Truly my MAD Family…

It’s time for one more post about MAD , this time about my MAD Family 🙂

With just 2 more months to go for final semester exams , my parents asked me to put a stop to every single activity. I was heart broken because I did not want to stop MAD , did not want to be away from my friends , my co – teacher and more than anyone my KIDS! 😦 😦

But my parents hardly ask anything of me… So i agreed. All said and done , their happiness is equally important 🙂 

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This is my MAD Family ( some people are missing) 🙂 🙂 😀

Saturday was a completely emotional day for me. It was the last day I was going to spend with these brilliant people. I was torn apart like I would never meet them again … Pretty much the same thing for me actually. Being away from these guys is like being in 2 different countries. 😦 

After a lot of probing and discussions mom finally agreed to let me go see my friends. I was overjoyed!!! 🙂 😀 After what felt like an eternity of waiting , my busy bees finally became free to meet me. I rushed to meet them , only to find them in a half – sleepy and depressed state 😐 😦 so much for excitement.:| But never the less i was happy to be with them 🙂 

After giving all the stuff I needed to give back to these people ( felt like a Santa giving gifts 😛 ) , I gave my 3 special friends their special letters to show how MAD they made my life!!! 😀 I had sat up till 2 the previous night to write those letters , hoping and praying they would like it 🙂 After all , i was half – crying and had no clue what went into those papers :O

After 10 mins of spending time in our usual place [ CCD – The place where A LOT HAPPENED OVER COFFEE & it all began 🙂 😉 ] , we went to our center to meet our kids. I was very keen on going to see them as it would be the last time i would be seeing them 😦 

We entered the center . The kids had just come back from school. At first they were sad that we may have come to take class for them. But after seeing we had no intentions of doing that , they were extra happy to see us and crowded around us. We never ever thought , we would have so much attachment to the kids and they to us! 😀 *tears* 

We were all huddled near the stairs with the kids shuffling between each volunteer , more than any of the other kids ( whom I spent time with first as soon as i went ) , there were just 4 kids I badly wanted to see and spend time. My kids! My boys and girls! My eyes searched for them and soon sought them out. 🙂 I spent equal time with both the boys and girls. Eventually , that privacy vanished when a group of tiny tots crowded around me and took away my phone. 😛 I was chill about it. 🙂 They played around with it , some very comfortably lying on my lap. I pretty much had to lean back to keep my balance! :O 😀

After a lot of teasing , singing ( Shady songs encouraged by the shady queen 😛 ) , games on cell phones , small talks with kids , asking them about Dream Camp 😀 and ME , after getting heavily criticized by Suresh (one of my students) for waking him up at 6 am during Dream Camp 😛 and after breaking the sad news to them that I’m leaving ( I had to control myself from breaking in front of them and keep my voice steady). 😦 I was surprised that the boys were equally shocked and sad that I won’t be coming back. The girls hugged me and all of them promised to study well and not trouble my co – teacher 😀 🙂

I told them that my co – teacher would let me know if they were troubling him 😛 😉 They laughed and said they would not trouble him 🙂 I did not have the heart to leave the center at all! In fact I was pretty much ready to just spend the whole day there until I actually HAD to leave…. Tears were brimming in my eyes and I tried to not let them fall. 

Once all us volunteers were out , we spent a few minutes talking to each other. I looked at my center head and my other co – teacher and the feeling in my heart was reflected on their face 😦 There was just one person who didn’t even so much so look sad and that was my first co – teacher 😦 😛 When asked his reply was ” O of course I’m sad . I’m never gonna see you again. I’m crying deep inside. I’m torn. Idiot. It’s not like you re my life 😛 ” I was dumbstruck and just did not reply. No point anyway. For him , I was anyway always going to be in his life but for me he was not going to be there for another 3 -4 months 😦 *sigh* The differences between teachers despite strong bonds :O 

I hugged my center head , heard my other co – teacher cry for me and made my first co – teacher buy me ice cream!!! 😀 😀 He was completely himself and made me feel like I’m not leaving at all!

