A Quest on Overdrive … :)

An eccentric rambler on life's lessons and mercies, found and lost… :)

Applauding a Service-Oriented Effort


No child’s education should be deemed complete, unless the child has worked with his or her hands, and with the Earth, mud, soil, sand, whatever one might call it… this is has been my firm belief! Sadly nowadays, most children do not even get to see Mother Earth, let alone a chance to play in it, or work with it! The travails of development and urbanization!

However, for students who are part of the NSS or the National Service Scheme, things are brighter, especially in the rural environs, where there is still a glimpse of brown earth, an abundance of greenery and the mindset conducive to dignity of labour. I actually witnessed all of this at work!


Read about the same venture, here, at Hari Nedungadi’s blog, Kuchelavritham

നാട്ടിൻപുറം നന്മകളാൽ സമൃദ്ധം…..

About 50 odd  plus one students of the  local Government Vocational Higher Secondary School, studying for  Commerce and Medical Lab. Technician courses in Cherplassery had week long NSS Camp, at their school, ably guided and led by their NSS District Convenor, Shri Krishnanunni T., who was also their Programme Officer, and other teachers.


It was a joy to share in a day’s effort, on 28th December, 2010, the last of four days, they spent in the interiors of a bucolic, നാടൻ (naadan, typically of the countryside 🙂 ), widening a narrow pathway, ഇടവഴി (itavazhi, as we say in Malayalam) wide enough for a small vehicle to pass. The idea of linking the main temple, on the roadside, the famous Ayyappan Kaavu, with the Devi Temple atop the hillside, “Arakav” had long been in the offing, but the feasibility of it all not quite there, till a request came from the School authorities who were, simultaneously, looking for a place where their students could interact and work with the community, while serving them as well.

The road to the temple, Arakav, after which my dad’s house has been named, has been fraught with a lot of trouble and legalities. Finally, in consultation with all those in the neighbourhood, the area to widen the narrow pathway was decided, and the children arrived at the most opportune moment to hack out the boundary! Lo and behold! In four days’ time, most of the road was done. Of course, there is still a finer finishing, and the completion to be done, but the start could not have been better!


Last year, the school’s students undertook actual paddy agriculture in a field kindly provided by a local family. The experience, say the students, was indeed enriching!

This blog post is not about the hows and the wherefores, it is about them, the children, and their guides, the staff. Each of the four days, they had been provided with wholesome food, by way of the locals in the neighbourhood, and on the final day, they were given a sumptuous lunch, cooked by the members of the temple, and others who pitched in with whatever they could. Take a look!




The road, after their work, looks pretty much like this 🙂


There was also an impromptu thanking session, where the Panchayat President, Shri Suresh, made an appearance, along with the HM of the School, Smt. V. Girija. Some members of the neighbourhood also spoke, one of whom recalled the words of their NSS song, given below in Malayalam.


മാൻപ്പൂക്കൾ വിടരട്ടെ

സൌഹ്രുദസിദ്ധികൾ പൂത്താൽ
സൌവർണ്ണാഭ പരന്നാൽ
സുരഭില ജീവിത മാതുരി വിശ്വം സമസ്തമരുളുകയല്ലോ

സത്യം ലക്ഷ്യമതാവട്ടെ
ധർമം പാതയതാവട്ടെ
ഹൈന്ദവ ക്രൈസ്തവ ഇസ്ലാമിക്രുടെ




The lyrics, quite simply put, speaks of the need to have a clear and pure mind, no matter what religion or community one may belong to. It exhorts us to have our duty or dharma as the path towards truth! It also urges each of us to join hands and move forward in harmony. The song, sung, full-throatedly, by the young children gave us goosebumps!

