This story appears in the issue of School LIVE.

Our school organises an ‘SBS Sahyog’ trip each year, for a selected group of students, to travel to a village for a few days and work towards the areas of problem there. This time, I was part of this trip in the Music team and here’s my journal entries proving why exactly it was NOTHING like a ‘vacation’.

12th October 2016

7:02 pm – Just reached our small campsite in a beautiful valley. The weather is pleasant and the tents are cosy. BUT the highlight is the washroom, with a non-existent flush covered in cobwebs. I do not plan on using it for the next three days (even if that sounds right about impossible).

9:27 pm – We just interacted with villagers in Dugadda about the health kits we provided them last time. I made friends with this college-going girl, Savita. She invited me over for dinner also. But we had to return to the campsite. It’s really dark and cold now and I’m shivering on wet grass, having dinner. Paneer is yum! We’re going to play cards inside the tent tonight.

13th October 2016

6:13 am – Woke up half an hour back due to the chill. Sleeping bags were comfortable though. Brushed in the open, in freezing water! Watching everyone spit was disgusting. There’s a yoga session to freshen up now.

5:43 pm – Right after breakfast we trekked 4 km uphill, to a village school. Not very tiring for me, but few others died several times during the climb. I painted a whole wall in a classroom, for 2 hours. Then we went to a villager’s house for lunch. I, along with my team, made the dough, rolled rotis and heated them on a Choolha. After lunch our whole group of 18 students paraded in the whole village using my Dafli, lovingly called ‘Dalfy the dafli’. Leading the parade felt good as I yelled my lungs out and everyone repeated after me.
Back at the school, I started my music session with the kids. They looked pretty excited, and enthusiastic to learn.

7:55 pm – Sitting in the stream right below our campsite. People are jumping around on rocks and I’m having pakodas and tea. It’s so pleasant!

14th October 2016

7:40 am – I’m getting used to the cold. Using the washroom was a stressful task but it had to be done. I just had Aloo parathas for breakfast and oh god they were so good!

3:30 pm – Prepared my music kids for the cultural evening today at school. All the girls got dressed in their best outfits for the show. Now we’re at the hall where the event is going to begin soon. All the villagers are going to come and watch and my students were slightly nervous, so I gave them a pep talk. This kid, Vipin, is annoying me and snatching my Dafli.

5:20 pm – Cultural evening was a major success! My kids sang Bum Bum Bole, and Bedhu Paako (kumaoni song). Dance and drama performances were great too. Many villagers came to watch us and enjoyed thoroughly. Now we’re back at the campsite, after an exhausting day. But I have a sense of accomplishment after all the work I did today.

10:53 pm – Had an amazing bonfire tonight. We sang songs, did rap battles and danced around the fire like tribals and tried to imitate Drake. I realise how on this journey, I’ve made so many new friends with juniors and seniors in my school I didn’t even know earlier. And three of my closest friends were with me on this trip, so I was very comfortable.

15th October 2016

10:28 am – Currently sitting at a temple in Devalsari. We trekked to this place through the beautiful woods and felt like we’re in a music video. When the second group was about to reach we all pretended to be dead, lying on the grass! But it was a fail.

4:17 pm – The walk back from Devalsari to the campsite was silent and peaceful. There were moments of insight and deep realisations, but that was temporary till we all got back into our bus. The bus journey was in a nutshell- crazy. We laughed and insulted each other most of the time, and sang till our voices cracked. Now we’ve just reached Dehradun station and are about to board the train to Delhi.

11:13 pm – Just reached Delhi. I sprinted towards mom after getting down from the train and it was a slow motion Bollywood sort of reunion, after an overwhelming and truly, one of a kind trip.

Ayesha Thatte





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