Sunday, March 22, 2009

Gurukulam grows :-)

The next batch for LKG have been taken in for 2009-2010.

There has been, as always, more applications than we can handle. How I wish we could give education to each and every child... As of now, with our present expenses and support, we can take in just 1 batch of 25 students every year.

The process begins by seeing all the 100 applicants and their children..

The children are selected on the basis of questions like:
1. Are the parents economically poor and deserving of our help?
2. Are the parents willing to undertake that they will not disturb the child's education until the child finishes his/ her college?
3. Is the child articulate?

The next step is the physical verification by the Committee members and teachers of the actual poverty level of the children

We have chosen all 25 children who need our help most... Parents who lived in brick houses were those who had help from organisations like us... the average earning of each family is around Rs 3000/- per month, around US $2/-per day.

One of the more beautiful things that happened this time is the inclusion of 6 children of the Irrula tribe. They are one of the most backward tribes who exist by catching snakes, shrimps, rats etc., When we visited their homes, built by another organisation like ours, we were struck by the love and joy in the children and adults...

Monday, March 16, 2009

Impresive !

May god give you more and more energy buddy.

Interview on K Tv

Excerpts from an interview by Kalaignar TV about Gurukulam among other things...

Sunday, March 15, 2009

A Musical Treat

Taj Fisherman's Cove does it again - musically :-)

Mr Anand Sing Bawa and Ms Jean brought along with them a lively Dutch band, who wowed our children with their music.
Even more beautiful was their interaction with our children... It was a beautiful evening for everyone. It has been an inspiration for our children to start learning music...

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Wizard of Oz comes to Gurukulam :-)

Alliance Francaise along with Amar, director of the show, brought "Wizard of Oz", the story that was one of the "Reader Breeder" programme, to life :-)

Vinu, the Tall Tale Teller, gifted our children a visual treat of the stories that he has been visualising with words for them... The kids just LOVED it :-)

.....thanks once again dearest Vinu :-)

A Wedding with a Difference

Loving wishes from ALL of us at Gurukulam to Giridhar and Divyalakshmi on their wedding on the 8th March 2009.

It touched our hearts when they not only invited the entire 3rd and 4th standard class children to the wedding but also stitched a new pair of uniform to each one of them :-)

Our loving THANKS for this wonderful gesture... God bless

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Taj - Fisherman's Cove steps in :-)

March 7th 2009

Ms Jean, GM's Secretary, from the Taj Group of Hotels, gave our teachers a wonderful workshop on phonetics. As part of their CSR, Taj - Fisherman's Cove have always stepped in to assist our children.

Every saturday is a teachers workshop at Gurukualam. The next weeks syllabus and lesson plans are fully vetted and demonstrated. Every teacher gets to put in their ideas into the others lesson plans to make it more effective. All the teaching aids are tried out and the teachers start every week fully organised and ready...

Sunday, March 8, 2009

when the sea slept

The sea was having a siesta that hot afternoon.The swells moved the vast waters up and down like the chest of a sleeping giant.The waves did not break but lapped on the beach gently. Under the shade of a few coconut trees a father and daughter were immersed in a game. "It is your turn Laxmi"said the father giving his daughter a rubber ball.Laxmi was big for her age and was tall as her fathers chin.She was just twelve years old.

Laxmi moved her hand to her eye and took careful aim at an empty beer bottle kept about twenty feet away.She threw the ball but missed by a yard.Her face fell.Her dad ran for the ball and fetched it for her to throw again," its easy sweetie, he said .you are aiming with your eyes and fingers , aim with your is unerring". "See..," with one easy movement he threw the ball - splat ! the bottle toppled and rolled on the sand. Laxmi clapped her hands in glee at her dad's marksmanship. Again he ran to fetch the ball and he held it out to her smiling encouragingly.Just then the sound of a boat engine being cranked into life filled the still afternoon. At once her father's demeanour changed.'I think somethings happening" he said,"lets see what. "

Laxmi went with her father to where the fishing boats were tied up among a straggly line of coconut trees on the beach..The men were gathering excitedly and Laxmi gathered that a large shoal of pomphrets had been sighted close to their "Kuppam"(hamlet).The men were launching their boats one after the other in hurry to lay their nets for the prized catch of pomphrets.Soon her father also launched his boat and he waved out to her.Within minutes he and the boat became a small speck on the vast sea.

