Moments cherished forever; Many wishes came true being with Bakul

Sulagna Sivprava

Helping the underprivileged, seeing someone smile and many more was in my wish list. There were few things which I always wanted to do, right from my childhood, but neither did I have the right platform nor the opportunity.

Once in a while I did but the experience was never satisfying. There was this urge to do more, to spend more time, to do it more frequently. And today if I’m satisfied in that aspect of my life I certainly owe it to Bakul.

I got introduced to Bakul through a friend and since then though not a regular volunteer but as and when I got free time form my academic schedule I did whatever i could. I participated in few events and did few other regular chores.

In reality the pleasure and happiness you get from helping someone in need or making someone smile is more than the happiness you actually give. Bakul has given me that happiness and joy. Given me many cherishable moments, moments which I had always longed for. My experience and journey has been a very, very memorable one. My best wishes with Bakul and i am a proud Bakulite.

Sulagna during IDOS Event

Sulagna at Jiban Jyoti Ashram in May 2013 on International Day of Service


Swachh Bhubaneswar: A Post Diwali Gift by Bakulites

When, social media is flooded with posts and updates on the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, a couple of young volunteers in the temple city of Bhubaneswar, made their hands dirty by cleaning up the roads and streets post Diwali. Lets see what they say after serving a post Diwali Gift..


10411764_10152885833419994_9097669896628918763_n“It was the next day of Diwali, when leftovers of crackers and other stuffs had made the streets dirty and unhealthy. We found garbage every corner of road. We the Bakulites planned to be together to start the Swachh Bhubaneswar campaign.

By the time  reached morning in BAKUL where I saw only 4 volunteers. We were very few but we decide to start cleaning roads as soon as possible. Suddenly we found 8 more volunteers which was a mere encouragement. So we made 2 groups of 6 members each and started the work.

Our Team B was cleaning the area near SBI Colony in Sataynagar. We cleaned the adjacent road to SBI colony along with its premises.

As we know the chemical leftovers of crackers are harmful, we took precautions in collecting them. It was so untidy and full of garbage and wastes  in that area, it took some time to finish it up.

But out team effort made it happen and within a span of 2 hours we completed cleaning that area. The local municipality, BMC has sent its garbage disposal vans which collected the garbage we had cleaned for dumping.

The best part of this act was our coordination, as we complemented each in our work. When i was sweeping the roads, Aarkaja was collecting it and putting all garbage at one place. However, Deepsha was multi-tasking by cleaning and in the same time clicking photos and obviously for facebook. Chandan bhai, was a guide and that worked in properly managing the work and Aarya and Sasmita was a great help in again cleaning and collecting garbage.

Later the neighborhood treated us with water and soft drink which was definitely a relaxation yet satisfying. The cleanliness drive was definitely a learning experience for us and an eye opener for others as well. the neighbors were quite inspired with our post diwali gift, and we wish next year they will adopt this idea of cleaning.

I would like to urge that cleanliness of our surrounding is not always something that we will wait for the government to do. our society is as important as our house and our duty is to make it clean. The roads we use, the parks we sit, the neighbourhood we live, is for us and its our duty to clean it.

I again urge everyone to Clean your surroundings, Plant enough trees and make less pollution because it’s our environment that matters. If environment is fit we will be fit forever.


10458344_10152885832054994_1593852007713568381_nIt was indeed a different experience. I could perceive different shades of personalities in our team. The A Team was considted of Ashlesha Nayak, Siddhant Nayak, Amrita Bal, Abarna Sindhu, Raiman Naik, Samant, Subash Bhai and myself.

We started at about 11:30am in the morning. While cleaning the roads, someone from the neighbourhood saw us cleaning the mess, offered us bottle of water, refilled twice and smiled.

A bunch of aunties were impressed but asked whether we were doing this to impress Narendra Modi which was obviously hilarious. and a young guy also complimented them and the uncle asked us in satire “KAL V AAOGE ? We believe that People everywhere are cynical, and making them believe and involving them in the process is the challenge what we should take up.

We cleaned the mess as much as we can but real impact or at least a dent may happen only if we involve the people of the neighborhood or they take up this issue of cleaning voluntarily no matter any politician urge them to do.

