls’ hair adding a touch of colour.
When the session ended the children surrounded Tanya Luther Agarwal like a swarm of bees, flooding her with questions and asking for autographs. And I couldn’t understand why I was asked to sign autographs too!