Laxmi felt a little lost and angry at her fathers sudden departure . She went back home and found her mother had given in to the heat and was sleeping soundly on a plastic mat spread on the sandy floor .She too lay down beside her mother and looked at the quiet sea through a gap in the dry coconut fronds which served as the roof and walls of their house.Laxmi noticed a few clouds floating low on the sea.Would it rain ? would her father get back safe ?Soon her eyes closed in sleep.With the last fisherman taking his boat out, the sleepy afternoon enveloped the fishing hamlet once again. But, while the sea and the hamlet slept,a few hundred meteres away from Laxmi's home , under a coconut tree two men drank steadily from a liquor bottle.It was hot and the liquor did not give them any relief for they drank not to enjoy each others company but to forget that they had no other.
A while later when Laxmi woke she heard her mother drinking tea noisily. " want some tea?" her mother had noticed that she was awake.Her mother knew her every movement and could read her mind, it was sheer magic but at times uncomfortable. Laxmi signalled a yes by nodding her head.She need'nt have bothered for her mother was walking towards her with an eversilver tumbler in hand. "Here" she held out the glass.Laxmi reached out lazily and took the tumbler .But it was hot and from her prone position she tried to change hands. Even as her mother shouted "careful" she lost her grip and down came the tea and tumbler to the floor."You clumsy idiot" ,her mother shouted instantaneously " look what you have done".

Laxmi got up .The tea was already swallowed up by the sand- "clean it up" her mother ordered "or the ants will kill us at night".Laxmi wished that her mother would'nt exaggerate everything so,but she didnt question.With an old piece of cloth she gathered the tea soaked sand and dumped it outside.She looked around and saw that it had become almost dark,not that it was night but that a thick mass of clouds covered the sky and made the evening dark.The wind was cool on her face."Mother" she said " i want some tea " But her mother pretended not to hear."i want some tea" repeated Laxmi ."No milk and its getting dark, looks like rain too.Its time your dad came back" Her mother did not give in.

" Ii'll go and buy the milk, i'll run ,i want tea .Laxmi was insistent. Then she tried a different pitch ."Mummy please , please...Laxmi now pleaded. "i'll see if any of the boats are back". Laxmi had touched the right chord.Her mother wordlessly gave in to Laxmi and her own worry about her husband being out n the open sea when a storm was coming on.She pulled her saree's loose end which was hanging from her shoulder . At the end hung the family treasure chest in a knot. she opened it and drew out a crumpled ten rupee note."Get half a litre and come back quickly "she said.

Delighted ,Laxmi grabbed the money and ran out. The shops were all located away from the hamlet and from the sea by hard nosed petty shopkeepers who lived off the fishermen and ignored the sea. So it was that Laxmi had to go past the two men who still lolled about drunk and aimless on the beach. They waved to Laxmi and smiled at her,but her mother had dinned it into her head never to respond to strangers. Averting her gaze she walked uneasily past.Soon she was at the grocery shop."Sorry" said the shopkeeper when Laxmi asked for milk , i dont have a half litre packet.Seeing her disappointment he laughed and said "but i have two quarter litres".Quickly Laxmi bought the milk and with one packet in each hand she ran back to her home. The men had dissappeared and Laxmi felt relieved. It began to rain lightly.
Suddenly, Laxmi heard the sound of feet rushing towards her on the sand , one man was running towards her from front.She heard and then saw the other man closing in swiftly from behind.They had laid a trap for Laxmi.Instinctively Laxmi threw the quarter litre milk packet at the man in front and she had the satisfaction of seeing it burst open on his face splattering him with milk. Laxmi would have laughed if she had time but then the other man was close . She turned and ran to the sea, the great mother who took care of them all and was always revered but never feared.

Laxmi , like all fisherfolk could swim like a fish but only when she ran into the dark sea she realized how rough it had become. The rain began to pour down on Laxmi , the agitated sea and the drunken men furiously. But the men were crazed and ran behind Laxmi into the sea.As if in anger the waves fell on the beach with thunderous sound .One after the other the men breasted the waves but Laxmi dived deep under. Holding her breath she swam strongly away from the beach and felt momentarily that she had escaped.But when Laxmi came up for air she had a rude shock ,just behind her were the two men. Desperate, she dived under the waves again.
This time when she came up for air ,through the sound of the rain and sea Laxmi heard the one thing which made her thrill with hope- it was her fathers boat. She could make out that engine's sound from a hundred other boats.It gave her tremendous energy and she struck out towards the boat's path strongly.Even as she neared the boat she could hear the two men catching up with her. She spotted her father in the boat . He was bent down .Then he straighened up and threw something with deadly accuracy . One big and fresh pomphret flew over Laxmi's head and landed smack on the face of one man.Several more pomphrets rained down on the two men and they stopped swimming after her.

Within moments the boat chugged near and her father was leaning out of the boat to catch her.With both hands he grabbed her and with a mighty heave pulled her inside the boat.With her weight and the motion of the small boat he lost his balance and father and daughter fell right into the heaped pomphrets.Her father tried to hug her protectively. But Laxmi was angry, she floundered only for a moment among the fishin her father's grasp . Then she got up picked a large pomphret and without taking aim threw it with all her might at the two men.It hit one on the shoulder."Good Laxmi,your aim is improving" chuckled her father. Then Laxmi just collapsed in her father's strong arms. She was safe.Her father nor she ever missed their mark.

