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Monday, September 08, 2014

Art Camp @ Badeladaku - Day 02

I Continue from here...Art Camp @ Badeladaku - Day 01 and Before

Day02, Sunday 24th August 2014

As usual, I got up early and found everyone else asleep. I had my morning tea and took a small walk around the town and watched it wake up. People saw my SLR camera and enquired if I was a journalist. Another English teacher from the town had taken my phone number the previous day. He wanted me to come to his school and conduct similar workshops or teach English. During my stay we met many other village boys who wanted to practise english and wanted us to give them tips to improve their language. It was also interesting to see that the two care takers at the lodge were students and spent their mornings studying. The main care taker took help from Gautam to fill his Bank exam papers. These experiences made me hopeful of a better future even in the remote villages of India. Better, not in terms of infrastructure but more in terms of knowledge and exposure to the outside world which eventually would make the rest to follow.


I returned back to the room and everyone was still asleep, so I decided to go have my breakfast. I tried Poha in a near by mess. I returned back and took a shower. By then it was around 9:00 AM and slowly everyone began to wake up. We were ready by 10:00 AM. I packed some buns, apple and biscuits for lunch. I had learnt to carry some food with me from the previous days experience. Late lunch always brings me headaches. I also made sure to have some paracetamol for my fever and headache. I felt much relaxed than I was the previous day. In our daily auto rides people enquired about us and our agenda. Many parents seemed happy about what we were doing and several from other villages requested us to come and teach there too.

The path that leads to the school passes through the house that has recently seen death. The house was filled with relatives and friends. The loud screams of agony from the previous day had today turned into soft moans of deep sorrow. 

At school, the kids welcomed us as usual and informed us that the transformer was repaired and the power was back. From my learnings yesterday, I decided to cut down the group to 10 and then make them all do same art work instead of three different. This would help me manage the crowd better. It was interesting to see that some kids were so creative that they came up with their own art work different from what was instructed. I identified few such kids whom I planned to train separately the next day. The workshop was much in control this time. Thee transformer was working but the power was off so the windows had to be opened. And open windows attracted curious crowds. But the door had to be closed all the time to prevent the kids from outside barging in. It was difficult otherwise to manage such a crowd and energy. 








At around 1:00 PM, we decided to call it a day and leave. We had no plans to return to the village that day. We went to the same Dhaba again for lunch. We had a good but tensed discussion that dealt with Indian culture, Indo-Pak war, Influence on America on the world, impact of colonisation on India, Ukraine crisis, Communism v/s democracy. It was interesting to have this debate with a group of people who came from different countries and cultural backgrounds. However, inspire of have such controversial topics and opposing opinions the discussion was always under control.

Rajiv left to Bangalore that evening. We headed back to the lodge and relaxed. Gautam and I were changing channels when we saw the interview of porn star Shakeela. It was an interesting interview that displayed hypocrisy in Indian society and shockingly in Indian journalism. The interviewer had a proud look on his face as he asked her complicated and tough questions like - "Do you like doing such films?" "Did you not have choice?"  "How many boyfriends have you had?" and many more that by his look were only meant to insult or challenge her. That made us discuss if he would have asked similar questions to a male porn star or had he not viewed any porn films himself. if yes then would he not be equally responsible for promoting porn films as her. But it was interesting to see that she handled every question with immense maturity and humility.  This interview and the stupid questions from the anchor reminded Gautam of his own experience that happened a few days ago. 

A journalist wanted to make a report on Stefan and Yulia and their work in a local newspaper. He spent several hours at the lodge asking Gautam unnecessary questions like - "Why do you support them?" "What does your parents think about it?" "What does your sister do?" "Doesn't your sisters family want to support you in this cause?"  "Will Stefan and Yulia take back bright kids to Spain with them?" "Why don’t they learn Kannada?" Gautam had to be diplomatic and not agitate the journalist. This is the state of journalism in our country. This is how we want to promote good work by asking personal questions to people doing it and making them feel uncomfortable. 

Stefan and Yulia were also asked to report at the police station as soon as they arrived. For them the formalities looked very erratic. One of the police asked them - "Okay, so you have the passport but where is the visa?" 

The story at village isn't any different. The teachers were taught to use computers last year but they do not take interest in it. As a result the computer labs are left locked until Stefan returns every year and finds a thick layer of dust sitting on them. Priority to caste is provided even amongst teachers and young teachers who are willing to learn computers are discouraged. But what was interesting is that the kids who have passed out of this school still remember Stefan and his friends who taught them computers and English. They are now in college and are ever thankful for what they have received. I met a couple of them in the shared auto to the village. The village had only one bus service that picks up students in the morning and takes them to college in Kotturu and brings them back in the evening.

Seeing nothing much to do for the rest the evening, Gautam and I decided to watch the new Surya film in a nearby theatre. We walked about a kilometre or more to reach the place. There was hardly any crowd there. We took the balcony ticket of Rs25 which was less than 14 times the price in Bangalore. But the balcony was empty so we decided to go down instead and join the small crowd there. As we sat there waiting for the film to start the guy in front seat spat on the floor. It was awkward but then I dismissed it thinking of it to be one such case. But within no time the guy sitting next to us did the same. I turned to Gautam and expressed my discomfort. He replied laughing - "As long as they don’t spit on us, I think we should be okay." The film Anjaan is originally in Tamil but since Hospet is close to Andhra, we had the Telugu dubbed version here. It was aired through satellite distribution and the picture and sound quality was no less than what we would find in the cities for 14 times the ticket price here. This was a typical Tamil commercial film with fights, songs and comedy. Midway through the film we had almost predicted the story and one by one the predictions were coming true. By 8:00 PM we decided to leave as we did not want to miss the Mudde dinner at Khanawali (Raghi Balls). Anyways the film had no interesting story or message to convey. We walked back and had delicious mudde dinner. Tired to death again and being on medication, I almost immediately fell asleep soon after hitting the bed.

Continued Here  - Art Camp @ Badeladaku - Day 03

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