I walked towards the Marina, Chennai’s longest beach. It’s also one of the longest beaches in the world, starting at Fort St.George till Besant Nagar, a distance of more than ten kilometers. Most of the locals of Chennai come to the Marina in the evening for a walk or a jog, to eat all the tasty roadside food, on a date, or just to sit and absorb the vast ocean in front of them. I think I fall under the last category.
I had arrived in Chennai the same morning and had already been at two projects of Ladies Circle. This was a welcome break. Apart from the one-off noisy tourist groups, the place was quiet. But then as the evening set, more and more people come in and that when I moved further south next to the fisherman. The sun was about to set, there was nice cool breeze from the Bay of Bengal and there was in no rush to go anywhere. I wish this were home and I am transformed into my childhood, with no worries of family, career or deadlines or photo shoots, for which… I was getting delayed. Just before I turned back, I look at the deserted beach and the approaching rain, and wondered if I would ever come back to experience this again.
I visited the Hutton Free Night School, named after Colonel Hutton of the Bristish Army, and started by Vinayagar Murthy in 1931. Situated at 16, Appaswamy Street, Harrington Road, Chennai, it is run by The Chetpet Recreation Union, a group of volunteers engaged in free service & provides free tuition/coaching for students from economically weaker sections of society. in the school, Students are instructed in all subjects from Math, Science, Social Science, Spoken English and Tamil six days a week from 6 to 8 pm. Additionally Computer Classes and Music Classes are held on Weekends.
MCLC 38 has adopted the Hutton school wherein 40 students come in every evening to be educated in various subjects. To aid their education the circle has provided a basic computer loaded with teaching software. In addition to this they realise it is important to provide a clean and healthy environment. To make it a little more inspiring, the two small classrooms have been repainted in bright colours to generate a cheerful atmosphere. Black boards and soft boards and computer tables are in the process of being provided. The children were gifted new school bags to motivate them personally. The purpose of this project being to equip a space functionally and aesthetically and to improve the quality of life in our neighbourhood itself. It was a great way to end the day, first seeing the smiles at the beach and then in the school. Little pleasures in life do come cheap!