Team Bakul on Post Diwali Clean Up Drive

Team Bakul on Post Diwali Clean Up Drive

Diwali: Some things to Ponder

Lokesh, a 16 years old talented singer of Bilaspur, Madhyapradesh lost his hearing power because of a sudden explosion during Diwali leaving his dreams half way. Munni, lost her right palm while playing with the leftovers of Diwali. She had made beautiful clay models and decorated her small hut in a railway siding slum in Nagpur. Kamalesh Singh of Delhi, an honest auto driver, lost his house in a slum fire cause by crackers post Diwali. He was having a family of 8 members who later, preferred the railway platform.


Photo: Ananta Prasad

True Stories like this will never end, if you start writing about people who are victims of carelessness of few people celebrating Diwali. Here, we are trying to urge the fellow people not to be the reason of somebody’s pain by celebrating Diwali with crackers.

When everyone is mad with the Diwali fever, starting from Social Media updates to grabbing the Diwali discounts to buying the Crackers and family get together, the other side of Diwali is being washed away and many remains victims of it.

Karuna Mehta an environmental activist says, “Firecrackers should be banned as they cause a number of health hazards. People come down with all sorts of respiratory problems such as asthma and bronchitis. Air and noise pollution are also the side effects of firecrackers that are responsible for various injuries. The smog that is created on Diwali is responsible for a number of accidents due to reduced visibility.”


Photo : Ananta Prasad

According to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), a non-profit organization, awareness should be created for the masses. People need to understand that bursting firecrackers is not trendy anymore. It is important for the government to organize anti-firecracker campaigns and discourage people from bursting firecrackers. Parents as well as children should be educated on the harmful effects of firecrackers and environmental laws should be implemented strictly.

Observing that the ‘Right to Sleep’ is a fundamental right, the government of India has banned firecrackers between 10 pm and 6 am, on Diwali. The effect of this ban has been very positive and the sale of firecrackers has considerably gone down.

The Central Pollution Board of India has banned firecrackers with a decibel level of more than 125 at a distance of 4 meters from the bursting point. There has also been a considerable effort to do away with the infamous 1000 chain bombs.

Let each one of us take a pledge this Diwali to say NO to firecrackers and invest in a safer and greener future. Diwali is the festival of lights and we must enlighten our lives with the sparkle of joy and goodwill, forget past grievances and look ahead towards a brighter and happier future.

Lets Pledge for a safe and happy Diwali.. Lets Join Hands and clean our reoads post Diwali.

Join us at bakul Foundation, 16, Satya Nagar, Bhuabneswa on 24th October at 10am. For RSVP call 9937052417.

Lets bring Happiness on Diwali !!!


Team Bakul

Story Compiled by Ananta, Volunteer


See though their Eyes !!! 


Aarkaja, Volunteer

I’m not against the celebration as such. We all look forward to festival days. Like holi means festival color and Diwali means sky full of light. It is not a crime to burst a cracker but we need to understand the effect of our action.

Honestly speaking I enjoyed bursting crackers it has its own charm too but certain things that I realised lately altered my definition on Diwali. Two years back I got a new fish tank and filled it with colorful fishes. It was lovely. I live in the top floor of my building yes I get the best view of the surroundings but it has drawbacks too. On Diwali day we all went upstairs to enjoy ourselves. I almost forgot about my shiny friend in my fish tank. When I returned back what I saw is my fish tank filed with 12 dead fishes. It was heartbreaking.

I didn’t realise that being in the top floor the sound was maximum in my house and as a result the delicate creatures stuffed. The very next year I stopped cracker busting. By that time I got a new Pet Puppy. During the Diwali I never knew it would frighten her so much. She was shaking and yelling in a corner. It was another effect a felt. I took precautions for my fishes but didn’t know it would affect my Pet Puppy so much too.

My friend’s sister who is suffering from down syndrome and is mentally challenged suffers a lot due to the sound. She cries and screams throughout the evening. I was shocked, not because I didn’t know this but because I never thought this through. I near thought my enjoyment for few hours will be someone’s nightmare. I’m not saying to stop celebrating the festivals just think it through. Have a stroll in the streets  post Diwali day and see the heavy pollution which is hazardous.

