We started early as it was the last day of the Bhubneshwar excursion. All delighted after breakfast we left for Nandan Kanan zoo. A space which beholds the best of living interests for children. What they saw in books was all alive in front of them. The white tiger, the barking deer, smallest mammal and so on. They were tired walking and they’d come up and ask what do we call this animal in Hindi, then at times in English and then what does it eat? When does it sleep and so on. You should look at those tiny eyes, tired and curious. So at the end just to ensure that they don’t perceive city as the dreamy and glossy state of affair and to give them a fair view of another side, we arranged a trip for us to city slums. It was questioning and driving for our Saathis and children both. Few of them kept asking that why’re we here, it stinks, it’s dirty, so many people are drunk and how do they live in such small houses. Few came up and told me that they are poorer than our villages and we thought villages are poor. I said what does being poor mean and Jaybharti smiled and the queue moved. A child was continuously looking at the group of children playing something like a game wherein they were hitting themselves on the chest, the other child was looking at the children selling crackers and using slangs and a few children watched as a sleeping injured dog was hit by another group of children in the slum, and abruptly Padmavati said our children never do such things. Later in the discussions in Bakul library, Bipin said they should have an older member in the community like we have in our villages and everyone would listen to him and respect them. Then Sashmita said they all have their own hands, why can’t they get together and stay clean, someone said, children need space to play, then someone said they have all come here to work and earn money from the villages, look how it is, our villages are only nice. They told they saw a large building beside the slum. And they discussed several problems and solutions, the relieving part was that they could see and understand. While on the bus to railway station, they told Siddharth about the discussions as he was not in the discussion and shared how it was and they discussed several perplexities of the city life and he said yes cities are good indeed to roam around for few days but our villages are good to live in, to which a few nodded in agreement.
~ PrituVatsa Intern