Memorable Day at Narmadalaya
The Day, Monday, 03 July 2017, was memorable. Mainly because Dr. Anil Kakodkar inaugurated Narmadalay’s digital school. Over 26 scientists of the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre and the Madhya Pradesh Science and Technology Council made it a point to be at the venue on schedule at 0815 for a quick breakfast prepared at “Naivedyam/Annapurna” kitchen.
The inaugural function was organized at a pandal erected the previous evening. The inauguration was in the form of switching on of a package containing lessons in Hindi prepared for students from standard one to standard eight for the students. Besides the scientists and other invites, there were primary students who watched the lesson on a computer screen. As Dr. Kakodkar clicked the mouse of the laptop to switch on the tablet, the computer screen showed a lesson on “Environment.” The contents of the lesson were written using text, audio, video, animation, and simulation. Dr. Kakodkar watched the lesson with keen interest and asked the students if they enjoyed the session. There was a cheerful chorus and a nod of “yes” from the students squatting on the carpet .
Dr. Kakodkar in his speech lauded trustee secretary Bharati Thakur to have set up the digital school which would help both, the students and teachers. He appreciated that the school opted for the Hindi syllabus prepared by the Madhya Pradesh School Board. The syllabus and the books prepared for the syllabus were meant mostly for the children of the commoners in the state. The modern digital technology and the traditional learning through books would be able to broaden the vision of the students and the teachers. This would help them to be inquisitive and should enthuse them to innovate.
Dr. Kakodkar was happy to note that the Nimar Abhyudaya Rural Management And Development Association (NARMADA) has partnered with BARC that would extend its Technology Package for rural development.
Among the dignitaries present were Shrimati Smita Bharadwaj, the Director, MP Finance Corporation and the Madhya Pradesh Education Board’s Deputy Chairman, Mr. Bhagirathji Kumarawat.
It was very apparent that Dr. Kakodkar was impressed with the activities of the NARMADA as he mentioned about it in glowing terms in a subsequent programmes he graced yesterday.
The day was memorable for us because of what he said at these two functions, and also because of happened during the 16 hours before Dr. Kakodkar and other invitees arrived at our venue. It began with the heavy showers the previous evening. The rains continued for over three hours after the mandap-makers had nicely laid out the shamiana with a roof. This was the first monsoon rain and everyone in the Nimad region was happy, but we at the Narmadalaya were in tears. Our preparations for the major event were washed. Bharati didi had left for the hotel where Dr. Kakodkar and the BARC team were camping. There was to be presentation of a skit enacted by a young team of BARC as part of its effort to create awareness about the use of energy for peaceful purpose.
This was to be followed by a dinner with Dr. Kakodkar, and the host, Dr. Shrikrishna Gupta , Head of the Technology Transfer Department of the BARC.
It would have been impolite to leave. But I was worried about the rain-soaked venue for the function which was barely ten hours through the night. Bharati did was n’t.
When we returned, it was closely to midnight. Our teachers and staffers busy planning and executing the disaster management. Draining out water from ground and roof of the shamiana as the drizzle had nearly stopped. By six am, the clogged water was pushed out from the roof and the ground. Everyone put his best to dry out the carpet. The dawn had brought sunshine and cheer for us. In the meanwhile, two of our team made the preparations for the inaugural trial of the software of the digital school. We did not have time to try it out properly during the day yesterday and this morning.
The students and teachers arrived by six am. The team of the caterers had begun preparations. Our Narmada Lahari team took positions with musicians and did rehearsals. The teachers drew the rangolis and lamps were readied for the inaugurals. By 8.15 when Dr. Kakodkar’s entourage had left the hotel on way to our venue about 20 km from the venue, everything was in place.
We in the NARMADA and the invitees were properly seated at the venue when he had entered. None could make out what ordeal our team had undergone!