Daily Archives: June 3, 2017

#LittleHumans Of Janwaar Castle- Hi, My Name Is Ramkesh!

Hi, my name is Ramkesh, I am in 4th standard and I am ten years old. I have one younger brother and four elder sisters. I wake up at 5 o’clock in the morning; I freshen up myself, and fill water buckets. I head to Janwaar Castle skatepark carrying my skateboard, notebook and a pen. First, we learn English in the Bamboo house, then we do skateboarding, play with frisbee and later learn to play football. I go home around 10 o’clock to have breakfast. So, I go home to have breakfast and afterwards help my mother with household work. We collect the leaves of a tree called ‘Tendu‘, the leaves of Tendu are used to roll ‘Beedi‘, also it bears a fruit which we all villagers eat. After making bundles of Tendu leaves, there is a house in our village where me and my mother take them, the person there puts it into our account in a notebook through which we get to know how much money we earn per collection. From this house, the leaves are taken to Panna. When it turns into a large sum of money in the notebook; either we buy basic necessities or we waive off our previous debts. Some money is deposited in our bank account as well. 

Housework is done and it is time for me to roam around in the village. There are some mango trees, I use my ‘Gulel‘ to pick them. Then I cherish mangoes. Sometimes, I play ‘Chiranga‘ (Marbles) with other kids. Almost half the day passes by doing all this and it is time to head home to have lunch. I eat lunch at 2 o’clock. Around 4 o’clock, it is time to hit Janwaar Castle again and practice some new tricks. Exhausted and full of sweat, I go back home; make my bed and lie down. 

Meals for breakfast and lunch are mostly the same every day. We eat basic food like lentils, seasonal vegetable curry and rice. Not so fancy food. For dinner, most of the time my grandfather hunts down birds like ‘Titar‘ when he take our goats to the jungle. We eat wild pigs as well. If he is unlucky to get something from the jungle, we eat the same rice, lentils etc. During weekends, we eat chicken sometimes. I used to drink milk when we had cows but now we don’t. Actually, we can’t afford it anymore. My father met with an accident once when he was going to Panna on his tractor and since then, he is on total bedrest. We have consulted many doctors and have tried many expensive medicines but nothing has helped him to get out of the bed. 

I like skateboarding and I want to continue it further. In the beginning, I used to see other kids showing off their new tricks. Everybody was getting the new buzz and was ahead of me. Slowly and steadily, I gained confidence that I can do it! I wore pads and put my foot on the board for the first time. My philosophy is simple ‘Conquer your fear or your fear will conquer you’. I have no fear. I can do a drop in from anywhere. You present me a challenge and I will do it!” 

#LittleHumans Of Janwaar Castle- Jayanti the unexplored explorer

Jayanti came to the skatepark almost from day one. Even before the park was finished she was one of the first kids using the newly emerging ramps as slides. This was fun! She laughed a lot – still there always seemed to be an invisible wall with no doors around her. It was hard for her to interact with other kids and to share.

This became worse when she got bitten by a snake. For almost a year she was struggling with the snake bite. In between we even thought she would lose one leg. The only way to move around for Jayanti was sliding on her tush. Her grandparents neglected our help and somehow she was cut off from the skatepark and separated from the other kids. 

A wonder happened, Jayanti’s leg healed and she returned to the skatepark three or four months ago. “Re-socialisation” so to speak, began. Jayanti never liked to explore, she hasn’t even roamed around much in Janwaar. Not that Janwaar is a huge village to explore but unlike many of the other kids she is hardly seen outside her house. What was interesting is the fact that it was Jayanti telling all this to Mannan on the train from Varanasi to Guwahati! She told him that she usually doesn’t like to explore and that she prefers to stay in the house. And now she was with a group of seven kids on a three weeks holiday almost 1200km away from home.

Jayanti’s family comes from a very conservative Yadav family. They simply do not respect Adivasis. Naturally, she is conditioned the same way. While on the bus leaving from Janwaar, she wouldn’t even sit besides Suman, an Adivasi girl who was also traveling with us. Surprisingly within three to four days things were changing. We can’t say that Jayanti and Suman became close friends, but in Varanasi Jayanti said to Mannan: “I will only go, if Suman goes as well!” Wow – what a change!

For a girl who has never traveled on a train before, who has hardly been outside her village, Jayanti now has spent almost 30 hours on this long trained between Varanasi and Guwahati. She has experienced Varanasi to the fullest, enjoyed teaching skateboarding to other kids there, and is now on her way to explore new territories in Guwahati! Something must have triggered her basic instincts.

Jayanti is bold from the outside, timid from the inside and has a drop of curiosity which is now slowly taking over.