Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Government High School, Ameerpet - Response to GHS

There is a Government High School close to the Ameerpet Playground. For many years since my school days, say 1982 onwards, I have been going to the Ameerpet playground for practice, fitness and sometimes to coach young kids in summers. I never noticed this school until this year though. It sits in the corner, a prime place on the Dharam Karam Road.
Government High School, Ameerpet, view from Dharam Karam Road, near Foodworld
Ever since I decided to do motivational sessions for free in schools I had set my sights on this school. In fact I noted it down as one of the things to do in one of my recent lists. I never got down to doing that what with one thing or another and many times I felt guilty as I passed it. So, the other day, on the 25th January, 2011, when I was passing this GHS I suddenly thought that it would be even better for the kids to watch the movie than attend a lecture by me which would probably say the same things and not half as convincingly. I stopped the car and walked in, met the acting Principal for the day Ms. Geeta, and told her that if the kids wanted to watch the movie 'Golconda High School', I would, at my personal cost, send them to watch it at Satyam. She instantly agreed. 100 children went that same evening from the 9th and 10th class, to Satyam theatre which is walking distance, that very evening and watched GHS along with some 15 teachers. I spoke to Ms. Geeta, a couple o f days later. She said that everyone was inspired by it, especially the students. What's more, the Principal got motivated to get them a set of bats and balls to play in the afternoons. All this in 3 days!
Another view of GHS

I was thrilled to hear this and asked her is it was possible to get some reactions from these kids - maybe a line or two and she said she would ask them to write. And when I went to pick them I found that they had not written a line or two, they all wrote about a page to two! In wonderful Telugu, clear in thought, mature and wonderful responses to what the movie meant to them. I will translate a few responses but they were almost all on the same lines. What they liked in the movie, what they did not, how impacted them, a congratulatory message, a plea to forgive any mistakes. In lovely Telugu, well written, margins drawn, bullet points made, sub headings given. Ahh, childhood!
Geeta madam and some of her wards

 I met a few of them when I went to pick up the responses and they were so happy and effusive that it was wonderful to see the twinkle in their eyes. And it does not escape one's notice that they are also from families that are financially backward. Their clothes, shoes (some do not have any footwear) screamed of their lack. Their coarse skins as they shook my hand hiding and protecting their innocence. Many sitting on the floor. But the smiles, their happiness were as genuine and heartwarming as any. If anyone needs an affirmation that they are not less than anyone, that they can dream big and do what anyone else can, these kids do. And from their responses I think they pretty much got it. I have also signed in to do a lecture with them sometime this week.
Going by their response, I do hope that more children from the Government High Schools are shown this movie. As we know a lot of privileged schools have  taken their children to watch this movie. Hopefully more kids from the Government High Schools get to watch it too.
GHS boys and me
I found the Principal and the staff very committed to the cause of their students. They took the decision to send the children in minutes unlike most other schools which took days and weeks - knowing that the kids would benefit from the experience. They asked me if I could speak to the children and motivate them. They asked me to motivate their new PD as well. They asked me if I could get more eminent speakers to their school as well. They asked me if I would also donate something to the school in their drive to raise money (they want to raise Rs. 3 lakh) and improve the school. I said, I would do everything that I could, in whichever way I can. We fixed up this week for a lecture to begin with. I am looking forward to that especially after reading some of the responses, excerpts of which are shown below, translated from Telugu to English (best I could).

Responses from the children of the Government High School, Ameerpet on watching Golconda High School (translated from Telugu):

1)      1) Ever since I saw Golconda High School I realized that even I must have a goal. And that I should and will achieve my goal at any cost. –A. Bharathi, 10th class
2)   2) After watching Golconda High School I realized that we could also excel in our studies and make our parents proud of us. - M. Ramya, 10th class
      3) After watching Golconda High School I have decided that I will not only pass in all subjects but I will come first. I will also come first in games. – V. Vijayadurga, 10th class
      4) Please make more movies like GHS which are useful for students. – R. Archana, 10th class
Responses from the students, 32 of them, from which these excerpts are taken
      5) The people who made this movie (Golconda High School) are good people. Because whenever any friend asks me to come to play, my father says - ‘Stop playing all the time, study’. If my father sees this movie he might allow me to play once in a while. After this movie, our teachers also gave us a bat and a ball and gave us permission to play for one hour every afternoon. – Chandrasekhar, 9th class
     6) I never expected that anyone would make a movie like this in these times. Thank you for making this movie. I liked the message that it’s not just academics, sports are equally important. I also felt, after watching this movie, that nothing is impossible for anyone. – P. Bhagyalaxmi, 10th class
          7)  After watching GHS I have written down all the mistakes I made in a match and made sure that I did not repeat them again in the next match. I also have the confidence now that however strong the opposition, I can beat them. – Mohd. Riazuddin, 10th class
      8) These days no one is making movies for children. I am happy you made a movie like Golconda High School for the first time. - K. Vishali, 10th class
      9) By the end of the movie, the parents of the children understand their children’s dreams and hopes and encourage them to follow the path. if we want more parents to encourage their children on the path of their dreams and hopes, you must make more such movies. – P. Renuka, 10th class
      10)   As long as our teachers support us in our studies and in our games and sports, we children can achieve anything. – Murali, 9th class


Anonymous said...

Thats wonderful. Lets all raise some money towards their goal of 3 lakhs. How about all the readers of this blog contribute something. I'll start. Rs25,000.

We all liked this movie now we get a chance to see the message of the movie implemented in a school. Hari I hope all the money raised will go towards sports and sports only.

(Hari knows who I'm)

Harimohan said...

Wow! That's wonderful anonymous. (And thank god that I know who you are else I'd go nuts trying to find you!) I am really happy to hear that. Though it was not my intention to start a fund collection drive, I am happy that there is so much spirit of participation which is so essential in community living. Good on you anon. I can give details of they wish to spend it but I can certainly ask them to spend a specified amount for sports (yessir). Sanitation is another huge issue, just as basic stuff like chairs and teaching aids. I will give out more details after I meet them later this week and also the name of the person to whom you can direct the proceeds. Watch this space. And once again thanks Anon. Glad my ramblings are coming to some use in this corner of the world.