I came to SECAS on 15th June and ever since I have interacted with so many people, especially children as I have served duty in Kids Zone, Platform Activity and Joy of Science lab the most. Working on the train is a very different experience, you feel like you are actually making a difference. Often you want to bring a change but don’t get the right kind of platform — this is that platform.
In Attur, I conducted an outreach programme with Chaitrashree (a science communicator from 5th phase, volunteering 9th phase) at school in the interior where students were well-versed with the regional language, Tamil but didn’t know English. These cheerful faces kept asking me my name and where I was from. I and Chaitra made a great team as I conducted the activities and Chaitra helped translate for the kids.
This train also gave me a chance to travel after duty hours. Located 3000 ft above sea level, there were pine tree plantations and I will never forget going through the clouds in beautiful weather at Kodaikanal. I bought jewelry made from wood that I so love and I appreciate the intricate work that local artists had done. I looked at red-whiskered bulbuls through the binoculars and the colours were sharp and wonderful.
I end my amalgam of small stories with one about the kind of admiration and joy I see in the children’s eyes while we conduct the session or if they meet us on the street much later. I still remember, we were walking out the station one evening and one girl stopped in her path towards the bus and in hurried excitement waved her hand, saying ‘akka byeeee’. (Akka is elder sister in Tamil and that is kind of respect students have given me while I worked on the train). It warmed my heart that we encouraged the kids and they did the same for us by their little actions.
– Pooja Vithlani, as narrated to the SECAS blog team: Reema Jaiswal, Nitin Tiwane and Guest member, Jigu : ) Photo Credit: Franklin
(Pooja, is a Project Associate in the physics lab at Vikram A Sarabhai Community Science Centre (VASCSC). She not only loves to travel but is also a poet. Appreciating new culture, food and experiences, she is a creative individual who is out there to make a difference, teaching and inspiring so many students.)