Home‎ > ‎


Please return to this page to be updated on the latest events with respect to Commit Cares. I will be recording the events as they happen. 

February 2017

posted 22 Feb 2017, 12:27 by Narssimhan Kannan   [ updated 22 Feb 2017, 12:28 ]

Due to certain change in priorities of the trust that ran the Yepre school and differences between the management of the school and the trust, we have decided to stop all donations to the school with immediate effect. I have communicated this to all my friends and relatives who have been helping us out all these years. 

I thank all of you for the great support we have received. We are in search of another deserving school/institution/NGO so that we can continue out altruistic goals. If you have any suggestions, kindly write to me at k.narssimhan@commit.in. 

July 2016

posted 27 Jul 2016, 06:25 by Narssimhan Kannan

I was first going to come to Mumbai and again travel to Pune to meet the students. The plan was to take the train in the morning and return by evening. But when I realised that I was anyway driving from Bangalore to Mumbai, I decided to advance my trip by a few days, drive to Pune, stay back a night, visit the school and then proceed to Mumbai.
I left at 3:30 am from Bangalore and reached Pune by 8:30 pm. Driving 800 kms alone is not easy. So, in the morning before I left, I prayed to Rama asking Him to protect me during the journey. I had my set of Kishore Kumar songs but you can listen to songs only for a few hours. I left in earnest and around 160 kms from Bangalore, at one toll booth, the toll authorities asked me if I would give a lift to one of their employees till Kolhapur.
I readily agreed. We started talking and I got to know that he was the son of a farmer, had two elder sisters and was the last of the siblings. His dad had a drinking problem but was now rehabilitated. He had just got this job from IRB and was doing well. He had recently purchased a gas connection for his mother and was happy that she did not have to use firewood or kerosene. He also appreciated that his family gets the gas subsidy.
We travelled around 600 kms talking about various things including philosophy and God. He was a mature person for his age and spoke well. We stopped twice for refreshments and he did not allow me to pay at any toll till Kolhapur. He used his ID card and got me a waiver. I did not realise the distance and was extremely thankful for the company that I had got. I dropped him just before Kolhapur city and while getting down asked for his name. He replied "Ramchandra, Ram". I looked up to the sky and smiled.
I reached Pune and settled down in my friend, Sreekanth's house. He made some awesome salads for me and we had some wine. I rested well and then woke up early in the morning to reach the school by 9:00 am. It was a long drive but not as long as the one during the previous day. I met the school teachers and Sunil Bhalke, the representative of the trust.
We had several issues from the previous year that we all sat and sorted out. We also planned for the current year. Increased the salaries of the teachers and ensured that they are comfortable. We also decided to slowly keep all the books at the school and not give them any homework. The teachers were very excited about the idea. This would enable the children to come to school without any school bags.
I then met the children and gave them some sweets. I also taught some of the classes. Due to rains, the attendance was very low. We also decided to help 20 children, as usual with their uniform, books, bags and shoes. I will publish that list separately. The immediate need was to get them notebooks and I promised that my friend Rohit Bhat has sent a lot of notebooks and I will send all of them as soon as possible.
I stayed till the children left. We took some group photographs. I held the hands of some tiny children and felt their vulnerability, their innocence. I get very emotional when I see the children leave. They all wave to me as if I am a very close friend of theirs. Their hearts are so pure and so unadulterated by the impurities of life and their ego.
I returned to Sreekanth's house and rested for a while. I have posted some photographs and videos from my trip here. Then I remembered that the school was also "Ramchandra Yepre Prathimik Vidyalaya". I looked up to the sky and smiled.

November 2015

posted 22 Nov 2015, 06:31 by Narssimhan Kannan

It had been more than a year that I had visited the school. I had, in the meanwhile, got entangled in various personal issues, was travelling to Bangalore every month by car with my daughter and our Labrador, staying in Bangalore for 10-15 days, later shifted to Bangalore for business, shifted my daughter’s college admission as she chose to continue her studies there, meeting my son every month (as I get access to my son on the 3rd Sunday every month), took vacations based on the dates my son gave (as he lives with his mother and I get 50% access during his vacations) & my daughter’s vacation dates and was juggling four different court dates (High Court, Bandra Family Court, Thane Family Court and the Mulund Metropolitan Court). 

