Sunday, December 5, 2010
Years ago, my mother who worked for the government of Maharashtra in Goa, started a unique project. She took books donated by the government of Maharashtra, to different villages in Goa, where they would be distributed among children. Three or four hours later, when they had finished reading, they would be taken back.
Elaborating on that, my father started Pustakancha Paus – Shower of Books. He appealed to people to donate story books. These were filled up in bags – 100 books per bag – and distributed to different Goan villages for the children to read. They were told to exchange the bag with a neighbouring village when their children were done reading the books.
Some time back, a colleague wrote about an orphanage run by a teacher in Srinagar. I longed to do something for the children. Some days later he told me people had given him money for the orphanage – he had managed to collect Rs 50,000.
It seemed they had enough money. But children need more than money. That’s when the memory of Pustakancha Paus was probably stirred. Me and my parents bought Rs 1,500 worth of books and sent them to Raahat Manzil, the orphanage.
But I wanted to send more books. So I put in more of my money and appealed to my neighbours to participate. I asked each of them to give me only Rs 100. Many of them gave me more. One of them even gave me her daughters’ old books which were in good condition. Thanks to my neighbours, I managed to collect over Rs 3,000.
Then I bought the books. Amar Chitra Katha, Ruskin Bond, Enid Blyton, Roald Dahl, Mahabharata, Ramayana, I bought so many!
I soon did the other happy job of sending them to Raahat Manzil. How I wish I could have been there to see the kids with the new books!
Pustakancha Paus continues to drench children in words.