171st beneficiary of help – Smiley Magnets & Friendship – Lessons for us.


171st beneficiary of help (School children)
I performed an informal workshop (Smiley Magnets & Friendship – Lessons for us.) with these school children, by gifting them magnets and then playfully conveying to them the message that magnets can offer us – Just as magnets stick to each other, we need to stick-together as classmates, friends, family, neighbors and eventually as humans. Because humans of today and tomorrow will stand by each other.
There was one moment, during this class with students from 3rd grade, I had asked the children if any of them is a magnet (good friend) at home for his family? A boy, must be 8 years young, raised his hand and said, “I am a magnet for my father. His hair had grown very long and he was refusing to get it trimmed. I removed money from a clay pot (a kind of Piggy-bank) I had been saving it in, and handed it to my father and told him ‘I will pay for your hair cut. Papa please go get one right now.’ Hahahahahaha
I called this little boy to the front of the class and gave him a hug, while the other children clapped for him. I make the children clap for any student who expresses why he or she believes they are magnets, good friends, for their classmates, teacher, family or neighbors. Because, being a good friend to someone is like two magnets coming together, they stick-together and thus they should be singled out for appreciation and encouragement.
However, the rare moments that always humble me are when girls aged 10-11 raise their hands to share: “I am a magnet for my Mummy, because I make all the chapattis (bread) at night for dinner.” – “I clean all the bartans (utensils) after my family has eaten. So I too am a magnet for my family.” – “I look after my younger brother/sister at home when Mummy or Daddy get late at work and feed the younger ones on time.”
Boys aged 8-9 also look after their younger siblings at home. And these children are happy and proud sharing such facts about helping their Mummys and Daddies, siblings.
So many of these children become caregivers at such a young age. I reflected on my own life, a privileged one. I think I became a (kind of) caregiver, or should I say more responsible, only post 25 when I got married. Some people believe many of these children are late bloomers. I think many of us, the privileged, are really the late bloomers.
It is from experiencing such moments that I have never ever returned empty hearted from these workshops. It has helped my heart grow. And I hope those of the children too.
I do not know how many of you support Teach For India. I have not interacted much with their ‘fellows’ (fellowships), but the few occasions I have visited their classrooms, and they are mostly female teachers, even those teaching at ‘nukkad’ & pavement based classrooms, I observed they are doing a great job in being a kind of caregiver too. In thousands of classrooms and pavement schools. Love.
Thank you Kanika Kedia & friends Heena Kalantri, Neha Mehra, Arpita Mehta, Sakshi Jiwarajka, Anushka Kapur, Megha Kulchandani for gifting these children this opportunity.
Thank you #MukulMadhavFoundation & #FinolexPipes Pune, for permitting me to conduct this workshop during their free medical camp at Chetan Dattaji Gaikwad English Medium School, Khadki, Pune.
Thank you teacher didi Alisha Mahajan for assisting me & didis Malavika and Prakita too for initiating these sessions at Sarasvati Vidalaya.
#RakeshAnandBakshi https://twitter.com/RakBak16

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