But these were all excuses. I passed Pune at least 10 times in the last year while I drove down to and fro from Mumbai to Bangalore and not once did I stop at the school; why? – Because it was either very early in the morning (as we leave at 4 am) or very late in the evening (while we are returning from Bangalore). If we waited, we would have to drive in the night, or would have to stay the night at a hotel, and with our Labrador, it was not very easy. Pet friendly hotels are very rare in India, I have discovered. Anyways, it was my fault and it was eating me from within. So, this time, I resolved to go to Pune separately. Just devote one whole day for the school, nothing else. No other appointments. 

So, I booked my tickets and informed Mr. Bhalke that I was coming on the 5th of November. I reached by 10 and Bhalke had come to the station to pick me up. We left, picked up Dairy Milk for all the children and reached the school by 11 am. The children had been waiting for me. I first met all the children and every child stood up and wished me "Good Morning Sir!". I sat in every class for some time and spent time with the children. I enquired their names, what their parents did and also spoke to the teachers. While I was doing this, Mr. Bhalke was taking pictures of all the classes. 

I met every class and shared the chocolates with every child. I also shared chocolates with the teachers. Here is a slide show of me with the children sharing the chocolates. The children were elated. Some had not had a Dairy Milk ever in their lives so were asking their friends how to open it and eat it. Some wanted to take it home as they wanted to share it with their siblings. I have consistently seen the people who have very little sharing more than the people who have everything. I wonder why people who have more than what they need stop sharing? Is it why they have more than what they need? 

After the chocolates, it was time for some questions. I asked some of the students to tell me what they had learnt. Two very bright girls from the Marathi section started rapidly firing away the 2, 3 and 4 times multiplication tables. Then a couple of children recited some poems in both English and Hindi. Some taught me the English alphabet while some girls wanted me to learn numerals. I could see that the teachers were slightly nervous so I did not ask the children tough questions. The way they were reciting the poems was very endearing. I have tried to capture it in some of these videos.  
I started my career as a teacher and every time I get an opportunity, I seize it. I chose the 2nd standard class and started teaching them addition and subtraction. They had been recently introduced to the concept of addition so were a little confused when I talked to them about subtraction. But I used common, daily life examples like mangoes, eggs, and they immediately understood. They solved all the problems I gave them; simple problems but effective as they understood them immediately. I love it when children understand and grasp concepts quickly. It gives me immense satisfaction as a teacher.   
It was time for the children to leave. I was informed that their bus would be coming any time now. We thought that this was a good time to take some group photos with all the classes. So we assembled all the children outside and I took some pictures with them. It was quite sunny so we had to assemble all of them quickly and take the photographs and send them back to their classes so that the next batch could come out. Some of them were so tiny; their hands were as small as my palm. I sat as close to them as possible and asked Mr. Bhalke to take some snaps. Here are some of the moments we could capture. 

By the time we finished the group photographs the bus had arrived. We started helping the children get on to the bus. One tiny one was so enthusiastic about going home that he started running, fell, got hurt and naturally started crying. I and another teacher rushed to help him and tried to pacify him. His knees had got badly scrapped. I helped some very small kids into the bus and waved them goodbye. The children were continuously waving at me while the bus was leaving. Mr. Bhalke managed to click some good pictures with his mobile. 

After the children left, I along with Mr. Bhalke sat with the teachers and had some refreshments. This was the time for us to discuss the challenges that we had faced during this academic year. We were falling short of almost 10k every month and this was affecting their salaries. Mr. Bhalke was managing somehow but the deficit had grown to 97k. But luckily, by the time I was having this chat with them, only 32k out of the total deficit was remaining. I explained to them why this problem was happening. One of our chief donors had pulled out last year and thus, we had been struggling. 

