CHENNAI:The whole coach shook with nervous excitement as the train took a sharp bend, curving along the steep track. Gasps and pointed fingers followed as a 10-year-old nudges her friends, pointing to the city skyline littered with familiar billboards and apartments that vanish in seconds. ‘Next stop: Arumbakkam’ a voice boomed overhead, but the children seemed to pay no heed.
As the doors beeped open, two saree-clad women kept the masses of yellow in check to see if there were any daring limbs poking out of the doors, or running about causing a ruckus. But the children were too awestruck by the scenery and the sight of another blue-train arriving on the opposite side.
Less than minutes ago, the 57 kids from MGR School for Deaf and Dumb had entered the Alandur CMRL station in a neat line. But a keen eye would reveal quick conversations and excited hand-gestures that were exchanged when the teachers weren’t looking. This windy Wednesday morning was going to be a field tri.
VGP Ulaga Tamil Sangam organised the educational tour of the metro to-and-fro between Alandur and Koyembedu for the children. The chief guests V G P Rajadas and the principal of the school Latha Rajendran were seated in the compartment full of kids, watching the ensuing interaction.
“They have been excited about this for many days now. Most of their parents are labourers and can’t afford to take them out much. So, this is like an outing for them,” says their teacher Rekha, whose seven- year-old-son also studies in the same school.
He, like the other children there, wore a small hearing-aid, but continued talking animatedly, albeit in a different language.
“These are kids from kindergarten to class five, but you’d be surprised that the some of the KG kids are almost as old as some of the older kids that we have. By the time their parents understand there is a school designed for their needs, it is usually quite late.
But they are catching up one day at a time, and breaks like this mean a lot to them,” said Rekha, signalling to the boys with knees perched on top of the seats to sit still for five seconds.