When I planned to go DSVV for volunteering I had no idea what I would be doing or what my routine would be. I knew I would be doing the 9-day shivir (camp) at Shantikunj. But after that was over it was going to be an adventure. So I was just doing what I was asked to do. The only thing I was sure of was that I wanted to stay at the university campus rather than at Shantikunj, because being in academia all my life that is the only place that I could think of being at.
During one of the earlier days I was taken to visit the Gayatri Vidyapeeth, the elementary through twelfth grade school sponsored by Shantikunj. I visited the chemistry labs there, which were great. The entire school was recently built so everything was new. The only thing that intrigued me about the chemistry labs were the fans….how do you operate a Bunsen burner under a fan? Alternatively how do you do experiments in sweltering heat without the fans? I suppose you build your lab schedule according to summers and winters (haha).
I also had the pleasure of visiting the 12th grade chemistry class at the school. I did not feel like teaching so I just talked with the students for 45 mins (yes I do have the gift of gab in class!). This turned out to be very useful 45 mins for me for the next six weeks.
One of the students from that class took the initiative to talk to me about getting tutored for chemistry while I was there. I can never say no to anyone, especially if a person makes an effort to ask me for something….. so I tutored her for the next six weeks. She was a such pleasure to teach – so smart, curious and a sweet personality! She would come over to see me every evening around 7 pm for two hours to learn organic chemistry. And after completing her studies (and sometimes even during) we would talk about everything under the sun; she was great company! It was a good experience for me to teach a student in India after teaching in USA for so long.
She was my boon in disguise because I don’t know what I would have done with my evenings if she had not been there (my Krishna really takes care of me in his own ways:-)). We spent so much time with each other and I really miss her now. Thank God for emails and facebook!