Angana’s first day at KHEL

Contributed by: Angana Prasad
Dated: 18th October 2012

I love kids. Rich or poor, doesn’t matter. I just know that I love being with kids and playing with them and if this could be used to help them learn some values for life, nothing really seems like a better deal.

KHEL happened to me all of a sudden and out of nowhere. Much before I could stop and reflect on what is happening, I was already in Lucknow and today happened to be my first day of work. Or to keep it more precise, yesterday was my first night and today my first day at work. The first evening at work was more of an induction session to give me a better understanding of the project and my role and responsibilities as a Project coordinator. It was only later in the evening that I was asked to prepare a picture presentation on the occasion of Global Handwashing Day. We were to make a presentation before a gathering of some 300 girls, who had come together at La Martinere Girls College to celebrate the international day of the girl child. The homework bit for the night was dealt with easily and it was the morning session that worried me a bit. It wasn’t as such about the anxieties of the expectations of the first day at work but more so of the apprehensions of getting accepted by the team I was expected to perform with.

I wasn’t much sure of what to expect of the infrastructure at Ehsaas but had some idea of how the kids would be like. My first meeting with the little ones was in a way awkward as they were more at ease with the other instructors. I hated being the new one who didn’t know their faces and names. Following the trickle of kids to the plot we were to play in, I marched alone, observing their body languages, trying to figure out how best to strike it right with them on the first day.

Turned out that the volleyball session, which of course I was dumb at, became my ticket to gaining acceptance. I didn’t know the game too well. I made mistakes with my directions. They laughed at me. I laughed at me too and then there was something that we finally did together… We all laughed at me! Nothing really held me back after that. The little activity and demonstration of the steps to washing hands properly was pulled off well. My colleague handled it really well and I assisted him with my Hindi. Satisfied that we went by our plan successfully, my widest grin came from all the naughtiness that happened in between. From my hands dripping with glue and me running after kids who refused to get any close to me, to tickling them for breaking their line and making faces at their hurls of the world’s silliest jokes to finally driving in the understanding of the need of cleanliness in one’s life, all that happened today was fun.

Angana presenting Safe Handwashing Techiniques

Following this was an interesting meeting with the most special member of team KHEL…Shadow. Dashing, young and handsome but definitely not the type of being I prefer hanging out with it. There were times when we got uncomfortably close but our closest interaction remained at me touching its head for once, then full stop. For a major part of the time spent together, we cautiously ignored each other, at least we pretended to.
Then arrived my moment of ‘agni-pareeksha’. Post lunch, the large gathering of little girls flowed into the auditorium as i waited for them to settle down, with a microphone in hand. I got a little jittery for the first couple of seconds, but once it started, it went off well. We began with a small activity to help them understand how germs spread from a single source to a million others, only because of not washing hands properly. Then, trying to keep the presentation as interactive as possible, we covered the when, why and how of proper handwashing. I made no major goof ups as such, but had a personal realisation of talking too fast, which might have lessened down the impact by a small number. Akshai sir best described this situation as my first day, first show, with a full house audience. Don’t really know the real impact of this, but I feel my first performance was a decent one and the best is yet to happen.

So, to finally sum up the feeling of my first day at my first job, all I can say is that I am employed…happily employed (read in the ‘My name is Bond, James Bond’ tone)! :D