Parichay is the first place where I stepped in on to the new world of volunteering. Not many of volunteer get a chance to start learning volunteering from Parichay. It was a fine morning when I, Somen and one more girl Priya met at IIT main gate to move to the project.

It was one and half hour travel with the modes of bus, auto-rickshaw and cycle-rickshaw travel. Before reaching parichay itself I had a lot to learn from the road from bhajanpura to tukhmirpur. I could imagine and interpret the state of mind of the people at that place (though that was an imagination of an immature so called volunteer who was on his first sight visit).

After all the way of travel when we reached the building with a block of bricks arranged on the front and loads of bundles of paper wounded and kept aside on both sides of the entrance. There were children all around with namasthe bhaiya and namasthe didi… while we entered into the block. I thought Somen must be a hero here; he got such a reception which I've earlier seen only in Rajnikanth movies on screen, a live experience.

Once we stepped into the block on the left hand side we had steep steps leading to the first floor. I just imagined "Parichay is already on top".

A quick little flashback……. Me, Somen and Anirban used to have dinner quite often and during our dinner we talk about Parichay, AID, Volunteering etc. We used to talk a lot about Parichay, the children and bhaiya. I from there on had an imagination of Parichay with two separate rooms on a ground beautifully decorated with lots of charts having a small garden in front of it. Both the rooms surrounded with a series of flower pots (this is not my mistake, movies have shown things like that :D).

Back to the situation, I started to realize that I’m realizing. (I mean the reality may be different from cinematic imagination). Up we went, and walked on the corridor, passing the unfolded cots, the vessels waiting to be cleaned and the clothes just getting a bath. Vijay bhaiya was waiting there for us and with a warm welcome; we had an introduction with the children. I could remember, Monu, Tarannum, Moni, Heera and Sona were the people I recognized on my first visit. After a lot of talk, bhaiya said us you can go to the next room and teach the children.

I was a bit clueless on what to teach, but me as usual ready to take up the new challenge. Priya somehow managed to gather the children and start to teach them how to look at the watch / clock to read time. I start to interact to a few children and start to teach them English. I thought I'm smart enough to take English class and started with "A". In came a question,

"bhaiya yeh ‘A’ kyun hai?"

I was just feeling like a air plucked balloon. In fact the children were smart enough to understand my feel and said "theek hai, aage batayiye".

I went there to teach the children and I was taught by the children that I'm not prepared enough to do so, it was a great learning from them and in fact if this might not have happened that day, my entire experience of volunteering might have been different. Even today I go to parichay to learn and not to teach (though some times I share a few of my knowledge with children, I never call that as teaching).