(Our team at the first Local Committee Meeting)
If I leave out the episodes that took place right before I left for my Jaipur trip, and the episodes that soon followed it, I would like to say that it was one of my craziest and most entertaining trips so far! Things became a little interesting since I joined AIESEC—the world’s largest global youth organization. It is already running in 22 cities all over India (and in 110 countries worldwide) and I was more than glad it came to Agra as well. One of the good things about AIESEC turned out to be the excitable, energetic people I met from all over my own city who I had no idea about. During our first training session, when I first interacted with everybody, I realized that I had underestimated the people in my town. All of them were bright, friendly, enthusiastic young people and it was a pleasure meeting them all. But more on this later; this post is about the trip.
Last month, the AIESEC Jaipur team conducted their Annual social event ‘Utsav’ on the 30th of April and they invited all of us as well. It’s an event where around hundreds of underprivileged children get to showcase their abilities through cultural performances and they get to spend an entire activities-enriched, fun-filled day. After a LOT of mind-numbing ‘will-you-go?’ and ‘should-I-go?’ sessions, finally it was decided that I was going. It turned out that I was the only girl amongst a bunch of guys who agreed to go. It did seem odd, trust me, when I woke up in the morning and thought to myself “Okay, so I’m going with four other guys in a taxi and I don’t even know them properly.” But then I told myself, “Look, it sounds bizarre, but it also sounds fun. You wanted to be impulsive and crazy, here is your chance. Just go for it!” And I did.
It wasn’t like they were complete strangers anyway. The car ride turned out to be amazing. The road was ever so smooth and the scenery was so picturesque, specked with the Aravalli hills. I sat in the front while these four bubbly, boisterous boys sat behind me; ever babbling, ever bickering. There was Sid Singh, aka Dexter- a dreamy, lazy, slow guy; but also, extremely interesting and has good taste in movies and books (oh, and he has a blog as well!) Tariq Khan, this guy is funny, quirky and speaks really fast (and a good singer) and passes the funniest of random statements that make me laugh till tears spill out of my eyes. Aman ‘Cut-y’all’, a dimpled, sweet guy who is like so totally sincere about his studies! :P He is awfully teasable and the only non-kid-guy in our group, I felt. Finally, there was Udit Jain. Cute, funny and very gullible. Oh, and very helpful. From the word ‘Go’ we were chattering away like monkeys who were suddenly given the freedom to speak after weeks of being voiceless. What I really felt good about was the fact that all these people had very good taste in art. We had a blast talking about movies, and music and singing along listening to Coldplay and the likes. We were talking nonstop from the start to the end until the driver had to yell at us to keep it down! On the way, we stopped at a dhaba where Udit and Tariq ran into naked ladies having a bath! Crazy!
We entered Jaipur and were greeted by its perfect blend of monuments and malls. That is what I like about it. It’s historical and modern at the same time. After meeting the rest of our members (Suyash, Rakshit, Amar, Uday, Navdeep, Apurv) at our Committee Coordinator Mansweeny's place, we were off to the venue. For the record, Suyash is one of best people to have been recruited for AIESEC. His energy, fervour is just amazing. Uday and Rakshit are these fun-loving, ‘don’t-give-a-damn’ type of people; while Navdeep and Amar are a little mellow, but always ready for anything. I was blown over when I saw the scene. Hundreds of little kids were swarming all over the place! They were running, squealing, laughing, chattering and some of them dancing exuberantly on the stage while the volunteers were interacting with them, serving food to them and had become little kids themselves. There were about a thousand kids, who came from schools and some NGOs. The venue seemed perfect, there was a stage, a lot of big steps which provided a huge space for the kids to sit and play around and there was a big field as well. We just stood around jobless for a while and met some of the Jaipur AIESEC people we knew and then we were ushered to do some volunteer work. We made the kids stand in two lines while they went and got the food served to them on plates. But the whole line-making scene got a little messy, so we took the plates and served it to them where they were sitting. It felt good, when they smiled in the cutest way ever and received the food.
(Left to right: Amar, Suyash, Tariq, Navdeep, Sid, Mansweeny, Uday, Moi, Udit, Aman, Rakshit)
(They'd got the moves)
There was a drawing competition for the kids. They were provided with sheets, pencils, colours and were asked to draw absolutely anything. They were happy, eager little kids and they all chose a spot where they sat down comfortably; wore their thinking caps and began to draw. I was seriously amazed at AIESEC Jaipiur members’ spirit. Even though it was a scorching hot day, they were full of enthusiasm; they were talking to the kids, motivating them and just having fun. Suddenly I was perked up as well. I went around and saw the drawings the kids were making, talked to them, asked them their names and about their school and their lives and complimented their drawings. Some of the kids actually used their imagination and drew beautifully. My favourite ‘draw anything’ drawing used to be angular mountains at the top, the sun peeping out smiling, a house with chimney and smoke, a river with ducks swimming in it, a tree with mangoes falling off it, and a few V-shaped birds in the sky. Very original, right?
