Travel to my class took me past the Delhi Traffic Police Park, located in the heart of the city, regularly; with intrigue I would gaze at the humdrum that would, usually, be on inside the park, while I waited for the red light to turn green. Venturing inside the park to have a better look, and discover more, always seemed to elude me. Inertia? Perhaps…Little did I know that an assignment would take me to the park, eventually. As they say, what has to happen, happens.
As I entered the park on a hot summer morning, the first thing that struck me was the energy of the place; ‘done-up’ with collateral of all shapes and sizes depicting traffic rules and regulations, not in the mundane, but in a fun-filled manner, does catch one’s attention (the heart remains a child, I guess!). As I strolled around the park, waiting for my project to begin, I felt the pulse of the place: its boisterous rhythm, yet its calmness – a paradox. One could pace around the area, taking in the information at one’s own pace, checking one’s general knowledge related to the domain of traffic or join one of the bubbly
sessions being conducted by traffic policemen, and policewomen). I watched the session of Head Constable Sunil Kumar and thoroughly enjoyed the pace of his session – energetic, pragmatic, and effective. Do you know how to react to a chain-snatcher on a bike? Which side should you hang your bag, while walking on a busy road? How should you react on spotting an accident? How does one manage traffic, when one has to? Do you know how to defend yourself, if the need arises? And many such nuances, vital in our day-to-day life.
Having learnt quite a bit myself, I approached the theory room, where IL&FS Education and Technology Services was conducting its ‘Adobe Spark session’ for children in the age group of 14-16 years. As I parked myself at the far end of the room, willing to be a mute observer for a change, I observed the rush of students as they seated themselves, grabbing their Chromebook with glee. Saurabh Singh, Gulistan Rajput, and Atish Raj were the ‘instructors’ for the class. A step-by-step procedure facilitated a journey of sorts for the students; as I keenly watched their reactions to instructions, with some taking their own sweet time to reach where others had already long before reached, and yet some who jumped the instructions to reach further ahead than the rest of the group, out of sheer curiosity.
What I also observed was the reactions of the instructors, who were ensuring a common pace for the entire group, handling multiple questions popping up from every corner of the room, mostly simultaneously. It was heart-warming to see the students enigmatically following instructions, exploring, learning…even things we take for granted like capturing a ‘@’ symbol on the screen or scrolling down…little things, which gave joy when accomplished…So, as the students proceeded to accomplish the task of preparing a graphic, with a tagline, for encouraging the cause of road safety, one could see creativity caps being donned, irrespective of the fact that there was no electricity for most part of the workshop. Windows were opened, the summer breeze allowed-in, and work continued full speed. No one complained.
In the middle of the session, I was whisked away for a brief tete-a-tete with ACP Vijay Tomar, who talked about the importance of generating awareness on road safety for youngsters. He also added about how, with the increase of vehicles on the road, road safety had gained more impetus, and children are the best ‘brand ambassadors’ for the cause.
The Delhi Traffic Police Road Safety Camp was started in 2010, and has covered 1400 plus schools till date. A number of competitions such as painting, debate, speech, quiz competitions, among others, see children winning attractive prizes like ‘Delhi Traffic Police’ branded T-shirts, bags, pencil boxes, diaries, and list goes on. In fact, Sub-Inspector Pushpal Kaur, showed me the gifts with pride. Says ACP Tomar: “Our partnership with the private sector such as Honda and IL&FS, among others, has been beneficial for all stakeholders. Besides a competent staff to deal with, they bring with them professionalism and know-how.” Well, partnerships do open doors for synergies and growth – no debates on that. As I completed my conversation, and took a final round, I caught a final glimpse of a number of hands go up, perhaps in response to a question thrown at the audience by Head Constable Kumar – a heart-warming sight, reminiscent of childhood days.
On the way out, I see Saurabh engaging his audience with panache. It was later that I came to know that he was not actually a trainer, but the lead of the project. An adage popped up in my mind: “A teacher takes a hand, opens a mind, and touches a heart.” How true, indeed!