It was an exhilarating encounter with the youngsters of St. Joseph’s High School Panvel. Over a hundred of them had assembled along with their cycles for what they thought was a rally along with the Silver Cyclist. I didn’t know that this was the expectations so I had not taken my cycle along or was in my riding gear. Nevertheless, we had a wonderful interaction before I flagged them off for a ride around the school. There was a very high buzz as the kids assembled for the ride and then cycled off with shouts of joy.
Another remarkable experience was at the Rasmi Residential School in Davengere. This was a school for the poorest of the poor girl children run by a couple devoted to the cause of providing quality education to this disadvantaged section of society. What struck me was the beautiful infrastructure for the children. There was a touch of class about the place. Also remarkable was the discipline shown by the children. They clapped in unison, sang in a chorus of over a hundred in perfect harmony and rhythm and conducted themselves in the most disciplined manner.
The school trains them to perform all the duties of maintaining the cleanliness of the premises, maintaining the vegetable garden and also the elder girls looking after the younger ones. The adherence to a set of acceptable rules brought orderliness and discipline that the students seemed comfortable with.
You can read a lot more about this school on this web site: https://sites.google.com/a/rasmi.org/home/
Another school that we visited and were very impressed with was the Edu Asia School for rural children just on the outskirts of Davengere on the road to Haveri at Karur.
Here too we saw evidence of quality education and character development focus. The kids looked a bright bunch with their eyes set on the future.
In a different vein but very heartwarming was our experience at the Khabeerananda Ashram, Chitradurga, which runs a school for orphans. I was particularly taken in by the bright hope-filled eyes of the school children. This was in sharp contrast to the eyes devoid of hope in the elders who were residents of the ashram. I must add though that the elders appeared well taken care off. They were all shelterless prior to finding a home at the ashram. Young children and elders residing in close proximity we thought was very good.
Amoving and unforgettable experience was our visit to the Government School for the blind in Hubli.
We can never forget the confidence and poise of the visually handicapped boys who walked around unaided within the premises of the school and who carried themselves with self confidence. Credit goes to the acting schoolmaster Annapa who has dedicated more than thirty years of his life to caring for the visually handicapped children.
We made a brief visit to a school for orphaned blind children just outside Davengere as I cycled into the town. The school teaches them Carnatic music. It was a moving experience hearing them sing. Even more moving was to see a young boy demonstrate the use of a Braille slate. I could see then what a huge and uphill journey of life he was on. A journey far more daunting and tougher than the cyclothon I was on. I received a memento from a little visually challenged boy. That was the most memorable of all the mementos I received on the cyclothon.