Peter Van Geit
Social Tuesday, February 22, 2011
I would like to thank all the volunteers who had made it the social outing. Experience as shared by Sumita with a few pictures added by myself.
Everyone wishes for their 1st CTC experience to be unique, particularly when you've been on the mailing lists for a while and go green (no thanks to the pics of lovely foliage around the pools and falls) reading about all the experiences of the participants. As a first-timer and technically although not a 'trek', the CTC-organized social outing to Mahaabs on Feb 20th to with kids from Home of Hope, Pakkam, was a truly special and memorable day, and I wouldn't wish to exchange it for any other.
Had to break away from the group towards the latter part of the evening due to earlier commitments, and it seems like I missed a lot of fun and 'games' literally, something to look forward to next time. Had left behind some snacks--mentioned it to Sanjeev and Suman--everyone must have been hungry post jumping into the sea and building castles and burying people in the sand!!--hopefully they were consumed satisfactorily by all?!
(Enna Koduma Saar)
At the risk of sounding like an acceptance speech (given the Oscar fever around the corner), I would like to thank Maruthi Raj for pencilling me in at the last minute on the eve of the event and welcoming me into the CTC fold on the morning of the trek with tips and info(Note pannungapa, Note pannungappa, Pinrangapa, Pinrangapa). Special thanks to Rakesh for organizing and coordinating the day so well, making it memorable with his enthusiasm, infectious laughter and clowning around, and even sharing my plate of food a few times--that was a unique experience alright (for me, i.e., I hear it is common practice in treks!)! (Thanmbiku romba pasi) Thanks to Harish and Shibu and the kids for the company in the car along the journey, missed that on my lone return especially when stopped by a cop for speeding at 90 on a 40km speed limit zone!! (How can anyone drive at 40km on ECR Road anyway?? It is grave injustice to those fabulous roads!) The sharing and caring by all - volunteers and kids - is what has stayed with me since the day. The manner in which everyone participated and cooperated wholeheartedly - was a joy to witness. Lakshmi was a real sport despite all the teasing from the boys and those exchanges provided much entertainment. Suneel's tresses were also a major attraction, not to mention his photography skills - eagerly awaiting those masterpiece shots! Mirinda, Eleneer, and the breakfast and lunch menu were the highlights of the day (not necessarily in that order or combo!) and tasted better than any star hotel's exotic dishes. It was very touching to see Thangam and the other guys serving food to all and sundry and barely partaking themselves. Laveena, Palak, Sid and Gia were fun to interact with and hope to see them on future outings as well, Suman and Sunitha pls bring them along, there are enough 'babysitters' around :) Tiger caves is a beautiful picnic spot, serene yet exciting enough to explore. Five Rathas was crowded with tourists but it was fun to observe 'our' kids climbing around and posing for pics. Crocodile Park's highlight was obviously the feeding of the largest croc there - Jaws III - truly a sight to behold. The croc was lying there like a statue for a long while until Sanjay remarked that its not as large as its rumored to be. As if it had heard, Jaws III immediately came out of the moss-filled pool, right upto where we were standing and opened its jaws wide. Point noted, sir! Its feeding by a caretaker has been captured by Harish on video for those who missed the scene. (lol) At 5 Rathas, one of the kids, Manju, was enamored with a foreigner carrying a baby on his shoulder and couldn't take her eyes off the cute 'paapa'. Loved how the kids took to volunteers so easily, came looking for us, held our hands, hugged us and felt sad at parting as if we have all known each other for long--it actually did feel that way. They are so trusting, giving, carefree, yet responsible when it comes to looking out for each other. Little Preethi's mischief always brings a smile to my face every time I think of the day. When I pretended to cry that I didn't have a cap, Preethi, Kamali and Manju readily offered theirs off their heads and Manju almost removed her necklace and gave it to me when I admired it. It was a pleasure to see how much Santhosh enjoyed his bike ride on Thangam's bike. Li'l Chantosh with his naughty grin, Tomboy Meena with her hep hairstyle, R. Anandhi (who looks like a boy but is such a shy girl) who seemed to stick to Lakshmi as if she were a stuffed toy...already missing all these kids! There is so much to learn from all the kids and participants that I am hungry for more, can't wait for the next opportunity!! Thank you CTC and Home of Hope for a beautiful, fun-filled day filled with happy memories :0)
Thank you Sumi for the wonderful writeup. Pics courtesy Aravind & Thanga.
Special regards to Sudharsan for sponsoring food, to Geetha for sponsoring biscuits and foorti, and to Sanjay, Shibu, Sumi and Pooja(non-participant) for sponsoring for the transport.
Rakesh for co-organizing and coordinating on the day, when both Thilak and myself could not make it.
Peter, the founder and Thilak, the pioneer for social activities in CTC.
Last but not the least, all the volunteers who made our efforts worthwhile by taking good care of the kids.
Peter Van Geit
Social Tuesday, February 22, 2011