Updated: Aug 30, 2018
Once upon a time, for that is how all the good stories begin, there once was an engineering graduate who decided to tell stories. His quest was an interesting one, as all quests are with kids involved. He woke up early on this one Saturday that he remembers the exact date of, and drove up to a cozy little school 12 kms from his place. Why? You ask. What can be worth giving up the extra hours of sleep for on the morning of a day off from office? Wait for it. So, he walks inside the gate and is greeted by the morning assembly. How many years since he had left that behind him? He didn't really care. He was enthralled. After all, there is a certain joy in being surrounded by the future of your country, standing in taut attention giving respect to the National Anthem being played and sung in chorus.
28th July, 2018 saw myself visiting Late Madhavrao Sonba Tupe English Medium School as a Coordinator representing Share A Book, India Association. Already, the lines of children filing in to their classes after assembly, giving a "Hi-5!" to their Teach For India bhaiyyas and didis was a beautiful sight to witness. The fun began with a class of 6th grade, when Akbar and Birbal were chosen to enchant the imagination of the little ones. Listening to me in their "smart position" - both hands under their chin, sitting up straight - the kids paid heed to my every word. It was an interactive session, and as I asked questions, they raised their hands to answer! It was a powerful moment for me to see how fascination could also be shown in an orderly manner. More stories followed as I went from class to class, and I could now hear murmurs about PT. That could only mean one thing, the break time was near! Break announced, door flies open, out they rush with their group of friends, rejoicing that they can play in the ground. Today we had clear skies, and kabaddi took precedence over food for some. But the heartwarming moments were not to end, and I was offered everything by these kids. Kids that barely knew me an hour before. Where do we as adults lose this connect as we "grow up"? From Maggi and khichadi to cookies and sev, everything was shared with one another in this kingdom. Break time gave way to classes eventually, but every class was a unique experience even then. They all listened in rapt attention, and that is the moment I realized something. SABIA had given me a platform - a most powerful one - to shape the way kids perceive stories. The truth is, we all have one. Like the kids however, we must learn to be receptive to each other's. In all of my sessions to follow, we will read stories together, and we will develop our libraries, and we will have SABIA to thank for it. Above all, there is something I know for sure, I will learn more out of this experience than perhaps anything that I can teach the little ones. They're already far ahead of us in those terms.
Pushkar Marathe SABIA Youth Leader, Pune