‘Aao Dekho Meri Kahaani, Aao Sun Lo Meri Zubaani!’

As I begin to write this note for Swechha, on my experience at the Reading Day held on  9th July 2016, a lot of thoughts rush through my mind. Starting from the number of volunteers that showed up, to my first walk into a slum area, and the bright young minds I interacted with, so many things had an impact on me that day.

It all started with us volunteers reading short stories to primary school kids one by one, then we made business plans with young adults and later we roamed around the lanes of the community to read out stories to anyone who was interested. I would say it was a long, exhausting day, with 19 or maybe 20 of us in one of the smallest rooms I’ve ever been in, the humidity added to my grief but the spirit of the kids made me feel so small in front of them that I had to forget about these useless things and focus on what was important- the learning.

Now kids don’t really care about what you’re saying and how it’s going to help them in the future. They are not like adults who will fake attention, they are honest and if you don’t appeal to them, they won’t let you believe otherwise. When I read my story I thought I was really clear and the kids are completely hooked to it, but I asked them if they understood and their faces were blank to my surprise. As it turned out, I had to narrate the story again and again and again and I still doubt if they understood it or not. I’m going to work on my communication skills and hopefully by the next reading day I will be successful in the first go.

Well that was that, and to summarize the experience I would say that I’m grateful to Swechha for giving this out of my world experience that made me more grateful for everything I have. In just 4 hours I spent over there, the house I live in became bigger, the money I earn became greater and the life I live became better. I’m glad that I had so much fun in doing this; I hope the nice peeps at Swechha keep sending me those “call for volunteers” e-mails so I can continue the journey for self improvement.

-Kamal Chugh

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