Read Anurangi’s wonderfully candid description of her and her mentee’s time together in the June mentorship program:
It was a bright sunny morning and although Chira and I were both almost sleepwalking to the Salvation Army an HOUR early (don’t ask me why!!) we were very excited to once again see the girls. So when we were told to wait in the main hall where the sessions always took place rather than the usual waiting lobby we were even more excited cos that meant getting some extra quality time with the girls and as expected, within minutes the hall was slowly filling up with the girls and their offspring.
Now that, was a bit of a shock actually. Okay so I knew a lot of the girls staying in that institution had babies cos everywhere you looked you saw someone very young carrying someone even younger but for some reason I didn’t think most of our girls were mums too! Even my fav girl HARMN who’s only 17 has this gorgeous little boy of 1 yr and 3months trotting after her. And there I was chatting with this little girl who barely looks 13, nursing her 1yr old as if that’s the sort of thing I do everyday! But its not! MORE than half my friends are SINGLE let alone married with kids! And if my big sister didn’t have kids I wouldn’t even know how to hold one!! So naturally I found myself experiencing a bit of a (very silent!) mini-panic-attack! And I was asking myself…
Can I really help?
Am I really making a difference??!!
(followed by a silent cry for help!)
And then walks in the lovely MARSA her colourful accounts of a very faithful boyfriend back home (now that’s more like it!!:-) and the forever smiley EIPDN asking for Charuni akki every 3 minutes!!! Within a flash the place is packed with girls and we’re practically bringing the roof down with our nonstop chatter and the June session begins. First, we play a few games to sorta ‘get in the groove’ and then comes the much awaited story telling session.
I started off with ‘Children of Heaven’. A pretty inspiring (or so I thought!!) story about a little boy, his little sister and a pair of running shoes. (Watch the dvd! You’ll like it!!) but despite our best efforts (Thank god my fellow mentor Radika knew the story too) it didn’t quite work its magic on HARMN!! So we then asked her to tell us a story she liked and surprise! surprise!! It was Cinderella and she knew the lines by heart!! Then Radika, was such a genius and remembered Everafter; The more realistic version (with Drew Barrymore and Leonardo da Vinci if u can believe that!!) About a heroine who does have a wicked step mother and step sisters but nooo way is she in need of rescuing! Contrary to the fairy tale version, this Cinderella, doesn’t wait for fairy god mothers or handsome Princes but instead does her own rescuing and in the process rescues the Prince too! And I don’t know abt HARMN but even I felt inspired!! But I have a feeling that when Radika stressed on how this Cinderella, didn’t just look pretty and stay helpless but managed to overcome all hardships and find happiness all on her own, for a girl (who I suspect, still fantasizes about being rescued by a knight in a shining armor) the story just may have done the trick. ALL credit must go to the expert mentoring of Radika of course because before long Roo (that’s my nickname for her) was showing off some of her own handiwork done during knitting lessons which was so brilliant that it was quite obvious (with a little help) she could be the next Martha Stewart (without the blonde hair and the lawsuits!!)
So you see…its amazing what a new-age take on a fairytale can make!!
We just did VERY LITTLE but I now know that ‘very little’ goes quite a long way, and that at the end of the day, we HAVE in fact made a difference .
We really DID help and we’ll keep helping till they can help themselves.