The first mail to Deepam ( bridgethedivide) , sent about a year ago.
'Imparting Curiosity' will be the big theme at Deepam, for 09 / 10.
I look at the last 10 months of my life , since i decided to throw away my "comfortable" job and start-up on my own, and i realise all i that i required was just a few thousand rupees and a dependable computer . I would like to add that i would have bet on my computer more than the few thousand rupees i had, for the few thousands vanished quickly . But my computer stayed with me, ON all days and a lot of nights. And surely, it helped me make much more than the few thousands i had initially.
On every single day, the last thing i do is to walk away to the bed shutting off the laptop and the first thing i do is, not difficult to guess, run to the computer. ( Most of us .. am sure all of us in this group , probably follow the same routine. )
When i went to school ( now seems ages ago, 8 years ago ), the single most important gift my teachers ( Dad was the best and some teachers in school ) gave me and my school buddies was the imparting of CURIOSITY. They made us dream. They made us curious about object around us. They made us ask questions. I wasn't the smartest guy in my class . But i was always curious about things around me. When i heard about BITS ( and the stories my school principal told us about my school seniors who went to BITS and their success ), it inspired me to work for the entry into the great insitution. There were some amazing teachers during my school days without whom i would've got stuck in a much smaller world.. the dream-less world.
I live quite close to a Govt. school and i pass by that school quite often. A hundred + smiling innocent faces spend the crucial initial years of their life in that institution. With due respects to the teachers in that school ( and other Govt. Schools ), i wonder how many of these energetic kids are transformed into a curious, inspired student.. for a lifetime.
What did these kids do to deserve this "moulding" ( if you can call it that ) ? What did i do to receive such close attention and care from my teachers ? We talk of earning/deserving what we want / get . But when i was young, as a kid , what did i do to earn the great education i had in school ? Nothing. We talk of equality but where is equality when it is needed the most - at the begining of the life of these kids. They need someone to bring curiousity to them. They need someone to teach them to dream. They need someone to open their minds. They need some great teachers and the great teachers.. as i realise, are great friends.
Now put all these together... and we start this initiative - bridge the divide ( DEEPAM ) - An initiative that will help the kids in Govt. schools / kids who are under-priveleged ( living in slums ) to become curious about computers.
The idea / impetus came out of a discussion between Ram Viswanathan ( someone i look up to ), who is the founder of chennairunners ( a group that helps spread fitness and specially running in chennai ), and me after a morning run. Ram had been a great mentor ( in other words, a great friend ) from whom i walk away having learnt something new, everytime i meet with him. His passion to do good things, his vision and his mentorship will be really valuable to all of us as we begin this journey.
In the next few days, we can try to get as many passionate people to help us get started on this initiative. We need a lot of helping hands. Volunteers can help in a number of ways - teach / inspire the kids , talk to corporates and get computers that are discarded, talk to schools and organise classes and many many more.