A couple of weeks ago (on July 7th), we had a YEFI Day at work. YEFI stands for Yahoo! Employee Foundation India. As part of the celebrations, we got the Parikrma kids to come and visit our Yahoo! offices.
The Jayanagar children (who see me every Saturday) visited the M G Road office, and as part of Kalpana's (one of the founders of Parikrma) plan, another colleague and myself would host the Sahakarnagar children at Aztec / EGL premises.
The kids came at around 1 o' clock and we took them straight for lunch first. The girls came first and they sat down. The boys came in an another vehicle after a while. The Aztec cafeteria was filled with kids with green color shirts, and everyone was wondering what was going on.
First off, I asked who was the naughtiest of them all, and all of them pointed to a single girl, and I got her to explain what all naughty things she does, hehe. Apparently, she's the only one who confidently slaps any of the naughty boys! Then, I asked their nicknames, and got to know all the names from 'mosquito' to 'kogile'.
Somewhere in between, I asked them what they wanted to do when they grew up - 3 said nurse, 1 said teacher, 1 said computer scientist (whatever that is), 1 said astronaut (!), and so on. I was so happy to hear that only one of them wanted to become a "software engineer". Maybe I'm being cynical but I think we have enough drones in Bangalore as it is. These kids can do so much more, and their motivation is very different from ours. When I asked why that paticular girl wanted to become a teacher? She said she liked kids and she wanted to help other kids just like Parikrma helped her. I was asking the wannabe-nurses on whether they have put an injection to somebody else ... then I asked the 'kogile' to sing, and she sang a beautiful kannada song.
After lunch, we took them inside to the office, and they basically invaded the place. I don't think anybody was allowed to work ;), the kids just confidently walked up to people and asked them all they wanted to know about yahoo, internet, and everything in-between.
Some of the actual questions :
- How did yahoo start?
- How do yahoo products happen? (sic)
- How to send email?
- What is your work, anna?
Some toughie questions there. Eventually, they learnt how to chat in messenger and send email. Some of them even got their own yahoo email addresses.
We asked the kids to draw using the markers, and kids love drawing.
Next, we took them to the EGL Yahoo! office next door, and the kids so obediently formed a line and walked towards EGL.
Then, the BESS team took most of the kids to a corner, and started talking to them, and soon took them to a nearby PC and started showing the Yahooligans! site to them. I never knew that Yahooligans site was that good. When the person asked the kids what they recently learnt about, the kids replied they studied the 'heat' chapter the previous day, and immediately after a search, they were shown a full 2-3 min cartoon explaining the concept of heat, and electrons and energy levels and all that. I was impressed myself, and the kids had a lot of fun. Next, they wanted to learn more about dinosaurs ...
Then, it was time for some more snacks for the kids - from cake to bournvita. And even more goodies!
The kids had prepared to sing a few songs and they sang in good unbroken English.
Then, one of our senior yahoos stepped up to advice a few words to the kids, mainly about the importance of learning, and how we should never stop to learn and improve. The kids explained all the new things they had learnt that day, and why they found it interesting, and in turn he explained why it is important that even the smallest things that they had learnt that day would go a long way in future.
It was time for the kids to leave and get back to their schools, so that they can get back to home in time. The kids surprised us by giving a thank you card to each of the yahoos they interacted with that day.
While bidding them goodbye, the kids warned me that I have to come and visit them at Sahakarnagar one day or I would face the consequences, and I better not take panga with these kids. They're too smart. For example, my colleague and myself were playing the fool with the kids (well, unsurprisingly, that comes natural to me), and I was arguing that the 'thank you' card that I got was better, and when I asked a kid to have his word on it, he said "Both are good". I never expected such a good diplomatic and yet truthful answer.