The Blind School & Dahi Handi

Yesterday I started volunteering with Saksham Seva. I will be creating English audio books for the blind in India, being the voice, editing them and adding sound effects etc. Hopefully I can create some awesome audio books after my training is finished, the first book I am working on is a children’s story about a little Indian girl. There are quite a few Hindi words in it, so I have to work on my pronunciation for those (and find out what they mean!).

Saksham Seva not only has a audiobook creation centre, but also runs many projects to support the blind and partially sighted. The center is translating Marathi and Hindi books into braille, which has to be done manually unlike Latin script (our A B C’s) which can be generated in seconds, just by scanning the page. This work is carried out primarily by housewives and retired people.

The premise also holds a blind school, a hostel for blind women, a facility for squint correction and a cornea donation programme, giving people the gift of sight. It’s really a fantastic place with a happy environment. 

If you saw my post yesterday, you would have read that I was a little disapointed that I didn’t witness Dahi Handi. Dahi Handi is the Maharashtrian tradition of making a human pyramid to break a clay pot full of buttermilk, reenacting some of Lord Krishna’s mischievous childhood behaviour.

Once I left the audio book center, I was so happy to see that the students of the blind school were dancing and playing Dahi Handi. I got to see it after all.

Dahi Handi

The boy’s smile on the bottom left, so adorable

dahi handi

The human pyramid fell several times, they were just perfecting their technique. Each time the pyramid fell, undefeated they’d brush themselves off and start dance to the music playing. Let’s just say, they danced often. Once they were danced out, the boys would then regroup and try again.

dahi handi

There were so many failed attempts that one of the teachers decided to lower the pot, another teacher didn’t want it lowered and kept sneeking away to pull it up higher again. Some more Lord Krishna mischief. 

dahi handi dahi handi

After many falls, they did it! Buttermilk went absolutely everywhere, one boy’s face was completely covered, and he wasn’t even in the pyramid! Everyone had a great time, all were laughing and dancing so joyously, even the boy with a mask of buttermilk had a huge grin on his face.

dahi handi success

 I am so happy to be able to be involved in such a great charity, go to http://sakshamseva.org/ to read more about their amazing work. 

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21 thoughts on “The Blind School & Dahi Handi

  1. It is so great to hear that you have started volunteering! It really is life changing being able to serve others in whatever way you can and what a really nice opportunity with audio books. God bless you!

    It was really interesting to read about their tradition as well and you managed to catch some really beautiful photos.

    I remember in Nepal we visited a school for the deaf as they had put on a programme and invited baba. It was really an amazing sight seeing kids have such a zest for life. They had a few non deaf students who helped to lead the deaf students in dance shows and tae kwon do performances. There was something so special about all the children and schools I saw in Nepal. It was really beautiful and I would have loved to be more involved. So I am so happy that you are managing to volunteer!

    Also, it is great that you feel so confident in India to be able to go out and volunteer. It is really nice to watch India becoming a home to you! Do you think over time you will go back to doing something pharmaceutical? Or volunteering in that field? Do you feel that a language barrier holds you back from these things?

    Best wishes! xxx

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    • Hey Hanna,

      Lovely to hear from you!! What a lovely experience at the deaf school in Nepal, great! These students at the blind school were similar, always guiding each other and getting involved with the festivities!

      It has taken some time for me to gain the confidence but now I have taken ‘the leap’, I feel so much more at home here in India and so happy to be involved in a great charity. I hope to be able to do more with time :).

      In India, many people have some degree of English because many schools are actually taught in English so it’s okay. I would only go back to pharmacy in a volunteer healthcare sense, I still have some knowledge up there :). Once we are settled in our new city (who knows when!) I will look for something long term.

      I hope you are doing well back in London! I am excited to read more of your Nepalese tales ❤

      Love xxx

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  2. That is so great. I am so proud that you are doing some volunteer work. You’ll make lots of friends and also it will be great to be a part of a community by helping. Can’t wait to hear more.
    xo

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  3. This is so beautiful 🙂 And what you are doing is for greater goodness.
    I have always wondered what goes in the pot they are supposed to hit and never bothered to look around and in our region it’s colored water. Sounds interesting to know they use dahi in it 🙂

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  4. That’s a beautiful cause to support, and I bet it will be a lot of fun (not to mention a wonderful experience) to record your voice in an audio book. ^_^
    Dahi Handi looks like it would be really fun to watch. Ahaha – I’m glad you had the chance to see! 🙂

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  5. Wonderful opportunity to make a difference to the lives of the disabled.
    I am sure this will also help you in learning HIndi, since you will have to interact with staff/students. ‘Immersion’ is the only/fastest way to learn the local language , even
    the best of language learning tools cannot compare.

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  6. I’d love to hear more about the audiobook project. I did a small voice project in Tokyo and loved it. I thought it would be fun to record audiobooks for the blind and hadn’t quite got around to investigating more. Good for you!

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