For me enjoying Diwali is with family by eating tasty foods, Cooking new stuffs or planning a family time together as it is always great fun. The very definition of the festival of lights says bringing light but not sending someone into dark.

Kuch Mitha Ho Jaye …


Partha, Volunteer

My childhood Diwali experience was full of disgrace for not having enough crackers to burn but later, my parents made me realize the unnecessary wastage of money and pollution. Though being demanding I could realize it off late and now I spread the message of safe diwali.

I must say not only pollution rather birds like pigeons also die because of their soft heart who can’t bear heavy sounds. Simply speaking the conventional Diwali we are celebrating now creates sound, air , noise pollution, affects animals birds, wastage of money and finally it creates garbage.

I do help my mother lightning diya and like seeing her face through lights, what can be a better celebration other than this. Yes i do eat loads of sweet and my Diwali goes with lots of sweetness within.

Diwali in my Style 🙂


Anannya, Volunteer

Four years ago during this time of the year I took an informed choice; not to fire crackers. Of course my buddies found it ridiculous. Well, my decision stemmed from the fact that every year the planet’s temp is rising. The atmosphere is getting polluted day by day with poisonous gasses. Bronchitis, Nausea, Lungs Cancer are few diseases that are the result of polluted air we take in.

The fire works making industry employs poor children whose life is at stake. Secondly, are we planting enough trees to counteract the amount of pollution we create every year. Obviously No. With this in mind I decided to celebrate Diwali in my own way. Rangolis, floating candles, flower patterns, pastries, gulab jamuns are things I greet my Diwali with. I believe we do not need to preach people, just educate them. At the end of the day it’s a simple choice that the individual makes.

Diwali means indian pollution day


Manyapu Vivek 

Until 2008, I loved fire and I loved to burn all types of crackers, specially the dangerous ones. My father got learnt all skills from my grandfather about making of almost all types of crackers. We all used to spend our Dussehra holidays in my native i.e. Srikakulam, A.P. and from there, daddy bought the required materials for cracker making. After returning home we all sit together and help daddy in making crackers.

But one day I asked amma (Mom), why we actually celebrate Diwali. She narrated the mythological story of Ramchandra’s victory over Ravan and Satyabhama killing Narakasur which ultimately means victory of lights over darkness. Daddy replied, it’s for our enjoyment only. Then I thought, what a kind of species we humans are, just for our sake of enjoyment we are killing other innocent plants and animals, and ultimately kicking our Mother Nature into death.

I also heard from my father that, many people in the streets compete with each other in burning the crackers. My blood boiled high. Our Mother Earth is dying and people are celebrating without any care. I even asked few of my friends not to burn crackers, but the replied making a joke of me that how we can stop burning, it comes once in a year only, and it’s a tradition.

I was feeling helpless but I determinately stopped celebrating Diwali from 28th October, 2008 and started calling this day as Indian Pollution Day. I made up my mind to never burn crackers even in functions/marriages. I like to see movies using earphones that day to get rid of the noise. The boy, who once loved fire and crackers so much, now hates them to the extremes.

Manmade Disaster !!!


Ananta Prasad, Volunteer:

When i was in graduation, there was a kid (dwarf) staying in my neighbour house who had this phobia for heavy sounds. One marriage procession was going with lots of crackers having heavy noise and next day that kid was hospitalised. This was the other reason which kept me away from celebrating Diwali with crackers since my childhood.

When i think of my experience with Diwali, i remember, it was 7th November 1999 and i was in Jagatsinghpur which was completely devastated due to Super Cyclone. For the first time i had seen no happiness for a festival like Diwali. Children were crying not for crackers but for the basic needs which were completely washed away in the man-eating cyclone. I was returning from Jagatsinghpur to Puri crossing Cuttack and Bhubaneswar and had experienced the sudden change of emotions and people celebrating and burning crackers all through the roads and on high way. That was one of the reasons i left celebrating Diwali without crackers.

Last year when the whole country was celebrating Diwali the festival of lights, many houses were in dark in Berhampur due to Cyclone Phailin. I have faced so much of darkness of people now, the festival of lights which is more of symbolic seems meaningless.

