A day filled with joy, laughter, a feeling of connectedness all the time! A very simple day which was
our weekly day to be a part of the lives of children @ Sundapalayam Primary School, Coimbatore. It began with Malaichamy, our fruit vendor @ Race course. He is a shining example of the many leadership lessons that Robin Sharma quotes! Ever so generous, ever so smiling and ever so welcoming!
There was such a seamless flow in our team of volunteers. Kousalya, being new to the team, chose to observe and supported us so unobtrusively by clicking such beautiful moments and recording a powerhouse emerge in the form of Arul!
After our customary Yogasana and meditation session our focus was on November 14th, which is celebrated as Children's Day in India.
Does celebration need a day? For lower primary children, everyday is filled with excitement, curiosity, fights, laughter, pushing, pulling and pinching, secrets, looking at something with a longing, eyes wide open and such a big smile when something unexpected is got - all this and much more happens whether Children's Day or not!
Volunteer: Do you know why Children's Day is celebrated?
Chorus answer: Nehru porandha naal (Nehru's birthday)
Volunteer: Do you know what flower he likes?
Chorus answer: Rose
Volunteer: Have you seen his picture or photo?
Children: (feeble) yes! (most of them) no! (none of the grade 1 to 5 textbooks seem to have his picture or that is the impression we got from the children.)
After this customary dialogue, we celebrated the day with fruits. Mango undoubtedly rules as the favorite fruit. Apple seems to have found its way inside the heart of children along with local fruits. Arul shared with them the benefits of having fruits and that too the local seasonal fruits that are available all around - banana, gooseberry, guava, papaya, mango and sapota. We emphasized on eating local, seasonal fruits and that good health is not a product of eating apple or any of the exotic imported fruits.
This time we did not have many conversations with children. The highlight was the rhyme taught by Arul and recited by the children, both with equal gusto! The place was reverberating with sound energy. Oh! How the children enjoy the sound of rhyming words!
The rhyme was written by Rema to suit our theme of the day. After they recited the poem once,
Volunteer: Do you know who wrote this rhyme?
One voice piped in: Avvaiyar!! (Avvaiyar is an ancient Tamil poet who is revered for her wisdom that shines through her poems)
It did not take a second for that spontaneous answer to flow out from the child. Everyone laughed and it still brings a smile to my face. On the other hand, the child had no thought of - Oh what will people think when I answer? Is it right, is it wrong? Will people laugh? etc..whatever flowed from within the child shared. Do we as adults do that all the time? Where do we stop ourselves? - was a question I was left with.
Children made their own actions for the song and third around we moved out and few children took the lead to recite and others followed. What is the teaching here? Who is teaching here? We were learning from the children the joy of spontaneity and acceptance and the children were being who they are - all in the name of teaching about fruits :D
And here is the poem written by our own Avvaiyar aka Rema and the powerful voice of Arul reciting it for the children is still ringing in my ears:
Vaa Vaa vazhaipazham
Enga ooru vazhaipazham
Ko Ko koyyapazham
Gunam niraindha koyyapazham
Ma Ma mambazham
Ne Ne nellikani
Jeevashakthi konda kani
Tha tha seethapazham
Valam niraindha nallapazham
Ivai anaithum podhume
Engal udalai kaakave
Namma ooru pazhangalai
Naalum thindru kalipome
Noi nodigalai dhoora thalli vaipome!
Whether children or adults, this take on fruits, is the same isn't it? Be it acceptance or spontaneity children are our role models!