I was slightly ashamed, as I had not done my karma well. But I let go of it as quickly as water droplets fall of the skin of a swan. I had to look ahead and complete the deficit of the balance 32k.  I returned to Mr. Bhalke’s house and had a nice lunch of jowar bhakri and jhunka. Jhunka and bhakri (made of different grains) is a representative dish of Maharashtra. The very poor make this regularly as they may not even have the money to buy vegetables. So they get besan and make jhunka while the bhakri (roti) is made of the grains they may grow in their fields. A typical accompaniment is green chilies and cut onions. I was served this perfect combination. 

After such a heavy and fulfilling (fully filing, pun intended!) lunch, I just had to snooze. One of the blessings that the Almighty has bestowed upon me is the ability to go into standby mode like a laptop anywhere, anytime. I invoked the sleep sub-routine and sitting on the sofa itself snoozed for an hour. By the time I woke up, it was time to leave. I had to catch my train from Pune station. Mr. Bhalke dropped me on his bike and I got to my train well before time. 

My return ticket was in normal 2nd class but fortunately my seat was confirmed. It was a window seat and in the direction of the train! What else could I ask for? I bought myself an India Today and settled down. There was chaos all around me. People had occupied the seats of reserved passengers. One family had come with a suitcase that could carry a human being in it. The husband was unsuccessfully trying to push it below the seat as he realised that it could not be kept on the overhead shelf as if it falls, the person below could be crushed to death or the shelf itself might break. His wife was forced to sit beside me and was not very comfortable, apparently with my manliness, so they shifted to the opposite side and exchanged their seats with another couple that had two children. The husband sat beside me while the wife sat at the end. Both the children were continuously whining and beating the mother. 

The journey was mostly uneventful except that there was chaos all over. People were standing between seats, pushing, fighting for place, children were crying, college students were talking, while some women were discussing tur dal. I was like a silent tree in the midst of rain, thunderstorms and a tornado, unaffected by all this but silently observing everything. My daughter came to pick me up at Thane station. Incidentally, she had also dropped me in the morning at around 6:30 am. I shared the entire day with her. She was happy and told me that how she and her friends are planning to go and spend a few days at the school teaching the children. I reached home by 10 pm. 

I shared the photographs of the day with many of my friends including an elderly colleague of mine through WhatsApp. The gentleman had recently retired in one of our customer locations, and had expressed his desire to do something for the service of mankind, and thus was quite interested in what we had been doing. After seeing the pictures, he remarked and I quote, “Frankly, I feel jealous of you. I am yet to meet a person richer than you. May God continue showering His blessings on you.” I did not know how to respond. I was speechless. I typed a reply of gratitude to him. I just could not say anything. But, later I reflected on the events of the day and truly realised how fortunate and blessed I was and I profusely thanked Him and quickly snuggled into the arms of my beloved, sleep. 

P.S. By the time this article was written, the entire deficit of 97k had been covered. Many friends helped us who would like to remain anonymous. I thank you all! 

25th June 2014

posted 5 Jul 2014, 22:13 by Narssimhan Kannan   [ updated 5 Jul 2014, 22:21 ]

I had booked my tickets on the Indrayani Express both ways. I didn't want to drive. Boarded the train at Thane and promptly went of to sleep. My mom had packed some dosas for me. Woke up, had them and slept again. Reached Pune by 9 am. Mr. Bhalke had come to pick me up from the station. 

We reached the school by 10 am. I got some chocolates for all the students on the way to the school. The children were having their recess when I reached. All of them came running to shake hands with me. Each one of them shook hands with me, including the tiniest one. 

I then met all the teachers and looked into the progress of the school. Mr. Bhalke had whitewashed the entire place. The building had a new look. The toilets were being used, but only occasionally as there was no running water (we need a pump). All the children had not joined back as many of them had not returned from their native place. 

