Oh! What did they say!

Contributed by: Angana Prasad
Dated: 27th September, 2013

I have forever loved children but working in KHEL provides me increased interaction with them and I notice that I have become much more observant about them. Amongst the numerous exchanges every day, I have been caught by certain things that these kids have said to me.

The “won’t leave you alone” kids:

Last month I got caught in the rains and had to spend a good 1 hour sitting all alone in Gol Market. As I kept getting bored, I finally met this 7 year old (street) kid loiter around with her 1year old sibling. I knew her from before, we have had many pani puri meetings before but we never really spoke much. I asked her to come to me, began enquiring about her whereabouts. Soon I was joined by 3 other girls and we began talking. We spoke about our families, where we stay, naughty siblings, how much it has been raining and so on. After about 15mins I thought I had bothered them enough. I asked if they would be doing anything else had it not been for me. They said they would have gone around begging as a lot many people were stuck there too. I asked they could leave if they wished to, as I wasn’t carrying enough to get all of them something to eat. One of them replied promptly, “tumko dekh ke lagta toh nahi hai ki tum aise akeli baith logi. Hum yahin rukenge jab tak tum na jao” (You don’t look like you could be sitting here alone like this. We will wait till you are here). It seemed like a good time for their ‘business’ but they chose to give me company and I do not know of many others who would give up on so much for an absolute stranger.

The “we will practice by teaching you” kids:

So in this specific partner institution that we have started working with, children are specially erratic in their temperament, yet one thing we can’t deny is that they have also given us the best of sessions ever. On one such awesome session of football, I was eager to participate too. Being a well known football pro
, the team that I was put into was specially dreadful  about having me. We got a good 15 mins to practice and prepare for a friendly match. As I kept wondering what wonders I could do in 15mins, my spirit was boosted when 2 of the better players from my team came up asking me to join them in their practice. I asked if they were willing to give up on their practice to get a few of my moves right, they said, “arrey didi ap humare team mein hain, toh jeetne ke liye hume apko bhi toh sikhana parega na. Ap bas yahin rukiye, hum apko sikhate huye hi practice kar lenge” (Didi, you are in our team, so we have to teach you in order to win too. You wait right here, we will practice by teaching you). I did not know what more to say, except to be happy about our (team KHEL’s) efforts finally bearing fruits.

The “lead by doing” kid:

My little old scooty faced its 2nd puncture only about last week. I pulled it to the nearest workshop, which seemed to be ‘manned’ by two 11 year olds. As I sat there waiting for the puncture to be fixed, I observed that one kid was leading the other. I asked the other kid if the first kid was his teacher. The first kid looked at him and said “teacher matlab ustaad”(‘Teacher’ means ‘Ustaad’). I asked the first kid next “tum toh same umar ke ho phir sikhate kaise ho?” (You are teh same age as him, how do you teach him?)  he said “hume kaam ata hai toh abhi hum unse bade hain”, (I know this work and he doesn’t, so currently I am bigger than him”, I asked, “hmmm…achcha! aur tum sikhate kaise ho?”(hmmm…ok! so how do yuo teach him?), he said, “aur kaise? Kar ke sikhata hoon. Main karta hoon, wo seekhta hai. Main galat karunga, wo galat seekhega. JO bhi ho, bina kiye koi sikhayega kaise?” (How else? I teach him by doing. If I do the wrong things he will learn the wrong ways, if I do it right before him, he will learn it right too.) I don’t know if it was my mood or something in the air, but I thought this 11 year old delivered a couple of very meaningful philosophies of leading…