ALWAR CHAPTER

Me:- Finally a trip… after a long time.

My Friend:-Oh wow!

Me:- But wait, it’s not a holiday; it’s work!

My Friend: Never you mind! You can still see new places, meet new people, and learn about new cultures. Work can be fun too.

A new day, a new start…with this idea in mind, we all left the comfort of our homes with our backpacks for the New Delhi railway station waiting for the trip to begin. For most of us, it was the first time that we were travelling on an official trip. The train started with announcement of the destination, Alwar, Rajasthan. With lots of chatter and continuous chomping right from the home kitchen to the train’s pantry, we reached Alwar soon. All of us de-boarded the train and headed towards the MGB Hotel which was to be our home for the next 21 days—most of us had never stayed away from home for so long for work!

Alwar, Rajasthan, about 160 kms south of Delhi used to be the capital of the princely state of Alwar. It is home to several historical monuments such as the Deewan ji ki Lal Haweli and the Bhangarh fort. The Sariska tiger reserve is located just a few kilometres away from Alwar, in the Aravalli hills. It was exciting to know about these places and I hoped to visit them one day!

MY LITTLE FIELD GUIDE: KANIKA

Ajabpura, August, 2015: Tracking a child’s home can be a challenge in itself we were told, dairy2but with the help of our little guides/resource person (children from the village), every challenge seemed possible. How the “little guides” took me to every nook and corner of the village was incredible to experience.

I started my day by conducting an achievement test. This test is one of the research tools used in the longitudinal impact study (Indian Early Childhood Education Impact Study), created by CECED, Ambedkar University Delhi. It’s aim to determine a child’s learning levels at a particular age. My guide for the day was Kanika(name changed), an eight-year-old from Ajabpura village who showed me each and every lane of the village with the exact address—where I had to go and with whom I had to conduct the test with. Knowing the whole village, knowing directions, navigating the village lanes—I wondered how she knew so much! I wondered how our school systems can build upon the knowledge children like Kanika bring from their homes and communities.

Kanika was a very excited child and got even more excited to see how other children were doing on the achievement test. She made my day with her non-stop narration about her village, school, and her friends. I will always remember Kanika.

WHEN WE JUST ESCAPED MISSING OUR TRAIN

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Finally after completing the planned field work, we all headed back to Delhi. In the morning, we reached the railway station with lots of hustle bustle and loading and unloading of our luggage from the car. Even with the excitement of getting back home after so long, we were late! We ran towards the platform. Yes, we literally ran to catch our train, but thank goodness the train was delayed for few minutes, and we all boarded the train just in time. Travelling back to Delhi with my team members was again fun and exciting. After successfully completing our work, the excitement to get back home was palpable and infectious! An adventure that will always be with me and will be in my mind every time, I travel. Looking forward again for another great adventure.

Written By: Anindita Medhi, CECED, Ambedkar University Delhi. She can be reached at aninditamedhi@aud.ac.in

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are solely of the author. This is not necessarily CECED’s point of view but only reported by CECED.