I love each and every one of my volunteers / FAMILY MEMBERS 😉 😀 😀

All of us left with smiles on our face 🙂 

A wonderful day. A beautiful memory. One I want to treasure. 🙂 🙂

 

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A Special Dedication – Dream Camp!! :D

If there was something extra special about Dream Camp , It was because of THESE people.

This post is a special dedication to those people who made it so memorable and extra special 🙂

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JOHN!!!

One of the Starters Level Kids at the CHI center.

When I first met him in September, he was the naughtiest , rowdiest , with an ” I – don’t – care – about – you” attitude , mocking at everyone and was very disobedient and unruly.

But for the last few months I’ve noticed and specially at the Camp… The way he has MATURED , the behavior change ( naughtiness is still there) 🙂 😛 , attitude change , the respect he gives , his obedience and MOST importantly , we don’t have to tell him , when he sees we are in need of an extra hand for anything , he is ALWAYS around to help. That s the most special thing about him. 🙂 🙂 🙂 

His helping tendency which he developed in the last few months. I can’t help but admire him and told him once he was a role model in certain ways for the kids ) . I expected a protest from others but they were all proud of their friend. I’m very proud of him and very happy with him. His maturity is definitely a sign to show that we have MADE A DIFFERENCE 😀

If not for John’s help every now and then with the other kids of our group , my mentor and I would have just given up altogether ( well almost). But he is the reason , at least for me , that I kept pushing myself to help my mentor as much as could and keep the kids in order.

I salute him! 🙂 

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SHYAM!!!

My mentor. My best friend. One person , who in spite of all the work he had , always made time for me to listen to me if I had any problem and lend a hand. A person , who even after spraining his leg ran about doing work and just refused to let me take control 😦 . His dedication as mentor was unbelievable and I’m in awe. 🙂 He’s my admiration. My inspiration. My encouragement. 🙂 🙂 He worked so hard at the camp. He was so enthusiastic about every minute of it. Hats off to him! 😀

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SRIDEEP 

My co-teacher. My role model. This was the man who in spite of a whole day’s handwork at the camp , and after working on his experiment for this kids till 2 am in the morning , sat and listened to every single problem that i was going through and the mess that was in my mind and also the reason for my breaking down that day. He guided me , advised , made me feel at ease and light in the head. If not for his attention and listening , I would not have been a good mood the next day or even today. He is one of those people who show endless dedication in anything they do and undying passion. 🙂 

He is one of those people who has shown me patience always , no matter how busy and how tired. That s the most beautiful thing about my co – teacher. The most reliable and my personal guide. 😀 😀 

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SURESH AND CHANDRU

My devils but also my darlings. This dream camp showed me a completely new side of them. These 2 boys who already have 2 much of male ego and were always reserved , were at the camp more open. More kind. They spoke their hearts out to us. Obeyed us. Listened when we guided them. Seeked our help and most important , WANTED us there with them! 😀 😀

I loved every minute specially that I spent with these 2 boys because I was getting to know them just as well as my girls. 🙂 🙂 Now all my kids are equally comfortable with us and that is the greatest achievement for me.  🙂 Here again , we MADE A DIFFERENCE. 🙂

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Balambaaaaal!!!

Shwetha.. My girlfriend 😉 My best friend. The sleepover. The personal talks. She is an immense joy to be with. She practically had no idea what was going on at the camp with the frenzie she was in but she managed to pull everything together. A kind soul , to whom one can warm up  easily 🙂 . My kids certainly did 🙂 . She always checked on me to make sure I was alright though she was running about all over the place. She is the one who stayed up at night to help out with ideas and so much more. She is brilliant. 🙂 😀 She is the BEST! 😀 

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SINDHUJA!!! (sorry girl. I seriously had no other picture of you from camp 😛 )

