Written by Ajaa
A TISS fellowship with Tata Trust, brought me to Bookworm and no doubt, being here is a big ‘Aha’ moment of the year.
I admit not being a bookworm literally but here at Goa, I feel so much a Bookworm. This whole unlearning and learning amidst a team of energetic and warm people, the transference of that warmth to children through stories and conversations, rekindles my faith and one can only wish this had happened earlier!!
My first visit to a LiS and MOP was in Margao at a new Bookworm school – Adarsh. And the first story I heard here at Adarsh School, was from Melcom. I had read a blog about Melcom before I came here and a live session meant much more to me than the blog. Very effortlessly, Melcom is my favourite story teller. ‘A Gift from the Sea’ indeed! The story took the entire class 5B on their toes to the beach, imagination running and giggling and spilling out of their heads. While, there are challenges of spellings, new words but the energy makes you believe everything else can be overcome.
For the first time in my life, I could closely observe, children choosing books from the shelves. I saw that happening after long, ‘a child choosing what book to read’. Isn’t that wonderful!! I wonder what goes through their mind but I am glad something goes through and that they can chose.
At the MOP Pajifond, as heavy rains and water-logging made us feel, children won’t turn up and as we were ready to leave, the children started coming in. Suddenly, the rain too felt challenged by this and mellowed down. Niju started with a game which brought everyone’s attention and energy together. We sang and moved about in a circle and Melcom, our story-teller got us back into a mesmerizing ‘A Gift from the Sea’ again. At both Adarsh and Pajifond, when children are asked what they see at the beach, they come up with many fancy things that tourist would engage in but as the story unfolds, they realize and are taken through much of what is a reality of our beaches, things thrown around.
Much of our energies went to a very important CLCE Conference in the 3rd week of June. Only when it actually happened that we realized how beautifully we sailed through it, These 3 days of meeting people from across states and people like Arvind Gupta, Usha Mukunda, Nina Sabnani and people working tirelessly with children and books was an experience in itself (deserves a separate blog). We had everything; people, poetry, not-fiction, stories, experiences, Goa, School and MOP visit and not to forget, the amazing little energizers by Alia. They need to be experienced and not written about!
As part of the site visit, a new school was added in my visit, Kudchire. Our bus ride through the beautiful Aldona, Flavia’s village. And amongst all my experiences with schools and teachers, I had never experienced such warmth. The teachers welcomed us with a Konkani Breakfast of ‘Bhaji-Pao and Cha’ and the children with their natural innocence and energy.
Arvind Gupta’s arrival had already created excitement, he freely moved around classes drawing children to him. There were CLCE participants from different states in different classes and though children were distracted by the visitors, they were also surprised by the distance that these visitors came from. I was in a packed and enthusiastic 6th class, which responded to Sujata’s ‘The Mouse and a Big Red Apple’ in their own Konkani words which Jewel and Sujata graciously accepted in the story.
I visited Adarsh, Pajifond and Kudchire again in the next week. While Adarsh was exhausting and at Pajifond I sang with children ‘Dhammak Dham’, Kudchire was the energetic and positive end to the week. This time with Flavia, I learnt return and lending of books and hope to have done it correctly. Finally I also learnt a Konkani poem from Kavita (poem-kavita!!) Chandoba Chandoba, laplaska…!! which went all the way to Kudchire through Sujata (thanks to technology) and came back in the voices of children. Lovely moment!
The best of things happen by chance, stay in memory for as long as ‘Chandoba’ would!
Thank You Bookworm for quietly crawling in
Till we meet again!