I have a personal bond with Ladakh, this blog came into being because of our trip to Ladakh, way back in 2005. Little did I know that one day I would quit my full time job as a professor and do full time blogging. I traveled for the fourth time to Ladakh for the Axis Dil Se project.
Axis Bank along with 17 Thousand ft Foundation funded more than 100 government schools under the Axis Dil Se project. The endeavour was to bring a playground and a reading room for the kids for selected schools. I attended the inauguration function at two schools at Drass and Namsuru in the Kargil District. It was my pleasure to be a part of the excitement generated by the kids for this unique project. Axis Bank had a team on the ground which consisted of business leaders and young management trainees.
But let me start at the beginning and for Leh, it has to be the landing at the Kushok Bakula Rimpochee Airport.
The Landing at Leh
If you are flying into Leh, chances are you already know that the best views are on the A side windows and while coming back, it is the F side window you clamor for! Flying over the Karakoram Range is an experience you never get tired of. This was my third landing at Leh, the first visit being a road trip, and I was still glued to the window!
Beautiful Roads in Ladakh
In Ladakh the journey is the destination. I visited various tourist attractions, like the confluence, Spituk Monastery, Hundarman etc. but it is the scenery along the road that holds me in thrall! If I could have it my way, I would stop the vehicle every few meters to click a picture. But as I could not have it my way, I could click nonstop from the moving vehicle.
Axis Dil Se is a Fabulous Project
The Axis Dil Se is a fabulous project as it aimed to provide much needed recreation and learning to young minds. I gathered from various discussions that people who can afford, send their kids to private schools in faraway places. So, any attempt to raise the standard of the village schools is to be appreciated as the kids don’t need to get separated from their family at a young age. Axis Dil Se along with 17 Thousand ft Foundation has tried to raise the standards throughout the Ladakh region.
Axis Bank’s business leaders along with young management trainees participated in the program. 17 Thousand ft Foundation also had a big team of local experts on the ground to support the project.
The Kids are Awesome
For me the biggest joy was interacting with the kids in their schools. The first school that I visited was the Government Middle School in Drass. The kids presented a fabulous cultural show. I could see the involvement of their teachers too! But what impressed me most was their laughter, they would roar in unison at the smallest thing, like a scuffle during the musical chair!
At the end of the program at Drass, the kids went to the playground! And their joy was obvious! Do watch the video to catch a glimpse of it.
Namsuru is a beautiful village where I attended the second inauguration. Here too the kids put on a wonderful show. What impressed me most that the girls had already taken out the books from the library and reading it while watching the cultural show.
Going Home with Gratitude
Now that I am firmly back to my city life, I am reminded of how much I take for granted in this life. I, for sure, all my life took playgrounds and libraries for granted. I never thought of them as anything extra special. My daughter does the same. And then I remember the look on the face of kids while they came down a slide, or went up the swing, and I think how blessed are they who laugh readily, who do not really understand pollution or daily traffic jams.
The kids from Kargil reminded me to feel grateful at what I have, rather than constantly crib!