But the most annoying thing that i have realised always seeing the leftovers of Diwali post the festival and which is harmful. Diwali in many places and in major cities have caused massive fire in slums and villages so for me the massive use of crackers and that to without any precaution is just a manmade disaster.

Interesting Facts & Trivia About Diwali

  • Diwali is the largest and most famous holiday celebrated in India. It marks the Hindu New Year.
  • In Northern India, with the diminishing use of Sanskrit, the word ‘Deepavali’ got contracted to Diwali.
  • Diwali is generally associated with the worship of Goddess Lakshmi, the Hindu Goddess of wealth and prosperity.
  • Diwali is celebrated over a period of five days beginning in late Ashwin and ending in early Kartik.
  • In South India, Diwali is referred to as ‘Deepavali’ while Narakasura Vadha is the main celebration day.
  • In Hinduism, Diwali is celebrated to mark the return of Lord Rama after a 14 year exile according to North Indian traditions but down south, the death of the evil Narakasura at the hands of Lord Krishna is the main reason behind celebrating Diwali.
  • In Malaysia, Diwali is celebrated as ‘Hari Diwali’ in the month of Aswayuja. It is a national public holiday in Malaysia.
  • Diwali is also celebrated in Nepal and is referred to as ‘Tihar’ or ‘Swanti’. On the fourth day, the Hindu God of death, Yama is worshipped for a longer life of the people.
  • Diwali is celebrated as ‘Kali Puja’ in West Bengal by worshipping Goddess Kali.
  • Diwali is one of the oldest rituals for Kashmiri Pundits. There is mention of Diwali celebrations in the Nilmat Puran, and is referred to as ‘Sukhssuptika’ which literally means ‘to sleep with happiness’.
  • Diwali celebrations in Orissa have a unique traditional practice of calling upon the spirits of their dead ancestors. They burn jute stems to shed light on the dark path of the spirits on their way to heaven.
  • Gambling during Diwali is believed to bring good luck and prosperity in the year ahead.
  • Diwali marks the end of the harvest season and the onset of winter. Farmers thank the deities for the harvest they had and pray for a prosperous harvesting season in the upcoming year.
  • Diwali is also a significant festival for the Sikhs since 1577 as the foundation stone of the Golden Temple was laid on the day of Diwali.
  • The business community celebrates Diwali by opening new accounting books. Diwali marks the beginning of the new financial year; hence, traders and businessman start it by offering prayers to Lord Ganesha.
  • Lord Mahavira attained his Moksha or Nirvana on the day of Diwali, and so the Jain community in India celebrates the next day of Diwali as New Year’s Day.
  • “Shubh Deepavali” is a customary greeting associated with Diwali, which literally means “Have an auspicious Diwali”.


The Significance of Deepavali – the festival of lights.


Photograph : Ananta Prasad

Sri Nihar Ranjan Acharya, Director, TRUST

This is one of the most popular festival of India, otherwise called the festival of lights. It is also one of the most eagerly awaited festivals in our country. Business men and commercial establishments, consider it as an opportunity to boost their sales and increase profits, while individuals use the ocasion to celebrate life and strengthen relationships. It is a great opportunity to experience the joys of growing up and get acquainted with all types of fire crackers. It comes in the Hindu pair month of Ashwin-Kartik, as per the lunar calendar and corresponds roughly with either October or November depending upon the movement of the Sun and the Moon and their relative positions in space and time.

In fact, Deepavali is a Sanskrit word which is a combination of two words viz. ‘Deepa’ and ‘Avali’. ‘Deepa’ means lampa nd ‘Avali’ means a row. So, Deepavali is literally a row of lamps. Today, in many Western Countries Deepavali or Diwali has become famous as the ‘Festival of Lights’. Hindus string lights around their houses and temples. Deepavali is always celebrated on the new moon night at the end of the month of Aashwna. There are many stories connected regarding the origin of this famous festival. But, as far as my knowledge on Vedic Philosophy is concerned, I would prefer to connect it to the Nava Ratri and Vijaya Dashami Festivals. After Ravan was killed on the 10th Lunar Day (Vijaya Dashami), Sri Ram returned to Ayodhya, the then Capital of Bharat (India), on the following new moon night (amavashya). Deepavali comes exactly twenty days after Vijaya Dashami. Since there is no moon on that day of victory over the demon King Ravan, the residents of Ayodhya are said to have illuminated the city by placing lamps on their homes and surroundings to greet their Lord Sri Ram. This is one of the oldest Hindu Festivals occuring in the month of Kartik, which Northern India commemorates the return of Sri Ram to Ayodhya after a long excile of 14 years. It also marks the beginning of the New Year and is celebrated with the lighting of lamps.