And last but not the least ; the Coordinator of Dream Camp. Very organised. Fully planned. Very reliable and of course very dedicated. She would yell , boss you , pile  you with work , but she is a lovely person to be around 🙂 🙂

If the DREAM CAMP was what it was… It was ONLY and ONLY because of HER!!! 😀 😀 She managed to give equal job roles to everyone , give priorities to everyone’s ideas and opinions , help along with any problem anyone had , make sure we had everything we need and also that we had FUN!!! 😀 All in all , she pulled it off with style!! 😀 😀 

 

Without these people , Dream Camp for me would have been something entirely different. Today , It is the BEST memory of MAD I have. 🙂 🙂 🙂 
These people have my full respect and admiration. 🙂 They MADE A DIFFERENCE for ME in MY life! 😀 🙂 

*snaps fingers and bows* 😀 

Dream Camp – Making Dreams Come True :)

Yet another wonderful experience with M.A.D Chennai. The Dream Camp! A 2 day super camp where our little ones and some big ones were exposed to a lot of value – oriented and talent – oriented workshops. Needless to say , for as long as I was there I could see NOTHING but smiles , excitement and enthusiasm on the faces of the kids. 😀 😀 😀

Unfortunately , I could stay just for the 1st day. But that was enough to make my heart just stay back at the camp while i sadly had to leave 😦

Day 1 of day camp started off with us taking our kids to INDeco Hotel in Mahabalipuram ( gorgeous by day and shady by night 😛 ) with a beautiful beach you wouldn’t want to miss!! 😀

The bus ride was absolutely amazing and a lot of fun specially with the DB boys being themselves and their impossible songs!! :O (god knows where they find these songs 😐 )

I was so surprised to find my kids (CHI) just being so silent and staring off into space. I expected them to make the most racket. *sigh* Well , with too many of us standing on the ” FUN BUS” a few of us switched to another bus with the GL kids. Boy, were my kids annoyed. 😦 But they were pretty chill about it later.

Now , THAT bus was a WHOLE OTHER scene. The shady talks 😉 , the song singing till our voices went hoarse , the kids dancing , making of fun of our fav volunteers , daring each other to do stuff , all that was complete bliss 🙂 🙂  except for the fact that compared to everyone else I was so short that i had to ask people to keep moving out of the way for me to see what the kids were doing in the bus 😦 In the end they just pushed me forward while most of them were standing either on the other side of the bus or behind me like body guards 😛 😀

Finally we reached the hotel. You should have seen their faces!! The kids were so excited and ready to run all over the place. Thankfully for our AWESOME mentors , the kids were put into groups and taken into the hotel.

As I was not a mentor and pretty much had NOTHING to do.. I volunteered to take care of the experiment things and bags. Boy were they heavy! 😦 Sheesh! I was so paranoid about losing them that I refused to keep them down anywhere until my co-teacher gave me a stern glare and I had to leave them behind the coffee table 😦 *hmph*

After breakfast we went into the conference hall to give our kids their AWESOME dream camp tees and shoes. They were all excited about it and showing off to one another. I could not help be excited myself and just could not stop clicking photos of them. I had completely forgotten i was a co-mentor . My mentor just stared at me and was like ” HELP ME!” By the time I could react , my kids had pulled the camera away from me and were clicking away. All good anyway as I had no idea where to keep it while helping my mentor out. There was a little bit of a shoe disaster where we had to endure a lot of glares from our kids 😛 but finally all ended well with them running n skidding about in their Dream Camp outfit 🙂

Finally , after what felt like a eternity and with the kids getting restless , the SESSIONS started! The kids had their very first cooking session where they were taught how to make vegetable soup and fried rice. The enthusiasm was so much that , some kids even got up to see how they were made and what ingredients were used. We had to make sure they sat back down so that the other kids could see. After all that fuss , the kids finally got to taste the soup and fried rice! 😀 They were so happy about it , that my camera pretty much clicked by itself 😛

