Desks for Adarsha Hindi Vidyalaya School, Calcutta, India – 2016

The Making of 20 Desks for the
Adarsha Hindi Vidyalaya School in Alipore, Kolkata, India.
April – June 2016

The school for the first time introduced class XI and XII this year (2015-2016) which are known as higher secondary classes. In absence of high and low benches for the students to sit, the school was facing difficulty to run the classes. Ashok Tewari, the very dedicated headmaster of the school approached Children are Angels From Heaven to come forward to donate the required 20 sets of high and low benches for the new classes. I readily agreed to arrange the same, it is worth mentioning here that quite a few years back, Children are Angels From Heaven donated high and low benches for another few classes of the school.

My friend Dibyendu Bhattacharya of Calcutta quite often guides me during my visits to various places in and around the city and has visited the school with me a number of times. I asked Dibyendu if he can help me in arranging the school desks as these are to be specially made for the specific purpose and not something which can be procured off the shelf. Dibyendu readily agreed to take up the assignment and the project was funded by Children are Angels from Heaven and managed by Mr. Dibyendu Bhattacharya.

Dibyendu went to the school and looked at all the others desks that we had made many years back. He initially thought he would be able to complete the project with no big problems. That was a mistake. This project was the hardest project that Angels was ever involved in to get done.

Dibyendu had to work long hours and extremely hard to get the project completed. The main reason was transfer of the money to do the job. Dibyendu is a private citizen and does not have a permit to encash foreign checks. I could not send cash in the mail and my only option was to send a money transfer by Western Union only for Dibyendu to find out that the transfer of these funds by Western Union is only good between blood relatives and no Western Union office in the entire city of Kolkata would give the funds after I had sent them.

After weeks of trying Dibyendu did find an understanding person, an officer of a Post Office who patiently heard the entire story about the project of helping the school with the desks and agreed to pay against my Western Union remittance.

So, now Dibyendu had the funds and he started getting estimates for the tables and chairs. He found it better if he had the desk parts made in pieces at local shops and then had everything welded and assembled along with being painted that it would end up to be of assured quality at the lowest cost for us.

Over a time span of about 4 months Dibyendu shared about 50 e-mails. I would like you to see some of his words from a few mails and then you will understand that this project was not easy to accomplish and that he did it for the love of the children and his love of the world.

“The first attempt to retrieve Western Union remittance has been unsuccessful today. However, nothing to worry I would make further attempt tomorrow.”

“There was no progress today, I met 6 agents of Western Union today but no one is confident to handle remittance from a non relation foreigner. There has been recent restrictions and new rules imposed to restrict inflow of foreign fund for criminal activities.”

“All these are part of the game in the world of work and money. I would do all possible things before giving up. In case I need any help from you regarding this, I would let you know.”

“There is utter confusion among Western Union agents here regarding payment rules, most know that money can be transacted between blood relations only. I know a good number of people in the financial world who should be masters in such matters but I wanted to sort out the thing myself without help of a source.”

“There will be more obstacles like the present one but we will swim through all these. If we fail, we will prove ourselves to be worthless fools, I will do everything to disprove that.”
“I have been able to swim ashore at last. Things will move like this and Students of Adarsha Hindi School will sit on nicely made desks soon.”

“That’s right the ball has started rolling. Let us all hope that everything else goes well.
You have got nothing more to do now. I will tell you well in advance when any action is necessary from your end. Take good care of yourself, there is a lot of good things to do in this world but only a very few are ready to do that without personal gain.”

“So far as I have calculated till now, we would be able to achieve nearly the price of Rs.3500 per set as originally thought of, the maximum amount that may overshoot the estimate is Rs.200 per set. We would remain 100% within Rs.3700 per set. The work of frame fabrication has very satisfactorily progressed, I am keeping track of the quality very closely and feel confident to end up with a very good product.”

“There was another unforeseen matter, in Kolkata no registered seller would agree to sell materials to anyone having a foreign address, it requires a special license for such sale which is not held by sellers operating in Kolkata market.”

“The desk project is at last right on track, the iron frames are all ready, the wooden planks are at advanced stage of finishing. Fitting of the wooden planks on frames and painting is left. I hope the final thing would come out in another 10/12 days. I am happy with the quality of work and hope the desks would be better than the earlier ones in all respect.”

“It is true that the desk project needed more effort than what I thought at the beginning. However it was an enjoyable challenge and the result is almost at hand. I am enclosing 2 snaps of the desks as they look before painting and fixing of shoes.”

“The painting of desks is in progress but a bit slow, only about 20% has progressed in 3 days. I am fully after the job and trying to expedite.”

“It is true, at one point of time things looked too tough, I was worried but did not leave anything for god to handle, I did everything which the situation demanded. I am happy now. Uncertainties are reduced almost to zero now. I myself feel that I have made justice to the job entrusted to me. Hope the students who would use the desks and all others involved would be happy in due course.”

“Desks are now getting final coat of paints. Have a glimpse of how they look after painting”

“After a long and consistent effort today was the day to celebrate. Finally 20 sets of desks for the Hindi school was successfully delivered today. School students happily participated in unloading the stock from two small trucks and arranged everything in class room. I learnt from Mr. Tiwari that classes for class XI and XII would start on 7th July wherein the desks would be used.”

Headmaster Ashok Kumar Tewari (On left) & Dibyendu Bhattacharya

“I would indeed be happy if I see more and more people shows concern about good things in our mother earth which is getting engulfed in dark clouds all too fast. Ray, I am with you. I have very little fortune to get things done myself. You have the zeal I have wish, let us forge all these together and try to pay back a little bit of the debt that we owe to the mother earth. Instead of burning me out, the desk project has rejuvenated me, I am feeling younger. I am really feeling like wining a war. At times the early part of the war was indeed tough, I had even started feeling like a loser. All is well that ends well.”

Finally 20 sets of high and low benches were delivered to Adarsha Hindi School in the last week of June 2016. We were happy to see the successfully culmination of the project and the school was also happy as their longstanding problem was solved.