To survive or to live. It is a choice really. Most of us survive; knowingly or unknowingly. Living is a different ball game altogether. It requires fight. Funny isn't it? I always thought survival involves a fight. Sri Charan could have continued working for Sony and had a regular life; a mechanical life. But 'purpose' had to interfere. He decided to take a break from work and concentrate on bringing together his passion and his duty towards the society. He birthed Clean Slate Foundation which makes films based on the stories of the under privileged children. With the help of Sony and Myrtle (another NGO dedicated to the grooming of the under privileged children), he organised tree plantation in the village of Attrambakkam, 20 kms inside a place called Thiruvallur in Chennai. Irula, a tamil and telugu speaking community was fortunate enough to be the recipient of the awareness and importance of trees and a clean environment.
The nursery on the Thiruvallur to Atrambakkam road from where a lemon plant was bought.
Sri Charan and Myrtle's Project Co-ordinator Mr.Williams address to the curious Irula children of Attrambakkam
Corporate companies such as TCS (the group of 4 men, standing at the back) have made it mandatory for their employees to be involved in some form of social activity. They too were present for the planting of trees.
When Sri Charan spoke to them about wanting some actors from the group, he was told that he himself looked like one.
Most of them seemed lost.
Mr.Williams expressed that a handful of them were not willing to go to school. They were questioned about their favourite subjects and why some of them missed school.
The kids explore the car as we get ready to go to a nearby hotel to order some food for them
All the kids were asked to look their best for the final group photo. They were taught to sit in a disciplined manner to have lunch.
What are kids without curiosity!
The egg biriyani bundles had arrived. None of them had washed their hands before sitting down to eat. They were made to form lines and wash hands with a soap before picking up their parcel from the bag. Quite a bunch of patient kids they were.
Some of them who couldn't finish their share were asked to share them with their family members.
Theirs is a community living. The adults take turns in raising each other's children for a stipulated period of time. The way all the domestic animals co-exist is a sight to watch a thing to learn.
Mr.Gabriel, the Project Director of Myrtle, entertained the kids with stories, morals and tamizh rhymes
The kids use a plastic bottle as a ball to play catch and throw.
The spot for the tree planting is getting ready. The women got the manure ready even without asking for it.
This kid was the most hyper one amongst the group. A very delightful one!
The much awaited group photo with all of them cracking up at the count of 3.
The children reacting to their own group photo in the camera.
Sri Charan and the kids inaugurated the tree planting initiation by planting the lemon tree.
The ecstatic kids waved us goodbye with loud cheers.
Attrambakkam is still untouched with infrastructural interference. Its frightening to predict that this sight would be replaced by concrete structures in no time.
This Krishna temple was a pleasant surprise we stumbled upon on our way back from the village. We witnessed a rich sunset as we drove away with the memories of the village.