Thursday, 12 July 2012

A Visit to the Mall

A mall, something that is so common for us, holds immense wonder, curiosity, excitement and joy for the girls at Deepa Academy! Tuesday was “Mall Day” for them as suggested by Mr Shantaram. At 11 o’ clock they all lined up outside the academy, the college-going girls holding the hands of the girls from tenth standard. As they said good bye to Mr Shantaram, he asked them if they knew where they were going. They said in unison, “Orion mall”. When he asked them what it was, they remained silent.

As we walked till the mall, which is about a kilometre and a half from the academy, we could hear the girls giggle nervously as they ignored our calls for talking in English and not in Kannada. I confess, making sure that the girls reach the mall safely got me to be at my alert best! Crossing the road was the biggest task ever; I had to stop the 2-way traffic for 10 seconds so that the girls could cross safely! That day I felt responsible in a different way! 

The security check at the entrance of the mall got the girls to be a little scared; I could see that they did not want to pass through a door which beeped as they walked through it.  Once in though, they couldn’t wait to roam around and explore a ‘huge hall with air conditioning and foreign music’. 
One of the girls with partial vision spotted the escalator and literally started jumping with excitement.  
Others were scared and in doubt, we ourselves suggested that they take the lift, but the girls wouldn't hear of it! They all wanted a go at the moving staircase! 
Their amazement and wonder was worth going up and down 6 times to get them up one by one. Senior girls also assisted in bringing a few of them. 

We walked past big brands all labelled as ‘shops for clothes’. I found myself without an answer when one of the girls asked me why there were so many shops for the same type of clothes. The concept of ‘Brand’ was alien to the little girls who were roaming in the mall in their uniforms. Their simplicity got me to smile. 

Our next stop was the food court for which we took the lift. This wasn’t as exciting as the escalators for them, but fun nevertheless! 
At the food court, after shedding a few layers of shyness, the girls finally told us what they wanted to eat. They went in for things like Chaat, Idli, Dosa, Gobi Manchurian( A favourite this side!), Chilli Chicken and Paani Puri. As they ate, they called Shruti and me to give us small bites from their plates. 
When we suggested that we should leave, they expressed that they wanted to roam around for a while, and that we did. The reactions of people in the mall left me with mixed emotions! While some looked at our group with pity, some laughed! There were some who tried to ignore us after giving a first look, but there were also some who came and congratulated Shruti and me for doing a great job!

The mall also has an adjoining open area which has an artificial lake, our next destination. The wind was perfect and the cloudy sky added on to the beautiful atmosphere which the girls had managed to create. We sat on the benches for a while and just talked about casual things. They told us that they enjoyed coming to the mall and talked about their favourite things. Something about the way they described their favourites gave me a very satisfied feeling. They were improving; they were opening up and were able to talk in full sentences now. Also, our worst fear that the girls would feel out of place at the mall, had finally gone! 

They left with bright smiles as they climbed up the stairs of the academy. We turned back with brighter ones! 


  1. This post leaves one beaming from ear to ear. It's almost like I am there with you and undergoing the the different layers of emotions you went through the entire day.
    The transition from the anxious, nervous and worried you to being the satisfied person with the brightest smile is just so prominent !
    I am sure this one day is going to be remembered not just by Shruti and you, but also by the girls for their entire lives !

    1. Thank you :D
      The day was definitely one of the most memorable ones that we've had with the girls!