Sunday, 5 June 2016

Chennai vacation 2016 May.

The children want to come for a holiday of a few days each year. To Chennai and to the beach. It is time of fun and floric, These children carry these memories for life. 

The small peaks of happiness are necessary for us all , old and young, rich and poor, to help us deal with life's harder stretches. 

May 2016 - Fifteen children descend for a summer vacation in Chennai from Paalaguttapalle (Dalitwada). They scatter light and joy, and leave with memories that will last for life, leaving behind memories that will also last for life.

The gang descends. A long hot baking journey of 8 hours has them unfazed.  A simple meal at home, and then the beach, and then a bus ride to Sanjeevani to see Dr. Girija. All the kids are assessed and prescriptions given, and Varalu's work as the local doctor is monitored. And then some ice cream on the way back. And sleep.

They retire  with threats of waking us up at 4:30 so that we can be at the beach at 5 to 'see the sunrise'. And I know too well that these threats are executed unforgivingly. Their unquenchable energy tires me as much as it energizes me - the kids and I are some 30 to 40 years apart in age !

A early morning trip to the beack, and then cooking for breakfast and lunch.

It was only after I moved to a village that I understood the essentialness of religion to the Indian paradigm. How a simple religion is part of the basic framework of life.  I knew then why temple entry was such a central struggle for theist and atheist social reformers alike. That right being granted to all alike was an essential step towards equality.

We headed to Kapaleeshwarar temple in Mylapore. The public
buses were luckily not very crowded. The children and other people in the village like going to temples, and this is a very old, beautiful temple. They went to the sactum sanctorum and stayed through the aarti. And then sat and had some prasadam. 

On the way out we bought bangles and earrings from the bunk shops lining the roadside, We returned content.These roadside shops are the shops that count. Where the poor and rich are in their comfort zone. Where a man through his daily sales manages to feed his family, and pay his child's school fees.

Evening was beachtime again.

The exclusive clubs of modern India. Can my village people comfortably and confidently walk into these spaces ?
Only those spaces which can include all classes deserve to exist in a country as diverse as this.

A day at the park. Children's park, Guindy. A space that belongs to all, where all are at ease.

On the way back, we decided to ‘lunch out’. This is a nice hotel. It cost 65/- a meal. My village children did not feel out of place. They were served a full plate of rice and rasam , and sambar, and some vegetables, a appalam, and a small cup of kesari. 15 of us 'ate out' happily today.
I would never try to make my children cross the invisible walls of hotels where a meal costs 200/- or even more. And their appearance and clothes will I know subject them to looks they do not need to face. In India such hotels should be closed. Or boycotted.


A quiet day at home given the searing heat. Cooking and eating simple meals - rice, buttermilk, rasam, groundnut chutney.

Playing marbles.

Learning yoga, pranayama - to be done in the village daily. 

Learning to make vadams which can be sold.

Patties for all

Tea for me and Annasamy Anna.

The evening meal - a single perfect dish of brinjals, 'nooni vankaaya' to be had with rice.

Quiet and yet full days. As in a village.

A walk to the Ashtalakshmi temple in the evening.

Roopa and Varalu got up early and made lemon rice for all and the children packed this into their boxes.

A breakfast of rice and rasam and leftovers from last night was had 

Before eating Shruti and Shravanthi practised their yoga. 

Bus stop. Good bye. Till the next vacation. Which was already being planned.

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