A day off after six days of work is a custom we the ‘hardworking’ Indians follow; hence an official program on Sunday is out of question. However, this does not seem to apply to CSA, as we are a group that aims toward making a difference! And so, Women’s day, the first official event organized by CSA for the year, was celebrated on 15th June, a Sunday.
Never in my dreams had I imagined a situation where I would have to deal with 200+ women speaking in a language that was foreign to me. However, the linguistic barriers soon melted away in their enthusiasm and josh that lit up the whole auditorium. By the end of the inauguration, I had learnt three Kannada words- Kuthkolli (sit), signature beda (don’t sign), signature haki (please sign).
The inauguration was followed by events like Lemon and Spoon race, Rangoli, Passing the Parcel, Musical Chair, Bombing the City and Memory Game. The enthusiasm with which the women engaged in these childish games encouraged us all. Also, most events, which were supposed to be individual work, seemed more like team work. I now understand why their self-help groups have been so successful! 😉
During lunch-hour, the food committee rose to the call of grumbling stomachs. The swiftness with which the volunteers moved around surprised me. Though the food was piping hot, we eventually succeeded in serving it.
While we walked around collecting the leftovers, most women were reluctant to let us do the task, but did it themselves; we were more than volunteers to them, I guess. Funnily enough, we sometimes ended up taking away the glasses they were still using.
After the women were done with their lunch, the volunteers sat down to attack the food in the backdrop of songs (Special chorus by volunteers). Later, we posed for a quick picture; I don’t know who clicked the pic or how good we looked. It just did not matter then.
After lunch, we were back in the auditorium enjoying the cultural programmes organized by the women, followed by the prize distribution ceremony. Then it was show-time for the volunteers, we went up on stage and danced our hearts out.
Finally it was time for us to bid adieu to our special guests. They were given mementos to keep the spirit of the day alive in their minds. Each of them asked us to visit their homes and villages. The joy and happiness on their faces were the best gifts we could ask for.
After they left, a chai- biscuit feedback session took place, where we discussed the strengths and shortcomings of the programme. Though the volunteers had not been well acquainted with one another, we were able to relate to one other and work as a team. Though the day had been quite demanding and all the volunteers were left numb from head to toe, none complained, in keeping with the spirit of CSA volunteers. We found ourselves wishing that, if only for a second, the day would last just a little longer.
-Anupama John, I EPS