The bus must’ve started at 10AM from Pune and I had expected it to reach Kasurdi by 11. Kasurdi was to become my first village stay experience. Thanks to SPJIMR’s DOCC program which mandates each of its student student to a five week rural internship. Coming back to Kasurdi, well, it’s a small village 40kms off Pune on Solapur highway. Majority of the people here are employed on huge farms owned by middle class farmers.
So the bus dropped us at Kasurdi phata at 11:15AM and from there an auto ferried us to our stay in Kasurdi. We were to stay at Deep Griha Society’s (DGS) City of Child; home to over 40 orphans.
City of Child (COC) is surrounded by huge farms growing onions, sugarcane, wheat etc. A bore well nearby is the source of water for these farms and COC. There are only 5 departmental stores in a radius of 2kms where one can get basic utility stuff like soaps , shampoo sachets etc. Most of brands these stores carry are either unknown or are in small quantities.
COC has close to 10 cottages spread over an area of four acres and a dining area with a kitchen where Maharashtrian food is made for the children, staff and volunteers.
The place is minimally staffed with one manager, three caretakers and one guard. The manager has a small office within COC where he sits for all his official work. He stays with his wife and son in one of the cottages. Harshal, his son adds so much life to this small place; always dragging everyone to himself with his adorable gestures and contagious smile.
Two of the caretakers help kids in studies and also cook food for everyone. The third caretaker is responsible for bringing ration and other essential items for everyone. He’s incredibly strong and is also responsible for maintaining strict discipline. The guard uncle is a weak old man who is also responsible for getting milk from a nearby cow-shed every morning.
We visited this place in the month of March. The mornings and the nights are cold while the afternoon is warm. It becomes impossible to take a bath after 12 noon as the water in the overhead water tanker becomes boiling hot.
During our stay there it rained on a few days; reducing the temperature but destroying the wheat. Smell of the mud and cool breeze blowing over the farms makes you want to come out and enjoy.
Seriously? Initially I thought that there could be nothing near a place like COC. I was proven wrong when Pratik Torane; a 10th standard student staying at COC, took me me to a nearby lake. The lake is quite big. Even though I visited it during the evening I’m pretty sure that the best time to visit this lake would be the morning; as it will be picturesque to see the sun rise from behind the mountains and cast its light narrowly on the lake.
Yes, without them this place will loose half its liveliness. There is a no fixed number except a few constants. Bunty the dog with beautiful white fur and aggressive facial expression is the one which bites and that’s the reason why he’s always tied. Rocky the other German Shephardish dog is over friendly and loves to lick just about everything. He sleeps throughout the day and barks stupidly throughout the night; and also gets beaten up for the same by the weak and old guard uncle.
The Food Options
There are not many food options around COC so one has to compulsorily eat the food prepared in the kitchen. I’ll admit that it becomes boring after some time. To fight that we made an arrangement with a dhaba at the highway to deliver food at COC. One can call this place up, tell that he/she is calling from Deep Griha Society’s COC and request him to deliver. The places name is Shivai Restaurant and the contact number is 09730088703.
Volunteer and be here: http://deepgriha.org/