A while later,when Laxmi ,opened her eyes again, a circle of friends and neighbours were sitting around her in her home. She closed her eyes quickly and listened to the hum of voices.Laughter and anger alternated at the events of the evening. Her proud father's recounting of Laxmi's accurate throw, her fight to escape from the two men and her swimming ability made her appear larger than life..Some young men from the village had rushed to catch the two drunken men and still not returned.Everyone was waiting.

Then suddenly Laxmi remembered ," Mother" she said " i want tea!" Then the cheers broke out. "there she's awake, and she wants tea still !" Laughter rang out loudly and shook the little hut with its dryleaf roof and walls. But it was built on the rocksolid foundation of love. Laxmi felt secure and happy amidst that circle of love and appreciation which is what every child needs, of course , along with a hot cups of tea now and then !

Outside the squall had passed as quickly as it had come and the sea was quiet again but not asleep.It would never sleep again for when it sleeps like the consciense of indifferent or perverted people little children are in danger. Would the seamother allow that ?

Would you ?
with regards,

Thursday, March 5, 2009

A New Class Room Opens :-)

Dear All

One more milestone for our school :-)

A new classroom has been completed and ready for taking in the next batch of LKG kids next academic year

Archibald Campbridge Masonic Lodge had donated funds to build 1 new classroom... and today we had a sweet ceremony dedicating it open.

District Grand Master K R N Menon was our Chief Guest and honoured us by cutting the ribbon and dedicated the classroom open...

Master of the Lodge Mr Jacob Kurian was our Guest of Honour...

He was all praises for the children...their English diction...the joy and smiles on their faces.. their karate skills and dancing. We hope to see him time and again at our school :-)

Our children were all enthusiasm :-) and put up a few events to commemorate this day...

One of the most appreciated was a Tai Chi demo, put up by Sensei Ravi Krishnan along with our teacher Ms Shabana and the children... This is the first time our children have put up a demo of Tai-Chi for the public

The children put up a karate demo for our guests that wow :-) ed them...

Mr Jacob Kurien felt he was more on pins and needles than the children themselves that they get their breaking technique right...

The dancing was as good as ever with a new Bhangra thrown in :-)

Monday, March 2, 2009

This post has been pending for some time cos of a short story that i wrote which among other things was a garb for educating girls about their rights.The storytelling session went off very well and for the first time , taking a hint from the comment on the blog, a puppet went into action . I named him Murukku- which in Tamil has two meanings. To be spirited and able and also is one of the tastiest , crunchiest and popular snack of South india. As expected the puppet Murukku was welcomed with joy and Pragatheesh of 4th std soon came to me with a small moving paper production which he introduced as "Jurukku" younger brother of Murukku!!!
To get back to the storytelling , the question and answer session was extremely illuminating. They were clear and pretty vocal that two drunks who chased a little girl into the sea( she is rescued by her father) should be punished as what the men did was wrong.It was rewarding to see their indignation. The story " when the sea slept " is under yet another revision will post it soon.
Then Varsha and Suhashini also cleared their viva and now that most of the regulars have got their first level BOOKWORM badges it is now time to go ahead with the 2nd level ,the BOOKBEE ! Any pictures of Bees with a book in the bonnet mail it please .Am looking for a catchy picture for makeing the Bookbee Badge. For the first level we read 12 fairytales.The 2nd level is going to be 12 folk tales all from india and the 3rd level (BOOKBUTTERFLY) will be folk tales from all over the world. Join me in making a list of the 12 best Indian folktales for now.
The highlight of this session was of course Murukku !
with warm regards to all,

Sports Day 2009

It has been an amazing day of fun n achievments...

Arut Chelvar Dr
N Mahalingam, Chairman, Sakthi Group of Companies, was our Chief Guest....

Padma Bushan Dr V C Kulandaiswami Chairman Tamil Virtual University and former Vice Chancellor Anna University, Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU), Madurai Kamaraj University

Dr Soundaravalli Kulandaiswamy former Regional Director Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU)

along with Mr P Sridhar, President, Rotary Club of Meenambakkam were our Guests of Honour

Apart from the events and competitions, our children put up a spectacular demonstration of Karate, Yoga and Dance

The children's demo captivated every single imagination :-)

Yoga was equally captivating... As you know, karate, yoga and meditation are a regular way of life for ALL our children every day

Gurukulam has been successfully implementing a reward system... We have a big score board prominently displayed... The school is divided into 4 houses - Red, Blue, Yellow and Green. Any child excelling in something gets rewarded with points and his House gets those points. The score board reads the addition of marks with the childs name... every child is working hard to get his/ her House on top :-)

This year the Overall Trophy has been won by the Red House and Pragadeesh of IV Standard is collecting the trophy from our Chief Guest.

The Guests of Honour distributed all the trophies... This was the pinnacle of the days events :-) of course...

We had a wonderful gift from the Rotary Club of Meenambakkam to top it all :-)

The Rotary Club has gifted us 5 NEW computers and have undertaken to maintain them for life time :-) God Bless the Rotarians...

It was one wonderful day... the kids had fun.... the adults were enthralled :-)