Grannies aged 60 to 90 head to school at Aajibainchi Shala in Phangane village, Thane district, Maharashtra.(Satish Bate/HT Photos)
Grannies aged 60 to 90 head to school at Aajibainchi Shala in Phangane village, Thane district, Maharashtra.(Satish Bate/HT Photos)

A school for grannies is making dreams come true in Maharashtra

Their mission at the school is to learn to read, write and multiply. They even have a uniform - bright pink saris.
By Madhusree Ghosh | Hindustan Times
UPDATED ON JAN 30, 2017 02:30 PM IST

Aajibaichi Shala is a school for grandmothers in Thane district, Maharashtra.

Dressed in bright pink saris, the grannies all sit together in a single classroom and learn to write, read and multiply, all in Marathi.

The school was opened on March 8, 2016, Women’s Day. It’s 27 grannies are aged 60 to 90. On Republic Day this year, they moved to a new, bigger plot.

Sitabai Deshmukh, 90, is the oldest student at the school. Her youngest granddaughter, eight-year-old Anushka, sometimes walks with her to the class. “Never in my long life had I thought I would get a chance to go to a school,” Sitabai says. “When I was young, my family was poor and girls didn’t have the chance to go to schools. I have had a new life for the last year.”

Her grandchildren also help her with homeworks. “We have fun studying together,” Anushka says.

On Republic Day, Thursday, the school moved to a new venue with bigger space and a garden, which made the grannies happy.

Here, they salute the flag at the Phangane zilla parishad School. They joined local kids at the venue and sang the national anthem together.

“I feel proud watching the grandmothers taking part in such an occasion, that too as students,” says Dilip Dalal, founder of Motiram Dalal Charitable Trust, which helped co-found the school with local zilla parishad teacher and activist, Yogendra Bangar.

“I started this school after one of the grandmothers said to me that she wished she could read at least the holy books. That’s when I felt the need to do this,” says Bangar. He built the single-room school with help from the Motiram Dalal trust but he buys all the supplies and pay for the utilities himself.

“I do not accept donations. It doesn’t cost much and I feel this is my baby and I should be one looking after it,” he says. “Also, I’m a teacher and this is my duty.”

The new space is larger and meant to urge grannies from neighbouring villages to join the school too. Eight more are expected shortly.

Shital More, 30, is the sole teacher at the one-room school. Shital, who is a Class 10 graduate, moved to Phangane after marriage.

“A year ago, when Bangar Sir asked me to teach the grandmothers, I was very happy,” she says.

“I teach them how to sign their names, read in Marathi and multiply,” More adds. “They are obedient and eager students,” More says. “My mother-in-law attends the school and my husband, Prakash More, has donated land for the new venue, so this school is very much close to my heart.”

The garden surrounding the new schoolroom has one tree for each of the grannies. Here, Kantabai More, 65, holds up the sign that will adorn her jackfruit sapling. The students are each responsible for their tree. “Now that all of us old ladies are in same class, we have a lot of fun gardening,” she says. “We also go on day trips. Dilipji has promised us a picnic that we are all looking forward to.”

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Close
Stories from around Delhi picked by Delhiwala Mayank Austen Soofi(Mayank Austen Soofi)
Stories from around Delhi picked by Delhiwala Mayank Austen Soofi(Mayank Austen Soofi)

Capital in lockdown: Stories from around Delhi-NCR amid coronavirus pandemic

By HT Correspondent | Hindustan Times, Delhi
UPDATED ON SEP 06, 2020 04:11 PM IST
Mayank Austen Soofi aka Delhiwale picks six stories that capture the essence of what has been lost, as life in Delhi endures during the pandemic. Read on to find out which one is the most heart touching.
Close
A masked couple sits by the Arabia Sea in Mumbai.(Sooni Taraporevala)
A masked couple sits by the Arabia Sea in Mumbai.(Sooni Taraporevala)

Mumbai in the time of coronavirus pandemic

By HT Correspondent | Hindustan Times, Mumbai
UPDATED ON SEP 06, 2020 04:42 PM IST
We asked six master artists — the poet Javed Akhtar, photographer Sooni Taraporevala, writer Shanta Gokhale, and artists Sudhir Patwardhan, Sudarshan Shetty and Sameer Kulavoor — what the lockdown had meant to them. Here’s what they had to say.
Close
Departure, pastel on paper, 2020(Sudhir Patwardhan)
Departure, pastel on paper, 2020(Sudhir Patwardhan)