Another wonderful thing I noticed, as I walked around and spoke to them was their uninhibited expression, both, to each other, and to the staff and elders gathered there. Most the students were from families who could just perhaps afford to send their kids to a Government School, but then I was proud of them, the way they carried themselves, and their comport, during the impromptu speech session we had. They listened closely, no fidgeting, no giggling, no talking. Sheer amazement, it was to me, this sight! Ever so often, in our own elite and up market schools, the teachers have to work so hard, and insist on the kids keeping quiet during functions, and here… where they did not even need to control themselves, was a group of young men and women totally involved in the moment! Kudos, my dear children! It was inspiring!


Here are the videos of their effort! Enthusiasm personified!


The second one, the song they sang during a short break!


The last one, walking up for lunch, having successfully completed the task!




On a totally unrelated tangent, I find it v difficult to insert pictures into the blog post 😦 Have been trying endlessly, but to no avail. The insert picture tab simply does not open! I have to open it into a new tab and do the needful and then only one appears 😦 😦 One picture ie! Help! 😦 😦 Sigh!

That is why this post has been delayed, else it would have been done yesterday. Thankfully the videos are working :D!

29 December, 2010


Edited to add, on 30 December, 2010: Finally managed to get a few pictures in! The problem was with the memory cache.. which was cleared and then the required menus opened 🙂 Still adding pictures 🙂 2.40 pm 🙂

Author: Usha Pisharody

A rambler, pretends to be a teacher, loves to dream, and go on Quixotic Quests in the Realm of Romance With Life...

11 thoughts on “Applauding a Service-Oriented Effort

  1. This is really cool. Getting into touch with Nature. I remember playing in the mud, and with mud as a kid. I would try and bake bombs, which were actually nothing but mud cakes with some rubbish in it 😀 I secretly hoped that they would explode like an actual bomb . 😀


    • Kislay, lol! I have been told that I loved mud so much, as a young child, that I used to even eat it 🙂 I guess those day, it was much safer than it would be now!!! 😀 Thank you for sharing in the efforts of the children! Best wishes of the season to you!


  2. A laudable endeavour indeed- This place is quite near to my home town. 🙂


    • Ardra, thank you for the note, both here and on the one about A daughter 🙂 Oh, so cherplassery is near your place? Very nice indeed! This is the time when I see a lot of volunteers of the NSS doing their bit for the community, but I was most touched to see the efforts by the young children here!


  3. Have also left a comment on your post: For a daughter I wish I’d had…


  4. Indeed it’z a gr8 work! There would be people who will cry this is child labour and lot of other sarcastic stuff. In fact yes! it is a laborious task for these children which they completed in a matter of 4 days. Instead of demoralizing these kids, any applaud and accolade will definitely inspire them, and will boost their motivation. Truly these are the instances where they find inspiration and aspire the onlookers.
    We need a generation that comes forward to help the needy and serve the society.


  5. Wonderful work. I fully agree with you in education being incomplete without mud, grass and sand. Truly inspiring it is to read about such laudable efforts… makes you think.


  6. its quite inspiring to read this and makes one realise the objectives of education.


  7. Surely its inspiring. To see the kids, the nature and, You! The enthusiasm to do something good for them takes a heart. All we crib is, this-that issues, corruptions and all over a bottle of scotch or fine dinner. No one does the ground work. Do we?

    Very few like you show us that its about time. I have started helping an NGO for children from last month. Thanks to this post, it will help me moving.

    Join the bad, all. 🙂


  8. This is unbelievable, Usha, to know that still people and students are there, who care for real things, i.e. nature. I am from Udupi and my father’s place is a small village near Udupi. I remember how I enjoyed playing in the field and I had the opportunity to take my kids over there to walk in the fields when they were small. I remember making charcoal and cowdung mixed balls for the coal stove and didn’t feel that it was dirty to touch cowdung at that time. I wonder if I would allow my kids to do that now, though!

    The photos were superb and I would have liked my kids to get involved in this type of field work. But we don’t have a place to live in our village now. We just go to the temple and come back.

    This is great and I admire you more, Usha, for your work and enthu.


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