Some context of Vedic Philosophy (Mahabharat) also says Southern India honours this as the day Lord Sri Krishna defeated the demon Narakasura. Sri Krishna accompanied his beloved wife Satyabhama, in battle. Together they subdued King Narakasura and freed the prisoners who were mostly women. Deepavali celebrations in the North also honour Sri Krishna who protected the citizens of Gokul from torrential rains under the Govardhan Mountain. So, the people of Gokul celebrated it with much enthusiasm and excitement. Deepavali inherited from that. In Western India the celebration is in honour of the day King Bali who gave away his kingdom and went to rule the nether-world (Patal) as odered by Lord Vishnu.

For Jains, Deepavali has an added significance. Lord Mahavira attained the Eternal Bliss or Nirvana this day. The Sikhs have always celebrated Deepavali as they are mostly fun loving people. Its significance increased when, on this day the Sixth Guru, Guru Hargovind was freed from captivity of the Mughal Emperor Jehangir, along with 52 Hindu Kings.
Buddhists from India and Nepal honour Emperor Ashoka who on this day, adopted Non-violence (Ahimsa) became influenced from Goutam Buddha’s teachings.

Goddess Lakshmi, (from the Sanskrit word ‘lakshya’ which means ‘aim’) is invoked for blessings to restart our worldly and spiritual accounting. Prayers of thankfulness, (Lakshmi Puja), are offered for future prosperity by people of all faiths. Lakshmi Puja is another common factor in Deepavali celebrations which binds the people of the Indian subcontinent and now globally.

Diwali traditionally marks the beginning of the New Year for Hindu businesses and the last harvest of the year before winter. Many close their books and open new accounts with prayers for success and prosperity. Symbolically it is a new start — forgive and forget — in all aspects of life including relationships with family and friends. It is the time for community and family celebration with prayers through puja, of togetherness, of sharing all resources, of food and gifts.

Today, Deepavali/Diwali is enjoyed by most Indians, regardless of faith – globally. Everyone celebrates it through festive fireworks, lights, flowers, sharing of sweets and worship as is customary for each religious and/or non-religious group. No house is too big or too small for illumination. Artisans of all faiths, including Muslims and Christians, participate in making the lamps, fireworks and sweets.

While the story behind Diwali varies from region to region, the essence is the same – to illumine the insight as the Vedic hymn goes Asato Ma Sad Gamaya, Tamasho Ma Jyotirgamaya, Mrutur Ma Amrutam Gamaya (Lead us from unreal to Truth, from darknes to light and from death to immortality). Deepavali unifies every religion, every home and every hearts and India transcends into a land of myriad lamps. May the spirit of Diwali bring joy, health, wealth, prosperity, peace and enlightenment to all human beings despite of their colour, caste, religion, faith or whatever whatever!
As burning crackers is a threat to environment, I would suggest this Deepavali burst your ego, not crackers.

Sri Nihar Ranjan Acharya

Sri Nihar Ranjan Acharya

(Views are the own words of the writer. For any clarrification, please contact writer at his mail id. E-mail:, Ph.8895180621)

Experience at Press Colony Government School

Mahua Maharana

Date: 27.01.10

Volunteers: Lingaraj and Mahua


The Head Mistress of the Press Colony Government High School had requested for intervention from Bakul even before we had visited the school for book distribution.  She was rather excited about the entire idea of book distribution and it was one of the schools where book distribution happened quite early. However, intervention could not start immediately.

The school:

There is a high school (classes8 – 10) where we have started intervention from today.  There is an Upper Primary School (classes 1 – 7) in the same campus.  The Upper Primary School is interested in book distribution but not intervention as they are not too sure about the reaction of the competent authorities.