Sudhir Patwardhan’s exclusive artwork Departure depicts the frailty of Mumbai as home

By Dhamini Ratnam | Hindustan Times, Mumbai
UPDATED ON SEP 06, 2020 04:16 PM IST
In July, Hindustan Times invited artist Sudhir Patwardhan to create an original work that centred around the theme of the Mumbai and the pandemic. The work is a line drawing titled Departure, and it is a visceral portrayal of three migrants with a child walking with luggage through a deserted street.
Close
Standing 7 feet tall, this new work is carved out of re-used wood that has been collected from various dismantled structures in and around Mumbai.(Sudharshan Shetty)
Standing 7 feet tall, this new work is carved out of re-used wood that has been collected from various dismantled structures in and around Mumbai.(Sudharshan Shetty)

A universe of meaning

By Dhamini Ratnam | Hindustan Times, Mumbai
UPDATED ON SEP 06, 2020 01:03 PM IST
In a 2019 work titled Pieces Earth Left Behind, Sudarshan Shetty displayed 99 pieces of wooden sculptures, each modeled on an object that he found in Mumbai’s Chor Bazaar, a place where old, disused items find a new lease of life.
Close
The artist collects different kinds of scissors because he thinks “they’re very interesting as a functional object and a piece of design.”(Sameer Kulavoor)
The artist collects different kinds of scissors because he thinks “they’re very interesting as a functional object and a piece of design.”(Sameer Kulavoor)

Art in an apocalypse

By Sameer Kulavoor | Hindustan Times, Mumbai
UPDATED ON SEP 06, 2020 10:37 AM IST
Like everyone else, I’ve felt like I was in the middle of an apocalypse, hearing about natural disasters, man-made disasters, blasts, politics fuelled by religion and God knows what else.
Close
Migrant workers walking towards Farrukhabad and Sultanpur pause during a sudden dust storm, along NH24 near Indirapuram in New Delhi on May 10, 2020.(Ajay Aggarwal /HT PHOTO)
Migrant workers walking towards Farrukhabad and Sultanpur pause during a sudden dust storm, along NH24 near Indirapuram in New Delhi on May 10, 2020.(Ajay Aggarwal /HT PHOTO)

Hum-safar: Fellow Traveller a poem by Javed Akhtar. Watch video

By Javed Akhtar (Translated from the Urdu version by Rakhshanda Jalil) | Mumbai
UPDATED ON SEP 06, 2020 10:10 AM IST
Read the English translation and watch Javed Akhtar recite the original Urdu version of his poem Hum-safar about what the coronavirus lockdown meant to the poet and writer.
Close
English and Marathi writer Shanta Gokhale shares a story about a family during the coronavirus lockdown, and how a wife will stop at nothing to protect herself and her husband.(Shanta Gokhale)
English and Marathi writer Shanta Gokhale shares a story about a family during the coronavirus lockdown, and how a wife will stop at nothing to protect herself and her husband.(Shanta Gokhale)

A walk in the park

By Shanta Gokhale | Mumbai
UPDATED ON SEP 06, 2020 10:36 AM IST
English and Marathi writer Shanta Gokhale shares a story about a family during the coronavirus lockdown, and how a wife will stop at nothing to protect herself and her husband.
Close
Kamni has been working as a housekeeper in Haus Khas for almost 20 years.(Mayank Austen Soofi)
Kamni has been working as a housekeeper in Haus Khas for almost 20 years.(Mayank Austen Soofi)

Housekeeper of Hauz Khas

By Mayank Austen Soofi | Hindustan Times, Delhi
UPDATED ON SEP 06, 2020 04:46 PM IST
For 20 years, Kamni has been working as a housekeeper to scores of one-room pads in Hauz Khas Village, rented mostly by single people pursuing all sorts of occupations. Most of her employers went back home after the Covid-19-triggered lockdown started, because of job losses or salary cuts, leaving Kamni with less income.
Close
Photograph clicked by Sooni Taraporevala
Photograph clicked by Sooni Taraporevala