I sat with all the teachers and we had a long discussion on the needs of the next academic year and the school in general. This is the list we created. 
  1. Economically challenged students - Marathi Medium 10 students @ Rs. 1,200 per student = Rs. 12,000. 
  2. Economically challenged students - English Medium 10 students @ Rs. 3,650 per student = Rs. 36,500. 
  3. Four fans approximately Rs. 1,200 x 4 = Rs. 4,800. 
  4. Water pump approximately Rs. 3,000.
  5. Electricity connection (permanent) = Rs. 12,000.
  6. Bus fare per month = Rs. 8,500.
  7. Notebooks, drawing books, pencils, erasers, rulers, colour boxes and toys for the play school (Balwadi).
This is the list of economically challenged students chosen for complete sponsorship (notebooks, textbooks, uniform, shoes, tie, belt, monthly fee):

 Marathi Medium  English Medium
Std.Student Name Std.     Student Name
KgPrithviraj Aade1stAditya Budhiwant
1stKarthik Devre4thAbhishek Sharma
1st Sunny BateUKGSapnasingh Bagel
2ndSumeet Sonkamble         1st Gaurav Thakur
2ndSaloni Gaikwad4thSumeet Gupta
3rdOmkar Pole2nd Mahek Gaud
3rdNiranjan Bate2ndKaajal Gaud
3rdNisha Jadhav4thJivaram Devasi
4th Sachin Jogdand4thHarshad Dubey
4thVishal Ibeetdar1stMohammad Sheikh

We also discussed about the increase in salaries for the teachers. I mentioned that I will speak to the donors and let them know. It is fair that their salaries should be increased this year keeping in mind the rise in the cost of living and essential commodities. 

The names of the teachers and the proposed wages are as follows:

Name        Amount per month
Mrs. Manisha TanpureRs. 5,000
Mrs. Jayshree ThakurRs. 4,000
Mr. Santosh KambleRs. 5,000
Mrs. Vrushali BadveRs. 6,000
Mr. Bhaskar MaratheRs. 5,000
Mrs. Ashwini LakdeRs. 4,000
Mrs. Sangeeta Kalure (Maushi)Rs. 3,500
TotalRs. 32,500 

Some pictures of my trip are given here:


You can choose to contribute in any way you want. You can either donate for one of the one time contributions like the fans, one of the economically challenged students, water pump or make a monthly commitment for the salary of one of the teachers, or part of the bus fare etc. Write to me or call me on how you wish to contribute and we will make it happen, together. 

7th Feb 2014

posted 18 Apr 2014, 10:44 by Narssimhan Kannan   [ updated 18 Apr 2014, 10:51 ]

In my post of 24th Jan 2014, I had written about how the children were preparing for their Annual Day. We were supposed to celebrate the Annual Day on the 26th Jan but couldn't as we did not get a proper ground or hall. The next date proposed was the 7th of February. 

I adjusted all my appointments so that I could make it for the Annual Day (not that I have many appointments!). The ceremony was scheduled for 4:30 pm. I left at around 12 pm from my office at Goregaon, went to Dadar and took the first Shivneri to Pune. The trip was healing. Every time I travel to Pune, I heal myself a little more. It is a cathartic process. 

The long drive makes you think about everything that is going around you and there are times when everything comes into focus while sometimes everything just becomes a blur. Just like life. I reached Pune and Swapnil Bhalke, Sunil Bhalke's eldest son came to the Shivneri bus stop to pick me up. 

We picked his mother and newly wedded wife along the way and rushed to the venue. The children were all waiting. We immediately started the puja and then the speeches. I was asked to say a few words and for the first time, I did say just a few words. I asked the children to thank their teachers, their parents and the people who help run the school. They all shouted in unison. 

Once the speeches and prize distribution were done, the dances began. I went and sat with the children. Many of them enveloped me and asked me about how I was and journey. I was overwhelmed by the affection and attention. Once the children started performing, I asked all of them to be quiet and watch the programme. Here are a few snapshots of the programme. Enjoy!

