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26th January 2012

posted 27 Jan 2012, 10:34 by Narssimhan Kannan   [ updated 27 Jan 2012, 11:00 ]
It has taken me five months to go back to Pune. September and October was spent in the trip to the US. November and December was spent in fire-fighting back home. I had decided to visit the school in Jan but when was the question. I had spoken to Mr. Bhalke during the first week, when he told me about the Annual Day celebrations that they were planning and that he would communicate to me the date. They selected Republic Day. 

I reached the venue by 3:45 pm. The function started by around 4:30 pm. There were at least 300 people. All the children and their parents had assembled on the ground. A couple of parents came and spoke to me. They were introduced by Mr. Bhalke as being the representative of the Commit Cares Foundation. They were extremely thankful that their children were able to go to school because of what we were doing. Or else it would have been impossible for them to send their children to school. I was tongue-tied and managed to blurt out that we had to do much more. 

The trustees, chief guests and me were pinned with the badge and then led to the stage where each one of us got a token of gratitude (a coconut and a rose) from the school for coming. Once this was done, it was time for the welcome prayer. After the hymn, it was time for the speeches. First Mr. Bhalke, then the Chief Guest, Dr. Mangesh Wagh - a renowned General surgeon in that area, then Mangesh Abanave - an industrialist who supports a lot of social causes and lastly yours truly. I spoke about the importance of the Republic Day, the challenges that the school faces, and the importance of sending our children to school.

Once the speeches were done, it was time for the prize distribution. The real reason for the function. Tiny tots and young children came up to the stage and collected prizes from us. The surprise element of the function was prizes given to three parents for being the ideal parent! 

After the prize distribution, it was time for the performances. Tiny tots from playgroup, nursery and KG performed to popular songs. Then students from every standard performed to various English, Hindi and Marathi film songs. There were some very impressive performances and we all gave them extra prizes. 

The function got over at around 8:00 pm. Mr. Bhalke thanked all of us, the parents and above all the children. I for one, was immensely impressed by the effort put in by the teachers and the students. More so by the students. A special mention here, to a group of four girls and boys who changed their costumes and performed at least four different dances. 

As I said in my speech, it is imperative for all of us to invest in our children. I urged every parent, however difficult it maybe to continue sending their children to school. They are the future of this country.