I arrived in Madurai at 6:15am. Madurai is the second largest city of Tamil Nadu, and yet so small. It’s unorganized but then India has some order in chaos! As I walked out of the station, taxi and rickshaw drivers asked me if I needed a hotel, or if I wanted them to take me to any other destination. I realized, even though I am in Indian, I must look like a tourist! And of course I did, with my NIKON D 70 strapped around my neck, smiling at the rising sun, my eyes hunting for the right picture! Soon, I was received at the station by Tr.Nikunj, who drove me to Tr.Ali Zafar and Cr.Reshma’s residence- my wonderful hosts!
Though this was my third time in Madurai, I still wanted to sightsee…especially go back to the Meenakshi Temple, one of the most beautiful temples that I have ever come across. During my first visit to Madurai, I spent three days in it…just couldn’t get over its beauty! This time around, my destinations differed a little; there were schools to visit and projects to see and I was looking forward to it! My first stop the same morning was Suburaman Memorial Elementary School (Balwadi) in K.K.Nagar.
Ladies Circle No.8 supports this school and my ‘guide’ was this morning was Cr.Rachna Binani, who was also serving as the Area Chairperson of Area 1 of Ladies Circle India. The school, which has 125 students, has been supported by Ladies Circle from the early 1970’s (WOW!) and over the decades, they have been involved with Diwali celebrations, Independence Day celebrations, and birthdays. They have also constructed the dining area in school, have paved the outdoors area, made new toilets and renovated the old ones, roofing and even black boards. They have also provided the kitchen with utensils and a water purifier and a new SINTEX tank, apart from making a new library! I was already tired of taking notes of these achievements but there was more- the circle also conducts health camps when necessary, haircuts and holds a drawing competition. To sum it up, the school had Ladies Circle written all over it!
The school has left a mark in my mind…after visiting more than 150 projects, I remember this one clearly. The school had an air of happiness and hope; two very important qualities for the underprivileged schools. As soon as I entered, I sat amongst the children and made them take pictures of each other. Then I drew…for me the school presented unlimited photo opportunities as I moved around the campus. For the first time, I saw assignments hung on a clothesline! No, they were not drying the paper, but its a way to keep track of the assignments in a semester. In case someone forgets…just go and see the curriculum day wise! Now, that s original to South India!