24th Jan 2014

posted 27 Jan 2014, 05:33 by Narssimhan Kannan   [ updated 31 Jan 2014, 18:33 ]

I have no excuses. For nearly five months I had been postponing the trip to Pune. Every month I made a plan and something or the other would postpone it again. This time I was determined to go. A wedding in Pune acted as an ideal catalyst. I left early from my hotel room and drove down to the school. My partner was kind enough to lend me his car.
Reaching the school, I first met Mr. Bhalke who was waiting for me. I found that the children were busy practicing for the Republic Day celebrations. Every class had a small amplifier connected to the teacher's mobile and the children were dancing to some song. I have captured the young ones dancing in some of these videos.
The amplifier itself was an amazing innovation. A metal box with an in-built speaker and an audio in (for the mobile), USB port, Bass, Treble and Volume controls. And the price; Rs. 350/-. It was an ideal example of the Indian 'jugaad'.  
Mr. Bhalke had to leave since he had some examination to invigilate. I bid him farewell and then sat with the students of every class outside the school and had a very satisfying chat with them. I asked them their names, what they had learned in class recently, about their dance practice and about the naughtiest child in class.
The topic of the naughtiest child in class was the most popular. As soon as I asked them about this, their eyes lit up and they started to point fingers at each other. 
In a few classes there was unanimity about the most naughty one. There were some very cute children. 
Another topic which we discussed was the importance of our ID Card. Every child had an ID Card hung around his/her neck. Some had kept it inside their pockets. Some had not got it. I showed them the ID Card of my company. They were all very excited to see my ID Card. Each one snatched it from the other and looked at me trying to figure out where in this man sitting in front of us can I see the guy who appears in this photo?
I could understand their predicament. The photo in the ID Card was old. I was clean-shaven then. Now I sported a beard. The children were slightly confused. I asked them all, "Which Narssimhan looks better?" The one in the ID Card or the one sitting in front of you. "This one!" was the unanimous reply. So much for my beard detractors. 
The children were very pleased to chat with me and so was I. Since we were running out of time, I could not spend more than 15 minutes per class. I shook hands with every child and it was immensely enjoyable. Every young one wanted to shake hands with me, I observed. 
I then spent some time with the teachers and listened to their issues. The toilets were operational finally and electricity had also arrived but there were some teething issues. There was no water connection and the electricity was only available till 1 p.m. The rising cost of living was also a pressing issue with the teachers.
I promised them that I will do my best and left as soon as the school closed for the day. The Republic Day celebrations which was supposed to be held on the 26th was postponed to the 8th of February as we did not get a place to conduct the celebrations. The children asked me if I will come for the Republic Day celebrations. I replied in the affirmative. They were very happy. 
Even as I was leaving, they reminded me about February 8th. They had all boarded the school bus and were ready to leave. All were waving out to me. I waved back and left. 

Returned back to the wedding venue. Looked at the children and the people there. The ostentatious display of wealth, the waste, the artificial relations and the vanity. 

I knew where real happiness existed...I had just been there!

8th July 2013

posted 13 Jul 2013, 10:38 by Narssimhan Kannan   [ updated 16 Jul 2013, 06:12 ]

A couple of my friends wanted to come and visit the school. We juggled the dates and decided on the 8th of July. School had already started a few weeks back. We had managed to ship the notebooks, pencils and erasers through courier.

We had successfully been able to collect money for the economically challenged children of both the English and Marathi mediums. We also got the funds for the water connection. A kind donor had agreed to take care of the school bus every month. The only thing remaining was the salaries of the teachers for which we are still falling short by around Rs. 9,000 per month.

I spoke to Sunil Bhalke and he wanted us to be there on the 8th so that we could distribute all the books, pencils, erasers and the other stuff to the economically challenged students and all the other students. I wrote to all the donors so that they could accompany me. Three replied. Two could not make it and one, who stays in Pune, agreed to come along.

I woke up at 4:30 am and left by 5:30, picked up the donor, Ms. Suchitra Shettigar in Pune and reached the school by 10 am. The trip on the Expressway was very picturesque. Everything was green. I have tried to capture some moments. At one point before Lonavala, I passed through a cloud which had decided to grace the Expressway.

I was supposed to reach the school by 9 am. Traffic at the Katraj naka and a politician's convoy delayed the entire thing by an hour. To add to my woes, the road resembled the surface of the moon. The moment I reached the school, I saw the children sitting on the ground waiting for us. I felt guilty. I immediately asked Mr. Bhalke, how long they had been outside. He said for the last 10-15 minutes. I felt a little better.

