It’s a sunny winter noon and as I wander the jam-packed streets of Anna Nagar, I wonder about life here. My wondering soon comes to an end as I step inside the gates of Pehchaan The Street School. The rainbow-painted walls and hopeful faces of children instantly catch my fancy. The children carry notebooks, pencils and a lot of hope in their glittering eyes; they stand in contrast to what the area looked like at first glance because, in sharp contrast to the suffocation I sensed in the streets, I sense freedom here.
The children are keenly excited to learn. They confide in me their daily routine and thoughts. Khushboo tells me how she loves to paint and eagerly waits for the didi who teaches them to paint. Rizwana loves to read Hindi stories. Rahul is always excited to come up here and interact with the didis and bhaiyyas who tell him about new things. These children have not only made friends here but have also found an escape of sorts. They’re happy holding the new stationery that has been distributed to them. It is overwhelming to witness the volunteers putting in their efforts to help the children realise their true potential.
The volunteers are always on their toes, always listening and patient with them. They assist the children with finding their identities and help them blossom. The true affectionate relationships I witnessed here in the school were adequate for me to believe in the idea of a silent revolution for freedom. However congested the streets of this area may be, there is one place which lends freedom and hope unconditionally to the children who need it the most, and that is Pehchaan The Street School.