Six of them, reached Agilent Technology. They were greeted well by the employees there. The Central Team Head, Dr. S. Kamalkar gave them a briefing of the things to be done in this one month of their internship.
“The internship is divided in two sessions. The first half is for 10 days in the NGO and the second half is in our lab, Sri Raghavendra Biotechnologies. The first 10 days are all yours. You can try living another part of life. The rest is dependent upon your hard work. We are always there to help you out. This is a learning stage. Don’t miss out on anything,” Professor said in a very experienced tone.
All 6, listened carefully and nodded their heads in agreement as obedient students.
“All the best!” saying this Professor left the room.
ps..ps..ps..ps..ps.. the murmur went on. They started discussing among themselves.
“ No use talking about it now. We’ve to be active and work,” Sunil said breaking the disturbance that was there just a minute back.
A staff entered the room and said, “ It’s lunch time. You all can go and have lunch in our canteen. We’ve given food coupons. It’s with the instruction manual.”
All were silent during lunch. It was good. It was much better than their hostel food.
They walked back to the pg house. The weather was good in Bangalore so the walk didn’t affect them at this hour of the day.
AN: I am already feeling so professional. Aren’t you all too?
Pri: You are right Archie.
Sherin: We’ll get to learn a lot. It’ll help in future.
Ashu: That’s the reason why we gave the interview and were craving for the internship.
They reached the room and relaxed. Dinner was as bad as breakfast but they didn’t bother about the taste as far as it was palatable.
The next day they reached the NGO. It wasn’t that far. They took a bus and went to the center. It was built in a place where there was not much of air and noise pollution. It was divided in to different sections. One seemed to be for the boys and the other was for girls. As per the statistics, there were only 15 in this center. It had been inaugurated just 2 months back and it was getting popular slowly.
They went to the Chief’s room.
“Welcome. It is really a great thing to see the youngsters of today, to have taken up this responsibility,” the chief said with a warm smile.
“Please sit down.”
AN: It’ll be our pleasure ma’am. What do we have to do Ms……?
[She started looking for the name plate.]
“Ms Reena,”the chief added putting the name plate on the desk properly. It was turned towards the other side.
“You’ve to divide yourself into two groups. We’ve two sections. You decide among yourselves who’ll go for which section; try talking to them, befriending them and asking their problems. They might be happy to share their feelings with youngsters like you. They are taught to read and write and we’re slowly employing different people who can help them in the development of the skills they are good at. They need care and above all love,” Ms Reena continued.
She was young and dynamic. By looking at her one can judge that she could be somewhere between 30 and 35 in age.
“They’ve been deprived of all that we are privileged to have. Our constant effort is to make them feel that they are no less than the others.”
She paused for a while and looked at all the six faces. Their faces looked as if somebody had placed a burden on them. They all had the same question in mind: Will we be able to do this?
“Don’t worry. We’re here to help you out,” Ms Reena added.
The comforting words helped them.
“ So, are you all ready for it?”
“Yes, ma’am,” all 6 spoke at the same time and they left the room.
Their voice had a confidence now.
After discussing a bit they all dispersed. Ashu, Namu and Pri were in one group. They took the boys section. Sherin, Archie and Sunil formed the other group. Both the sections had been partitioned just that the rooms could be separate. Otherwise, everything was common for them; the playground, classroom, art room and the dining hall.
They walked across both the corridors just to have an idea. As they passed by, some kids peered from them rooms and were looking quizzically at the new visitors.
A boy who came out to drink water asked Namu, “Aap kaun hain?”
Namu said, “Dost!” and put her hand on his head.
They went and spoke to the respective caretakers and got an idea about those staying there. They were really affected after hearing the stories which the caretaker told. No body spoke much during lunch.
After lunch was the games session. Everyone was involved here. They were playing ‘Dog- n- The Bone.’
They couldn’t do much today as they needed to give time to the people there. It was a day when they had to observe.
Some were very small, 8 to 9 years of age and some were from 13 to 15 years of age.
Archie pulled Sherin’s sleeve and asked her to look at one girl. She was a tall and looked the eldest among all 15. She was wearing a green salwar kameez. Her hair was oiled and neatly pleated. She was dark and her nose ring was shining when rays of the setting sun were falling on them. She didn’t seem very enthusiastic and was very quite during the whole game. She didn’t clap her hands when her team won and neither did she feel sad when they lost. There was remorse in her face and it showed some kind of hatred towards life. She seemed to have attained puberty that is why there was some kind of a maturity in her face.
Archie could observe people very well and she always had an art to attract everyone whom she spoke to. She was a social butterfly and she always considered Sunil and Sherin to be the most sensible ones in their group. They were very comfortable with each other as they had the habit of working together in the lab, back in college.
After the games session was over, the teacher called them and introduced all 6 personally to the children. The kids seemed very excited. Archie kept looking at that girl from the corner of her eye. She didn’t want her to be conscious.
Archie wanted to go to that girl and personally talk to her so she sent Sunil and Sherin to take care of the others in their section.
Archie entered the room, it was not lit up properly. As she opened the door, the girl was lying in bed just in front of her with her back facing Archie. There was another girl in the room. Archie thought of talking to her first.
Archie asked her, “Tumhara naam kya hai?”( What's your name?)
“ Banu,”the girl said spontaneously.
“Aapka naam kya hai?”she asked immediately.(What's your name?)
“ Archie Er..er… Archana,” Archie said.
She started feeling a bit comfortable.
“ Kab se ho tum yahaan?”( Since when have you been here?)
“ Do mahine hue.”( It has been two months since I came. )
“ Kyun aayi?( Why did you come here?)
“ Main ghar chhod aayi. Maa ko dama ki beemaari thi, ve to mar gayin. Baap piyakkad hai aur wo mujhe bahut peetta tha. Isliye main ek din ghar se bhag aayi. Raaste mein ek madam ji ne dekha aur yahaan ye aayin.”
( I left home. My mother was suffering from asthma and she died. My dad is a drunkard and he beats me often. So, I ran from home one day. a lady from this center saw me and brought me here.)
“ Achcha….. tum yahaan khush ho?”( Are you happy here?)
Archie raised her voice a bit so that the other girl could feel her presence.
“ Haan. Achcha lagta hai.”( Yes. I like staying here.)
“ Ye kaun hai?”( Who’s this girl?)
“ Iska naam Deepti hai. Ye yahaan ek mahine pehle aayi.”( Her name is Deepti. She came here a month back.)
“ Ye bahut zyada bolti nahi. Roti rehti hai.”(She doesn’t speak much. She’s seen crying always.)
“ Kya hua ise?”(What happened to her?)
Archie stood up and went close to Deepti’s bed and called softly, “ Deepti……”
Does Deepti respond to Archie? Is Archie able to find out Deepti’s problem?
For answers to these questions check out the forthcoming post.