A small table had been placed in front of the children and a few chairs for all of us. On one chair was the photograph of Goddess Saraswati with all the paraphernalia for the puja. I was requested to initiate the puja with the lighting of the lamp, incense sticks and breaking of the coconut. Everybody else followed. Once we had invoked the blessings of the Goddess of Knowledge, the Principal of the school initiated the programme.

She first asked Mr. Bhalke to speak a few words, followed by Mr. Suresh Jagade (Trustee), Mr. Kiran Yepre (grandson of Ramchandra Yepre) and yours truly. I began my speech by apologising to the children for arriving late. Fortunately, I was forgiven. I asked them to thank Mr. Bhalke, Mr. Yepre and most importantly, their teachers. I requested them not to trouble the teachers and listen to them as much as possible. We all had a round of applause for the selfless work of the teachers.

It was now time for the distribution of the goodies. We started with the 20 children who are economically challenged, then followed it by all the other students (starting from playgroup to the 4th grade). Ms. Shettigar had got some chocolates for the children which she started distributing simultaneously. By the time we finished, it was 11 am.
We rested for a while and I told Mr. Bhalke that I wanted to spend some time with the children. While we were resting and talking, the school went into recess and all the children started playing outside. I have captured a very interesting video of these moments.

After our rest and some refreshments, I took up a class of 3rd and 4th standard students and taught them some mathematics. Ms. Shettigar spent some time with the 2nd grade students. She also took them out and played some games. I almost spent two hours teaching them some 'fundas' and expansion of numbers. Though the syllabus was for the 4th graders, even the 3rd graders understood and after some time started participating. It was one of the most satisfying two hours of my life.

At precisely 1 pm, the bell was sounded and all the children started rushing outside. The school bus had already arrived and slowly, the bus owner/driver started helping all the children get in. I have captured a video of these moments.

The children I taught became my friends and were waving out to me continuously from the bus.
It was time to leave. I said my farewells to the teachers, Mr. Bhalke and left. I dropped Ms. Shettigar near her home on the highway and drove back to Mumbai.

It was raining cats and dogs and occasionally a few cows too. I was ruminating on the satisfaction that I experienced after my class. The bright faces of the students kept coming back to me when they would get an answer right. These children had almost nothing, but they had a lot of enthusiasm and hope in their eyes.

I had an idea! But that is another story...

13th June 2013

posted 13 Jun 2013, 03:50 by Narssimhan Kannan   [ updated 13 Jun 2013, 04:11 ]

It is that time of the year again! The monsoon is here, schools have started, new notebooks are being covered in brown paper, textbooks are being sniffed, a brand new school bag, pencil boxes, water bottles, pens, pencils, erasers, sharpeners, new geometry boxes...what excitement! 

I remember, when I was in school (by the way, I did go to school), I used to pester my parents every year for a new school bag and pencil box. In those days, a magnetic pencil box with multiple storage areas (made in Japan), used to be the ticket to super-stardom in the classroom and I always wanted one. In my 1st to 3rd grade, I used to lose one eraser almost everyday! My mother had bought a carton of erasers (wholesale) and my grand-mother would put one everyday in my pencil box, clearly knowing that this eraser would not return in the evening. 

The mystery of how I managed to lose one eraser everyday has joined the ranks of some of the greatest unsolved mysteries of the Earth (akin The Bermuda Triangle). The excitement of carrying your new school bag, freshly covered notebooks, textbooks, new geometry box, pencils, scent erasers and some innovative sharpeners is still unmatched. I would be waiting to reach the school! I never imagined that there were children who could not even afford a normal plastic pencil box, or a few pencils or erasers. How fortunate and blessed I was! 

Here is an opportunity for all of us to give back what we took for granted for years. A new academic year is starting at the Ramchandra Yepre school on the 17th of June 2013. And we need a lot, as new students are joining as I write this and this year we have a list of 20 students who are economically challenged who need everything from shoes, uniforms, belt, tie, books etc. 

