Eating is an agricultural act - Wendell Berry

Thursday, March 29, 2007

college kids

i was recently at vesit (engg college) for a panel discussion with mayank shekhar and rajeev paul (of mumbai mirror and nach baliye fames respectively). the topic was the state of education for the less privileged.

not at all planned from my end. one of my colleagues backed out and i had to fill in.

was quite an experience. mayank and rajeev were much more clued-in and solution-oriented than i expected. (that's a stereotype wiped out).

the discussion orbited around 2 points:
1. lack of role models for the youth to take up social causes.
2. ability to take on the road less travelled.

while i tried to downplay, somehow my educational background was out in the open and a lot of ooh and aahs. sometimes it does help to use those tags (will tell you why later).

i was compelled to try to break the boundaries in their minds by getting them to act and probably show them.
1. after the session, i helped the kids arrange the chairs.
2. me and another girl picked up the trash from the grounds where they were serving food.
3. took them on a slum tour right out side the college.
4. one rousing speech right outside their campus.

so this one student asks - "whats the use of an iit education if you are doing this". i said "you guys would not be listening to me if i wasn't. for me, that's a good enough use."

towards the end, a group of kids from the slum also had congregated, wondering what the commotion was all about.
stupendous development. the college kids wanted to work with kids, the kids wanted to get taught.
bingo, dalal master csm.

hope they make it happen.

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