WHEN SANJAY SMILED….!!!!!

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Today evening sitting by a lake I felt a cold breeze passing by, it reminded me of a small incident last winter, just thought of penning it down. It was November of 2010 and winter here in Seoni a small town in southern Madhya Pradesh was fairly demonstrating its presence. I was disappointed with the frequent failures of entrepreneurial attempts, and in between an idea I always wanted to try, once again stroked my mind in a morning. Idea roughly was to install an old computer in a school and teach children using videos, songs, pictures and all. That afternoon only my phone rang it was a gentleman telling me that he knows my family and is a professor and is also interested in helping me in any type of social intervention I try. A week passed and a day I visited that person, as he was a professor he introduced me to few of his students interested in such activities I shared the Idea which I know no one understood but one thing I still do not know is why they committed to help me that day. But the good news was “project is on”.

I worked out to find a school and landed up at an anganwadi which actually is a govt. play school in a nearby village, someone told me that it will not work with such small kids and it made me confident that now I wanted to do it here only, volunteers informed, dates decided and we were all set to start. First day we reached, the target was to introduce ourselves to children. There were 24 of them all between 3 to 6 nisha, radha, surmila, chotu, kanhaiya …..!!! , I had never dealt with such small kids before apart from my family kids so I had no idea what to do, thus we carried few chocolates as bribing always works till you are inside Indian borders and children’s reaction proved it too. Next day’s target was a IQ test, it was no doubt displeasing for children that someone offering them chocolates a day before started asking the name of fruits and birds suddenly, but they managed it quite well.

In the process there was a boy hiding behind other children to save his chance of test I noticed and called him he didn’t responded I tried again and this time anganwadi worker Mamta madam intervened telling me that “bhaiya ye ladka bahut nalayak hai kuch nahi bolta..!!” {This boy is a moron he never speaks anything..!!}. I forcefully pulled him towards me as I can do it because I was at least five times heavier than him, I asked his name he didn’t replied but he looked towards me, I tried to start a conversation in which I failed again. I took out my camera and he looked at it the same way he was looking at me I don’t know what expressions do you call it when it is totally blank, but I clicked. The day ended and children’s IQ test records were noted down.

Next day started classes were on as we had used the last evening time to install the computer there. I was teaching the children and I noticed something the same boy was sitting in second row but away from the group, all the other children were shouting but he was still. After the class I again tried speaking to him and the same was the result. I discussed it with Mamta madam and she told me that Sanjay {it was his name Sanjay..!!} lost his father who committed suicide for some reason she also was very disappointed with his mothers attitude as according to her she does not care of her child at all. Mamta madam is a loving lady she cares children like her own, meeting such people challenge your general thoughts about government system in India.
Classes continued and energy in the class started increasing day by day, the use of music in the process was increased and children started becoming our friends, few days passed and I don’t know why but that blank expression was bothering me I was not at all convinced with one boy responding not at all to the activity, and this is why I kept a conscious observation on him.
I think it was some 12th day and something different happened, while all the children were singing {better call it shouting} “twinkle twinkle little star..!!”, I observed that Sanjay’s lips were moving he definitely was not singing along but subconsciously his lips were moving , and there it was something started working. Days passed we also didn’t noticed when we got lost in the daily process of teaching, playing, singing, dancing with the kids. But one thing everyone was noticing was Sanjay, because that boy has actually started reacting, singing along with the children.

Things were changed classroom now looks brighter to me, I felt like getting what I wanted out of my work. Ooh lord..!! He had started laughing… I still remember the day when he shouted for the first time “Jhoooniieee Jhoooniiee yas papa…” that expressions were hypnotizing and I am still hypnotized.

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