I have listed the details in the Immediate Need page. Please 'give' generously. These children are extremely deserving and some are very bright. I would not be surprised to see some of them shine and become immensely successful in life. The credit for that success would be accrued to you. Remember, what we spend in a lunch/dinner at a restaurant can educate a child for a year! 

Write to me (k.narssimhan@commitcares.org) or call me on +91-9820026636 for more information. As Thiruvalluvar says in one of his kurals, "The benevolent expect no return for their dutiful giving. How can the world ever repay the rain cloud?"

And it is raining...

7th May 2013

posted 19 May 2013, 22:21 by Narssimhan Kannan   [ updated 19 May 2013, 22:40 ]

I wanted to take my son, Nakshatraa to the Yepre school for a long time now. My daughter, Natasha had visited it a couple of times and knew the struggles and underprivileged nature of the school. This time the Almighty gave me a great opportunity to not only take my son and daughter but also the children (Achal and Aman) of one of my friends who has also been extremely supportive of our endeavour with respect to Yepre.

We had been to Imagica the previous day so were very tired. My dear friends Sreekanth and Rama who stay in Pune were kind enough to give us shelter for a night. The five of us blitzkrieged their home at around 11:30 pm the previous night. My son had already gone off to sleep while we were all having dinner so; we quickly prepared the beds and retired.

We all woke up at around 7:30 am. Got ready and left for the school. It is almost an hour’s drive from Aundh where we were staying. We first reached the place where we used to stay for almost 2 ½ years while we were in Pune. The roads, the restaurants, the shops all brought a sense of nostalgia to our minds (I and Natasha). We first stopped for breakfast. This is where Mr. Sunil Bhalke met us. We had breakfast together. Sunil joined in the cheerful banter of the children.

On our way from the restaurant to the school, I mentioned the real reason as to why I wanted the children to see the school. The first reason was for them to realise how fortunate they were and how many of the unfortunate struggle to study and try to make a living in this world. The second was for them to understand that it was important to give back to society a portion of what you earn as an expression of gratitude of what you have received. The third and most important was to be humbled by the whole experience. To realise how insignificant, how small we all are and how there is so much more to do in a lifetime, especially for others, if we choose to do so.

We reached the school at around 11:30 am. Sunil had called his son, Swapnil, the two principals (Marathi and English mediums) and one teacher. The maid had also come. It was vacation time, so the school was specially opened for us. I expressed my displeasure to Sunil for dragging all the teachers and the staff during vacation. They reassured me that the effort was not significant.

We took a round of the school. I explained to the children about how every classroom is divided into two so that two different standards can study simultaneously, the absence of electricity and water, the plaster on the back of the walls which prevents scorpions and snakes from entering the classrooms and the undeveloped infrastructure of the school.

Finally, I got to see the completed toilets! Three toilets had been constructed for the ladies. The gent’s urinal had been planned on the back portion of the toilets and was still to be constructed. A small staircase had also been constructed in the same budget and a water tank had been installed. There was no water connection right now but that was the next project for us.

The children were very enthusiastic and saw everything. Nakshatraa roamed into all the classrooms and took a round of the entire school while Natasha was busy clicking pictures, documenting our entire trip. Achal and Aman also seemed inspired and interested.

We then assembled in a classroom, had some cold drinks (which had quickly turned warm) to beat the sweltering heat, and discussed the plan for the next year with the teachers and Sunil. I got the budget and the numbers for the economically challenged students and promised to get everything organised before June 2013 when the next academic year would start. This is where I will need your help.

It was time for a group photograph. We left, bidding goodbye to everyone thinking about the disparities of this world. The children were silent for a long time before my daughter broke the silence. She asked, “Appa, can we teach here? We should come here once a month and teach the children about things they do not learn in the normal curriculum.” I smiled and replied, “Of course you can…”

Even if it was miniscule, I was hoping that the trip would have made a difference within the children. I was glad that it had; the seeds of ‘giving’ had been planted in the next generation.

18th Jan 2013

posted 18 Feb 2013, 22:43 by Narssimhan Kannan

Yepre Annual Day

1-10 of 33