Starting with waking up at 4:30am and rushing to the station pillion riding on a 2-wheeler early morning at 5am, it was a great beginning for an exciting day that was in store for me. It started pouring mid-way to station. Drenched, entered the station, bought the ticket from Durg to Raipur, an hour away. By the time train left at 6:25, I was reasonably dry and noticed young boys and girls entering the train. In a while, four of them joined my cubicle and started discussing about their subjects. Realized that they were engineering grads discussion digital electronics. On inquiring, found out that they were second year students from NIT Raipur. I borrowed the book and browsed through, as I was not able to really figure out Karnaugh Map etc that I studied way back in 1986, a good quarter century ago! It was fun interacting with the youngsters. I realized that half of the train was heading to NIT Raipur from Bhilai!!
After an adventurous ride, got to Indus World School, Raipur and was delighted to see the excitement among the young students who are waiting to treat their mentors on the occasion of Teacher’s day. The whole day then on was full of surprises with children and mentors singing songs together, the mentors dancing to the music selected by the children, an audio visual of all the mentors with an interesting backgournd music, all the way cheered by students and mentors alike.
In the afternoon, all mentors were treated to a surprise lunch at Magneto mall and it was a gala affair worth witnessing with groups of mentors running around the food joints around the court to get their favourite dishes, but eventually every one grabbing from every other plate. They almost tasted all that the food court had to offer! They were no better than kids!
The final stretch of one hour in the electronic games arena witnessed a complete pell-mell with every mentor trying to play every game and a few hard fought competitions too. Children if were around would have chuckled all the way and may even shared that ‘we are better’!
Raj, the principal, acknowledged every one by giving away token appreciation to one and all for contributing to the journey of the school. Finally Raj took pains to see me off at the airport.
To my utter surprise, I watched Kiranji, founder of SPICMACAY and a couple of more elderly volunteers entering the security area ahead of me. They too were surprised by my arrival. I admire this gentleman, Kiranji, who has given his precious life for the cause of spreading culture among the youth along with the band of dedicated volunteers. They were heading back from Chattisgarh state convention, that I missed by a couple of hours. Kiranji shared with me the developments and how the whole state – Governor, CM and ministers all laid red carpet for SPICMACAY and the promise that the future holds.. I loved the interaction, as Kiranji emphasised that we will have to grow 10 folds this year and only way to do it is to push state governments to work towards reaching out at least 5000 government schools this year. I was taken in by the enthusiasm and the passion of this 60 year young gentleman.
While standing in the queue to get out of the waiting lounge to board the flight, I noticed a very familiar face being checked by the security. I smiled at him and he too acknowledged. Once he collected his hand baggage, he walked towards me and I confessed to him that he was very familiar and wanted to know whether he is Mr. Binayak Sen, the civil liberty activist. He said ‘yes’. I was humbled by this gentleman walking all the way and asking me who I was and what I was in Raipur for, just because I smiled at him from a good fifteen feet. We had a short chat as he was heading to Kolkata and my flight to Delhi was boarding. He shared his contact details with a promise that we will be in touch with.
On reaching Delhi, I paid my humble tribute to my gurus, Kiranji and other elders by dropping them at their respective stations and homes and felt very good about my small contribution to the cause of mentors this day.
I want to say a big thanks to all mentors in my life, gurus, teachers in various schools and mentors, young and old, each one has contributed to what I am today. Love you all. mmmmch..