Our need for human connection stays

By Sooni Taraporevala | Hindustan Times, Mumbai
UPDATED ON SEP 06, 2020 10:35 AM IST
Mumbai chronicler Sooni Taraporevala writes about Mumbai during lockdown, “I took myself to the sea that has been part of my childhood and adult years — whether it was zipping down Marine Drive on the back of my dad’s scooter or photographing Parsis at prayer on the day and month of Ava, the water divinity; for me, the sea fronts are the most iconic feature of our city.”
Close
The number of a vendor written on a blank number plate.(Mayank Austen Soofi)
The number of a vendor written on a blank number plate.(Mayank Austen Soofi)

Yellow Pages on Delhi’s walls: With the city shuttered amid Covid-19, vendors leave their phone numbers behind

By Mayank Austen Soofi | Hindustan Times, Delhi
UPDATED ON SEP 06, 2020 04:47 PM IST
When the markets shut down, when the Delhi Metro trains stopped running, and those who had the luxury of a house exiled themselves within it; when the sky regained its blue, the streets emptied out, and all stalls that had no shutter to pull down had to close too, some left their phone numbers behind.
Close
Jonaki Ray(Mayank Austen Soofi)
Jonaki Ray(Mayank Austen Soofi)

Her elegy to the ordinary: An IT professional’s ode to city life in coronavirus pandemic times

By Mayank Austen Soofi | Hindustan Times, Delhi
UPDATED ON SEP 06, 2020 04:45 PM IST
Jonaki Ray has a day job in an IT company, as a technical editor. She no longer has to commute to Noida to mark her office attendance — thank you, Coronavirus! — and wrote a pandemic-era city-life poem for these pages.
Close
Shops in Old Delhi’s Chatta Sheikh Mangloo(Mayank Austen Soofi)
Shops in Old Delhi’s Chatta Sheikh Mangloo(Mayank Austen Soofi)

Vowels of the street in Old Delhi’s Chatta Sheikh Mangloo

By Mayank Austen Soofi | Hindustan Times, Delhi
UPDATED ON SEP 06, 2020 04:13 PM IST
In Old Delhi’s Chatta Sheikh Mangloo, each door on the long winding street is marked with an ‘O’ or ‘E’ painted in yellow. While easing up the Coronavirus-triggered lockdown, the Delhi government had announced that shops could finally open for business on an “Odd-Even basis”, and that’s what the ‘O’s and ‘E’s allot.
Close
Kshetra Pal and his wife, Pushpa, hold Ramayan Paath virtually.(Mayank Austen Soofi)
Kshetra Pal and his wife, Pushpa, hold Ramayan Paath virtually.(Mayank Austen Soofi)

From choir to duet: Ramayan Paath in the times of coronavirus

By Mayank Austen Soofi | Hindustan Times, Delhi
UPDATED ON SEP 06, 2020 04:12 PM IST
Every July, Kshetra Pal and his wife, Pushpa, hold Ramayan Paath, a continuous 24-hour reading of the complete Ramcharitmanas, at their home in Ghaziabad. But how were they to do this during the Covid-19 pandemic when any gathering was deemed life threatening?
Close
Hindustan Times editor Sukumar Ranganathan presents five songs, all released in the past few months as the world grappled with a virus and a lockdown
Hindustan Times editor Sukumar Ranganathan presents five songs, all released in the past few months as the world grappled with a virus and a lockdown

A playlist to shake off the Covid blues

By Sukumar Ranganathan | Hindustan Times, Delhi
UPDATED ON SEP 04, 2020 08:12 PM IST
Hindustan Times editor Sukumar Ranganathan presents five songs, all released in the past few months as the world grappled with a virus and a lockdown
Close
The way the music industry has seen a rise with people demanding unique and soul-touching music, Harpreet decided to launch his own company called “Singhwithbenz”.
The way the music industry has seen a rise with people demanding unique and soul-touching music, Harpreet decided to launch his own company called “Singhwithbenz”.

Harpreet Singh is carving the Punjabi music and film industry with creative content

UPDATED ON AUG 10, 2020 06:11 PM IST
Harpreet Singh, has made his name synonymous with the Punjab music and film industry by becoming a renowned producer of the same.
Close
SHARE
Story Saved
OPEN APP