Monday, 23 July 2012

Saying Goodbye

I’m back in Delhi, back in the comfort of my room, back with my family, back to everything normal.
But I am restless.

I open the folder on my Pictures Library which reads “Deepa Academy”. Within a minute I find myself smiling. I always used to wonder how someone could feel happy and sad at the same time. Now I know.

Friday evening was supposed to be our last class with the children. Before 4 o clock, Shruti and I were busy in getting the manual printed and bound. After days spent on the editing, formatting, additions and omissions, we had finally managed to finish it on time.
After the manual was in our hands, we picked up a few empty boxes, some paint and a few brushes. We had something different planned for our last class. 

Surprisingly at 4 o clock we found them in the park instead of the class. After my experience with them, I know a visit to the park is like a treat for them. I didn’t know if it was a good idea to ask them to come for class leaving the park, but nevertheless I went ahead.
They stood up immediately when they heard us call their names. Instead of the disappointment of leaving the park that I had expected, I saw them feel glad that we had come to meet! And within loads of chattering and smiling, we were back in the class.

We spoke about the trip, each one trying to form sentences to express their favourite part. Shruti and I were a little out of words that day. The feeling of us leaving Bangalore in a day was sinking in, and the part about us not meeting the girls for a very long time was, um, not really good.

We wanted them to make us a promise, like they had made us promise when asking for our mobile phone numbers. They all laughed when they repeated after us “We promise to do what you want us to”.
Within a few seconds, I had the boxes out, paint in them, ready for the girls to put their hands in. We wanted them to give us their hand prints, something that we wanted to keep with us for a lifetime. And the excitement on their faces when they selected their colours was the best part of the day!  

After each one of them had given us two pairs of prints, we gave them what we had made for them. We couldn’t leave without giving them something to remember us by, could we?

Shruti and I had used the water bottles accumulated over the month and cut them to make 8 bangles. Bangles, because they are something that each one of them is very fond of.
Using newspaper and tissue paper we had covered the plastic and had then written their names on it.


All of them were happy. And then?
They wanted us to come back the next day. The next day, some people from All India Radio were supposed to come to Deepa Academy due to which we could not meet the girls. But they wouldn’t hear of it!
When we told them we would try, they surprised us by saying, “No Akka, DEFINITELYY!’

The next morning at 9 30 we were back at Deepa Academy.
The girls gave us little gifts, and we were not given an option to deny them. They also wrote their names on their handprinted sheets using Braille.

After a moment of silence, everyone was crying.
I can’t express what I was feeling and Shruti’s tears told me that she was feeling just the same.
These little girls were more than just our students. They were a part of our lives, people that gave us fond memories of the past month, who brought infinite smiles on our faces, who didn’t want us to go back, who we didn’t want to go away from.

We talked randomly, about 10th standard marks and how they should all aim for a great score in their final exams. Talking to them was like talking to my younger sister, giving them advice and sharing my own experiences.

When we finally saw the time it was 2 hours late. Saying Goodbye was probably the most difficult thing I faced this month.

3 hours later, when we were ready to leave the hostel we were staying at, Shruti and I decided to go and have one last look at Deepa Academy.
Standing under the Gulmohar tree, the whole month raced past my eyes. The laughter, the sadness, the contentment, the excitements, everything!


When no one from the academy was in sight, Shruti and I tied a helium balloon on the academy’s gate. The balloon had a post-it on it which said,

 “Thank you for the amazing time! We will miss you all!
Hope to see you soon!

Love you all,
Shruti and Jayasi”


  1. Shruti & Jayasi:

    Congratulations on completing a difficult but very worthwhile internship, both for you and for Deepa Academy. We are glad you enjoyed your time at Deepa, were able to contribute, learn and share. No doubt, this was a very memorable experience for both you and the girls at Deepa! I want to thank on on behalf of AID for doing such a terrific job!

    Best regards,
    AID Internships

    1. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to be a part of Deepa Academy.
      It has been a great month, one which holds some amazing memories that both of us are going to cherish for a lifetime!