Background of the students:

Students mainly come from the nearby slums.  The drop-out rates and absenteeism among the students are very high.

Intervention of Bakul Volunteers:

The authorities had initially asked us to take the last two periods (from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m.) of classes 8 and 9.  However today when we actually went there they only agreed to let us take the classes from 3 p.m. to 3-30 p.m.

There were about 15 students in all in the classes 8 and 9.  So instead of taking the classes separately we clubbed them and took the class.

This is what happened in the class:

  1. Ice-breaking and self-introduction.
  2. Encouraging the students by telling them English is not something very difficult to learn, etc. and why should we learn English though this is not our mother tongue.
  3. Talked generally about the efficacy of education (without trying to preach). Tried to make it interesting by telling stories or bits of information woven around some adage.
    Example:  ‘Knowledge is power’ or “Pen is mightier than sword’ – we asked each of them what they felt about this sentence whether they agree with it or disagreed by giving reasons.  Here also we found that the boys were much more vocal than the girls. We told them stories about Alexander,  Ashoka and building of Rome.
  4. Made two groups of 4 boys and 3 girls in each group.  We played simple word game (antakshari types).  Now the girls opened up and we found that a spirit of competitiveness really helped them to come forward and participate in the activity.  We also made them use the words they have said in their own sentences or tried to point out the meaning, e.g. difference between ear and year or meanings of yell and yellow, usages of neither/nor, either/or, yet and yes, etc


It was a good experience for us.  The students were quite bright but probably lack either proper guidance from home or motivation or the teachers’ empathy. Most of them confessed that they could not read very well.  They did not have any books given by Bakul or any other English text book with them, so it was not possible for us to map their reading ability.  Their vocabulary is quite encouraging.  The problem area will be to make them become independent and happy readers.  The writing ability will follow as a logical sequence.  However, it is too early to comment anything conclusive about it but we can always go on trying.

Request to all volunteers:

Please send suggestions as to how we can further enrich the intervention.

Best wishes,

Mahua Maharana

Bakul Childrens Library


Team bakul

Compassion with BLISS

Sanket Mishra 

Fresh from an overnight hangover, one day you wake up ….. see the morning charming sunrays…. N from the window what you see ???….. some barefooted kids dressed in dirty torn clothes, with rusty amber colored hair… ….  Fighting for a piece of roti ….. U feel pity on these poor lads…. Feel like doing something good to rescue them from poverty……. The next second u think ….. “What can I do alone ????….. How the hell can I change the world !!!!”

The moment you turn your head away from the window panes ……  the thoughts of philanthropy are all gone ……..!!!!!!

I was the same …….. until I met “BLISS”……

As the name says …..  it is an organization with a vision to serve the illiterate….. to infuse a sense of intellect in the budding minds of those underprivileged kids…. Who might be an IITian or might turn out to be another Kalpana Chawla …..  who will take India’s pride and valour to zenith…

Ever thought of that …..  !!!!!! .   If not ……  then …. We at BLISS ……give you a food for thought..

At around 6 PM …. When I was about to set off from office ….. a mail item popped up which read ….”BLISS intervention this Saturday !!!”.

I pondered for a while …whether to go or not !!!!….. What will the team like ??….. will the people force me to come every day ??…. Is the meeting so urgent to b attended…… that too when u r planning for a movie-magic with your roomie???

Willy-nilly…..I called up Sai…. Whose name I checked from the To mailing list….as he was the only one I knew earlier… Asked him whether he would join me…..????  Seeing his enthusiasm …. I asked myself ….is it really that interesting ?????  As our talks extended…. He told me how his debut visit to a nearby school was cancelled due to critical health conditions of this father.

Anyways….. we landed up at the meeting room sharp at 6:30…as per the meeting schedule…..

Wondered……if the count of Infoscions would go beyond 4 including me and Sai… And I was bang on target !!.. it was 4 out of around 20 people from the mailing list.

A very jolly person welcomed us and introduced himself as Sujeet…(Hope I spell his name right !!)….. He was so rich with energy and bounce that we almost forgot that I had planned for a new movie..