The kids were just adorable, they flashed their teeth as I walked around, showing off their drawings proudly. This one kid in particular I simply loved. His name was Deepak and he made a lot of colourful circles on the paper. I sat down beside him and asked him “ye aapne kya banaya hai?” Pat came his reply, “rang birangey laddoo ki barsaat” and just smiled in the silliest way possible. I couldn’t stop myself from laughing and hugging him. After every ten minutes he would come running up to me and give me updates “didi mere dost ne meri drawing ki cheating ki, par prize to mujhe hi milna chahiye!” He was just so cute and energetic, his eyes were big and bright and full of life.
(The face of innocence)
(Apurv with the kids)
There were sprinklers on the field and the kids were playing around them, getting wet, laughing and dancing. I just looked at them. They were just so cheerful. So innocent. So blissful. There were some deaf and dumb kids who gave a dance performance. It was absolutely brilliant. The little kids were reciting poems on the mic. They were the cutest, most delightful things I’ve ever heard. I was amazed at the energy reverberating throughout. The kids with the best drawings were given prizes. Before we left, Deepak came running to me and yelled a jolly, high-pitched “BYE” and ran off. The whole thing was nothing like I’ve ever experienced. The idea was to give those kids a day where they can have fun, be free, and show their abilities.
On our way back, we stopped at a lounge called Orca where I tried kiwi-flavoured Hookah for the first time! I didn’t get how to do it at first, but later I could make them, big smokey puffs =) We all sat, talked about the day and had a good time. We went home and in the evening we went to have dinner and we went bowling. We were invited to this terrace party and the set up was beautiful. Cozy, illuminated, amazing; and can you believe they were playing Radiohead? ‘High and dry’. I was in love with the place. We just leaned over the railing, felt the breeze blowing on our faces and looked down at the city lights. The traffic, the people, everything seemed to be in such a hurry from up there. On our way back, there were fourteen of us who squeezed into a single auto! It was unimaginable. Four of them were hanging on their arses at the back, and one of them was actually lying over us. It was hilarious and we laughed all the way.
Back home, we changed, relaxed and just talked. I did not know that the fun wasn’t over yet. We went to the terrace where they played heavy trance music and we played games and danced. (It would not be proper if I divulge into all the details though) Erm, yeah, so all in all, it was ridiculously bizarre and I don’t think I’m ever going to forget it.
The next day we got up at 8, but missed the AC bus and had to buy non AC bus tickets. We were hungry, but nothing was open so early in the morning and we were sitting like beggars in front of KFC. That was also a fun experience though. Tariq almost fell in a manhole! When the beggar kids came to us to ask for money, Tariq said “agar hamara paas paise hote toh hum aise baithe hote kya?!” The kids seemed quite convinced and none of them came to us again! :P
The bus trip was epic. It was extremely hot and we were surviving on Lays and Nimbooz. We chattered about the previous day, but as it started getting hotter, Sid and Tariq’s energy levels started to come down. Mid-way we stopped at a rest room kind of place and we had ice cream. Sid bought a bottle of Coke and hardly had a few sips when it turned hot. He was so frustrated at that, that he threw the bottle out the window. Udit and I started laughing when Tariq (this guy cracks me up) said “yaar tum log itni garmi mein hans kaise sakte ho?” with the most dejected, ‘I-m-going-to-drop-dead-anytime’ kind of expression on his face. I burst out laughing and laughed till my stomach felt like it will explode with the pain. I had tears in my eyes as I laughed like a maniac while all the other people in the bus looked at me like they were ready to throw me out the window. Thankfully, I slept for a while and we reached Agra. By the way, no matter how much you hate your city, it always feels good when you’re greeted by those familiar roads and places again.
We were welcomed by fresh cold coffee made by Udit’s mom at his place. After two hours of drinking boiling hot water, it was heaven. Back home, I told my mom about the trip. “Good that you had a good time”, she smiled. I DID have a good time. Leaving out a few things, I’m sure I’m going to look back upon that trip years later, and smile thinking of how crazy and young and stupid we used to be :)
P.S. A special thanks to Dexter, for his awesome camera and the awesome clicks! :)