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After that we had a talk on Army Personnel for which i was so surprised at the kind of questions my kids came up. I had no idea if those kind of questions could be asked or not. So i told them which of those that could be asked openly and those that could not. They approached the speaker separately for the inappropriate questions. I was so happy and proud that they actually wanted to know so much. Whether they understood or not was beyond me but they sounded interested. That was enough. 🙂 🙂

The kids needed a break so we took them to their rooms. The room was not just a whole different story but a whole different world for my kids altogether. They just could not contain their joy. Even before we knew it they had broken up into groups of 4 and decided who will be with who. Everything seemed fine , so were totally OK with it. So as long as they just stay in their rooms till we call them out. Of course , there was the factor of the boys – girls wanting to know whose room was better 😐 I didn’t know if to laugh or glare at this. We just let them be and after they were satisfied with their inspection , they settled down in their rooms flopping on the bed with the TV on :O 🙂

On the flip side , when the time came they just refused to get out! 😦 Then after a lot of cajoling they finally agreed. Though they are pain , they are still so lovable my kids. What would I do without them. 🙂 🙂

Our next sessions was on Origami and Clay Modelling.

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Whether the kids were interested in this or not , I certainly was! 😀 I behaved and looked like a 10 year who had never done origami and clay modelling before ( which is true 😦 )

I just refused to let anyone take away my papers and clay and was very particular to do everything on my own. The other volunteers looked at me in disbelief. 😛 They found me so amusing but i was just too caught up in the art work to care. After successfully making my clay tortoise ( with which i was so proud and happy about 😛 😀 ) and a not so successful lotus ( which i was still happy about 😀 ) I gave them to my kids to keep for their carnival. 🙂

The kids also got to the play in the park near the dining area. They would just rush there at every chance they got. It was such a joy to see them free , having fun , enjoying , being themselves 😀 . It brought tears to my eyes. I just kept clicking away and when i was not there , I would give my camera to my kids for them to enjoy their photo-shoot 😀 They would always make sure it came back to my hands safely and I just LOVE that about them. They fully gained my trust at handling my things, I never hesitate now to give them. 😀

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With all the sessions , tea done n all that. It was time for the DREAM CAMP photo-shoot on the beach. The moment the beach came into sight , we had to hold firm on the kids to keep them from running. The looks on their faces are just etched in my mind. It was just priceless and no amount of money in the world could change that or melt my heart , the way their smiles did. 🙂 *tears*

If the dream camp photo came out the way it did – AWESOMENESS!!! 😀 It was because of the kids stud poses , screams and more!

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Now for the final part of Day 1 , the CAMP FIRE!!!! 😀

I was jumping at every step at the thought of it 😛 that my kids found me absolutely amusing and could not help giggling. I didn’t mind. They were happy and that s all mattered. 🙂

The camp fire ended with beautiful violin music , the MAD band and our kids singing and playing the drums 🙂

I could not have been more proud of them , so happy and at the moment the only thing I wanted to do was hug each n every of them for co-operating throughout the day and being the MOST AWESOME kids ( though there was one point when they were a pain) 😀 . But I would rather forget that , because chasing them around the entire hall and park was part of the CAMP PACKAGE and FUN! 😀 😀

I would give anything to get that day back , to stay the night with my kids , have heart to heart talks with them, tease each other , see their smiles , and what not! *tears* 🙂 🙂

It breaks my heart to think even now , that I had to leave and could not spend more time with my kids. But they are right here , 10 mins away from my home. If I even so much so want to go just randomly give them a hug I can. That s what keeps me going. My kids , a pain or not , they are the WORLDS BEST STUDENTS n tiny FRIENDS. 😀

The bond that the camp helped establish was beyond boundaries. A bond which I will make sure never breaks. Not just with me and the kids. But also the bond which I made with other volunteers.

Right now as I write this last line , all I want to do is , go give SINDHUJA (Our Camp Coordinator)  a HUGE HUG for making that day happen , the way it did! 😀

Cheers!!!