Just then my cell fone rang with my roomie’s name on it ….. Asked me my plans ….. I avoided his proposal saying …..”Dude….. M busy with a new Severity 2 IMR (something work related)… Can we plan it tomorrow ???”…….. just to mention that I was not a damn good liar before joining Infy….. probably 😉

Although he was not OK with it ……. But somehow ….. he had to agree….

Back at the meeting room four new folks had joined us…. The first thing I noticed was a white lady with somewhat gray hair…..named Cera.

Later on when she introduced herself …… I came to know that she has been with BLISS and with some other NGO’s for the past one and half years serving the poor and needy….visiting places…..trying to grasp the language a  bit …. Failing always….. but never letting that last hope of flame to learn the local language blow off ..!!!!

Later that night as I was on my bed ….. I was drowned in the thoughts …..where I felt so miserable that being an Indian ….. I lie so comfortable and cozy on my bed……where my countrymen lie naked on the chilly winter nights on the platforms of railway stations… waiting for the death to shadow them any moment….. But at the same time, there was a feeling of elation that ….. if a white lady can travel sixty thousand miles leaving her caring and loving family behind…… just to serve my people …….. then why can’t I create a wave to change the current scenario of my state and my nation…..??????

I hear an echo  …”Thank GOD …….. I am with BLISS !!!!!!!!!”

Anyways…. Back at the conference room….. the 4 other members introduced themselves to us……

There was a girl in red … who bore an attitude with her… studying Bio. Tech …..

She had something scribbled on her T-shirt…. But was very difficult to read it as … is considered indecent to stare at a girl…. although with a clean heart….

A person in ethnics with thick specs …..named Govind….. very close to his eyes…. and a diary….which perhaps was his only travel mate …. I came to know that this person is an alumni of TISS…. Which I aspired to join some months ago ….. But my dreams were reduced to ashes…. as I was sandwiched between my work and studies… Hope I will have better luck next time..

There was another member who was quite simple ….. and was not the my center of attraction…

Then comes Sujeet….. the core member of BLISS…with his never ending speeches and mantras …… and not to forget …..he carries with himself a big everlasting smile and plenty of energy.

Just wondered ……  if he would be doing a multitasking of sleeping and smiling together…..

He gave us some tweaks on how would be our interaction with the school children that we will be visiting tomorrow….. Then he gave us some quick logics on the approach ,……which was a tongue twister for me…

I was a silent spectator till Sujeet’s question invaded my peace of mind….. which I could not answer…… probably I was lost in some dreams…..

Imagined …….. how this person was a nuclear bomb of energy with so different an attitude ….. He was that kinda guy who would make people laugh at him …… He was damn confident of what he spoke…

He had devised his own ways to break the ice between the kids… Occasionally….. his damn good ideas were boosted by the red girl….. which were live experiences from her past…

In a nutshell……. We planned to visit a school near DAV Public School…. Exactly at 9 A.M in the morning….. to distribute some books given in charity to BLISS… and to teach these school kids.


9:20 AM ….. Saturday…. (but 9AM as per India’s time….as we tend to run late by 20 mins always…..;-))……  everyone was there at our destination..

We were to take a class from 10 AM to 11 AM ….. after the children had a break from 9:50 -10:00 AM…

Altogether we were around 8 people on the school ground taking the sun bath on the cold winter morning….. Although the winters are not that cold in Bhubaneswar…… yet the feeling was awesome …

Not before long …… I imagined myself 10 years back …studying in my school…..waiting for a 10 min break … where I would go stand in the sun ….and feed my skin Vitamin K…..where the winters are far chillier in my home town ..

As the bell rang at 9:50…… groups of guys n gals in uniforms rushed out of the doors….. Some started playing with a ball….. and some went to have some breakfast….. others running….fighting…shouting….Yelling.

But, we 8 people were the show stopper that day ….. everyone around had talked and discussed who we are and what are we here for ….. with perplexed looks???….  Wish….I could whisper in each one’s ears ….”We all are your friends and have come here to bring sweet smiles on to your faces and a mission to enjoy studies with you all !!” ….

So…. As the clock’s minute hand moved 36 degrees ….to strike 10:00….  We moved on to our assigned classes… I was paired up with Bishakha and Shiv….

