Batch 2013- 2015
A couple of years ago, while completing my Bachelor’s degree in French from St. Teresa’s College, Ernakulam, I had the opportunity to be part of an on-campus awareness campaign on AIDS. At the time, I felt that this was the best I could be… That is, till Parivarthana 2013 happened to me. To say that Parivarthana is an amazing experience is an understament. Nothing in my life before SCMS-Cochin had prepared me for anything like this. On the one hand, there is the learning from the life spent before joining SCMS-Cochin School of Business, and then there is this 30-day blitz called Parivarthana. The latter outweighs the former in every possible way. Even when the idea came up, and I was one of the 12 students chosen for the core team, I had not even the faintest of idea how big this was going to be. The process was simple. We, the core team, were to produce a street-play along with the scriptwriter, a fellow-student doing his MBA at SCMS-Cochin School of Business. It was then the job of each of the 12 core team members to mentor and groom other groups and prepare them to perform.
But preparing and performing are two different things…. as we soon realised.
SRV School, Ernakulam is just another government school. But on the 4th of October 2013, it turned into the first real test of ‘The Fence and the Magical Lamp’ our street play. With butterflies in our stomachs and pounding hearts, we took to the stage in front of a fairly big gathering of more than 200 students of classes VIII, IX and X. The gathering and the response was far greater than we had expected. We tentatively dived into our theme of “Friends of Police” – Do not fear the law enforcers – respect them and be friendly towards them. Soon, accompanied by loud cheers from our young audience, the smiling encouragement of our faculty mentor, Prof Santhosh S, and the Assistant Commissioner of Police, Mr. Baby Vinod, we grew increasingly confident. The street play ended to a loud round of applause and a lot of backslapping. But the job was far from done. The 12 of us quickly broke out, and began interacting with the teens. The questions came thick and fast. “How can one be friends with a policeman? How to call the police in times of need? How to be in constant touch with the police?” Prior to Parivarthana, we too were seeking answers to such questions. But the preparation and interaction with the police at all levels, right up to the IG – Central Zone, Mr. Padmakumar (IPS), had ensured that we answered the school children clearly and confidently.
“A big thank you to the students of SCMS-Cochin School of Business,” said a beaming Mr. Vinod, ACP, Kerala Police, when he took the stage immediately after this interaction. He gave a thumping vote of confidence to all of us. He urged the young school children not to fear the police. The keen students in their turn spoke to Mr. Vinod of their perceptions that even communicating with the police could lead to dire consequences. Mr. Vinod was able to establish that much of this perception was created by the movies, and was far from the truth. He highlighted the ‘Janamaitry’ Police initiative, which allowed people to approach the police anytime, 24×7.
But what really surprised us were the words of the Principal of SRV School, Ernakulam. The Principal of the government school spoke about the Student-Police Cadet Group that had been in existence in the school for some time, pretty much along the lines of the NCC.
“The objective of the group has been to nurture a security-oriented mind-set and create responsible citizens of the future,” said the Principal. “The initiative has not been able to make much headway because of the inherent fear of the Police amongst the students. I’m genuinely surprised and pleased to see the immense curiosity and traction that students of SCMS-Cochin have generated. Earlier, the Police had tried to create a sense of friendliness, but clearly, having students of SCMS-Cochin do this job has been a much better idea, and a lot more effective.”
In 2012, SCMS-Cochin School of Business’ Parivarthana had addressed nearly 75 schools on its Road Safety initiative with the traffic police. This year, we are targeting more than 100 schools. So far, I have been to more than 10 schools since the beginning of Parivarthana. Currently, I’m catching up on my studies, but I can barely wait to get into the act once again! Three weeks ago, I preferred to stay away from a crowd; today I can not only manage a crowd, I can, in fact, control it. Three weeks ago, I steered clear of anything remotely resembling a Police uniform. Today, I don’t just know how they work, but in fact educate others about it. Thanks to extensive notes from our faculty mentors who, in this third edition of Parivarthana, have pretty much seen it all, we’ve been able to surge ahead from where our predecessors left off.
To the outside world, Parivathana truly is an effort to change the image of the Police. But now, when I look within my soul, I see that Parivathana has been of far greater import. It has changed my own perception of myself. I can now see the star within.