I’ve never seen a smaller airport that Vijaywada. The arrival terminal was just one room and I am not joking. In fact, the entire airport was a surprise. As we parked in our bay, I could see a lot of people getting organized. A man carried ‘stoppers’ for the wheels, another pushed the luggage trolley, which resembled a cage. A small bus, which could ferry 20 passengers at a time, was alloted to us. It was the only bus at the airport. I was on the bus’s second journey from the plane to the terminal (which was a small room). There is no baggage conveyor belt but we had to wait at a door where our bags finally came. And then there was door marked exit. Life can still be so simple, small and beautiful. Loved it!
The next morning, very early morning, I decided to go and sight see. I heard from my hosts, the tablers of Vijaywada, that the view from the KanakDurga Temple are breathtaking. So there I was at 5am, waiting for the sun to come up and shine on Vijaywada. And as it did, Vijaywada came to life. The river Krishna, which flows through the city, slowly revealed its beauty. It’s the Krishna, which makes the city and its surrounding region very fertile and also the reason for its floods. Whatever it may be, it looked heavenly in the morning.
Since I was already there, I decided to pay a visit to the temple. The Kanak Durga Temple has a an important role in the Hindu mythology. It was here, that Durga rested, after slaying the demon. And till date it is visited by thousands of devotees who climb the hill barefoot. Unfortunately, no photography is allowed in the temple, which glows in the morning light. You can choose from the free entrance or the special entrance (Rs 50) which takes you straight into the main sanctum. No lines, nothing. After paying my respects, I strolled around and saw other temples in the complex, which are all worth visiting. Pick up a cup of tea, while you walk around, from the tea machine at the exit. On my way out, I stopped beneath the big ‘Aum’ symbol, its ‘trishul’ (three-point spear) pointed right at me!
Post breakfast I visited the Vijaywada Round Table Municipal School, which is in Ramalingeshwara Nagar. The school is the long-term project for both the Round Table No.68 and Ladies Circle No.52. The school has 125 children, who come from the neighbouring slums. The table and the circle have jointly built four classrooms and are looking to add another one soon. Working in partnership with the municipal corporation of Vijaywada, they have converted a tin shed into a fully functioning school, with an adjoining playground. The education is completely free for the children and educates them till Class Vth.
The ladies circle, jointly with the Round Table also donates books, uniform and salaries of two of the teachers. They have also donated a computer, a microphone system and have taken care of the sanitation facilities. They are now looking to buy some play items for the school, which is the current requirement. The RT/LC have also constructed four other schools with the help of corporate sponsorships! The school was beautiful, but I was having a fantastic time sitting with the children, taking pictures. They were more than happy to oblige!
Visiting projects is a humble experience and its even better when your hosts make your day special by doing a project the same day. Thus, RT/LC of Vijaywada decided to donate a wheelchair, a set of crutches and a hearing aid to three people. It’s not only about building schools but looking at such individual requirements, which can change someone’s life. Hats off to Chairman Satish, Area 9 Coordinator Suchitra, Chairperson Sarita and the wonderful people to Vijaywada who hosted me. Thanks a lot!