After we enter the class… the students all stood up to wish ….. but we made everyone sit…. Saying we are here to enjoy with you along with little bit of studies as well….

The next thing we asked the children was to introduce themselves to us …. Mentioning their name and hobbies….

Sooner or later ….the classroom get friendlier to us …… and we were not a stranger to them …..

One thing I noticed is ……. the children were addressing me as “Sir!!”…..which was not a very usual thing for me ……. Being an IT guy…

The preferred language was of course the local language……Oriya ….. but the class was pretty familiar with Hindi as well ….. as Bishakha ….conversed with the folks very conveniently.

The next mission of ours was to distribute the books …. Which we had got from Pearson ….as a reward to carry on this good work ….. Exactly 9 books per student was given …. All in english…

The beneficiaries were made clear that these are the books which would be taught in their class ……and they would be bringing them ….every Saturday.

We (Bishakha n me ) …..  the new invaders of the class had already made up our mind that ..they will be no studies today ….. n Fun and masti would command the day….  Then started the division of our class into 2 groups according to their roll numbers……. (all odd one’s in Group 1 n even one’s in Group 2)…… One thing that caught my attention was …… the students who were very shy while introducing themselves to us ….. were now active participants for the game……. N this is all how we broke the glacier between us …….  J

Slowly as the class gelled with us more and more ……. We got to know the raw un-nurtured talents of the class… n the next moment we were amidst the beautiful voices of the class inmates.

Meanwhile ….. we never forgot to appreciate the good with toffees…. and the better with some more….

When I stole a moment to have a glance on my cell phone ….the time was 11:45 AM… As per our schedule the student must have left the school by 11 AM ….

But you know…. When you are with some of the life’s finest moments …… you never know…. How fast have the Clock’s hands run !!!!!!!……

So,…..Do I need to tell more on ….how did I feel and how was it all ????

Now….. if I plot a graph between time and the noise level of the class….. It would be a steep slope going up and up till 11:45…

I guess…..only a missile launch could compete with this decibel level change per unit time ……  Pretty techy huh ???…. Ok….enough with it now….

The class was dispersed at around 11:50 AM …….but I had filled myself with an eternal satisfaction ….. of having done something good ……

So…now the Question is that ….. “Can I bring change to the budding generation ????”….. the answer is “YES”……..  As every drop of water makes an ocean….

Thank you.


Sanket Mishra

American Express|BCMD |BBSR| INDIA

BLISS continues…

“Somewhere on this planet, someone has a solution to each of the world’s problems. It might be one of us. With your help, we can build a more helpful world.”

BAKUL: Bakul Foundation is a non-profit organization that promotes volunteerism and channelizes cumulative efforts towards community development. For us, community development initiatives are not just confined to the immediate tangible goals, but go beyond to invoke and instill the spirit of volunteerism that underlines the project.

BAKUL LEARNING INITIATIVE FOR SCHOOL STUDENTS – BLISS. The Bakul learning initiative for school students (BLISS) started with certain well-defined objectives:

1. To promote volunteerism and public participation in educational development

2. To create an interest and joy in learning leading to promotion of independent learning

3. To develop reading skills in children first to enable them to read books at their grade appropriate level and then beyond

4. To create interest in reading leading to a reading habit

5. To develop confidence in children and to develop their imagination and creativity


Our initiative should ensure that after certain stages through the intervention, the children in each of these classes should be able to read and write the English text at their grade appropriate levels.

During our intervention it was quite disheartening to see that even children from Class 7 are not able to read or write in English alphabets.

BLISS Process

This mode of intervention has at its centre two parties. One, the children who are subject to the intervention and two, the volunteers who engage themselves with the children during school hours on a particular day in a week. Thus, it is an intensive and individualized process of interaction between the child and the volunteer for over a period of time. This intervention allows the volunteer to enter into a personalized relationship with the child that creates a space between the child and the volunteer in identifying and understanding the problems faced by the child in accepting a foreign language and then gradually being comfortable with its usage.

Why you?

“If not us, who? If not now, when?”

2 hours (out of 168 hours in a week) can make a difference to the life of a child!!