A little about yourself (origin, education, past work experiences)
I am Suriyanath from ‘Singaara Chennai’. I commenced my schooling at CSI Ewart matriculation higher secondary school, and graduated at Kannada Sangha higher secondary school. My passion towards practical learning led me to pursue a Diploma in Electronics & Communication at Murugappa Polytechnic College as a Lateral entry. Then, with an intention to delve deeper into electronics, I joined Engineering at SSN College of Engineering. I cannot simply express my gratitude towards my parents, for the tribulations they encountered to provide me with quality education from premium institutes, which indeed fueled my career in an R&D firm of Alcatel-Lucent, which is now Nokia. My hobbies comprise of a long, dynamic list with its contents defined by my whims. This is reinforced by my belief in the principle, “Do what you love and Love what you do”
How did volunteering with Bhumi happen (including beginning, which project you volunteered for)?
While on a casual solitary walk at Broadway (a Commercial wholesale hub in Chennai), I felt belittled upon noticing families on the street sides, devoid of proper clothing or hygiene. I felt an instant urge to do my bit towards eliminating poverty in the society. Then, on further introspection, I understood that poverty was a direct consequence of illiteracy, which could only be eradicated if intervened at the genesis. This sparked in me the thought of volunteering. My college mate, Nithin, who had once mentioned that he was a part of Bhumi, an organization that encouraged volunteers to educate kids, inspired me to join hands with the same. I instantly made a phone call, and attended orientation on the very next day. I feel grateful for that kindling walk at Broadway.
My zeal for science and the awareness of my competence in the same led me to join Bhumi as an LES (Little Einsteins Science) volunteer in November 2014. I could only teach very little in LES as it was the end of the year, and was excited to be a part of the Eureka science exhibition where I mentored two projects. Subsequently, I embarked on a new project on robotics, an initiative by Dwengo, and funded by Google, that accepted interested volunteers from LES including myself. My past experience and passion towards electronics make my services apt for the robotics team, which is Yantra.
What change did these experiences bring in your life? How has Bhumi altered you, personally?
I never thought that volunteering would be so exciting. I was under the misconception that volunteering corresponded to making sacrifices for one’s satisfaction. Post my experiences as a volunteer, my perception of volunteering drastically changed, and I came to realize that it was an act of pure bliss, and not of sacrifice. I was trained by Ms. Baish to train fellow volunteers, which made me feel more responsible than regular volunteering did. I started empathizing with the kids as well as the volunteers, which truly helped me make mature decisions in life. With regards to personality development, I, an instinctively reticent person, was morphed into being highly sociable and extroverted.
One most memorable incident in your life as a Bhumian.
It is really tough to pin down just one incident. Life as a Bhumian is, in itself, ONE BIG incident, which includes teaching naughty kids, striving hard to bring up the disinterested ones, and dealing with the curious ones. With regards to the volunteers, I have had immense fun touring the city, devouring street-food, with ten of us squabbling over one Dosa being the most hilarious incident.
Tell us about one Bhumian, who you think is a very good inspiration for you
I do not wish to pin point, as I believe that every volunteer joins hands with Bhumi with the intention of initiating a change today which would in turn lead to a better tomorrow. Hence, each and every volunteer is an inspiration to me. But to be specific with regards to the question, I would say that I was inspired by three Bhumians. They are none other than the founders of Bhumi – Mr. Ayyanar E, Mr. Hari Sankar, and Dr.Prahalathan – who persevered to bring about the much needed change to society.
Any specific, special moment with kids or volunteers you would like to share with us?
Being with kids is always special, and is even more special when we behold the achievements of kids trained and nurtured by us. The Yantra kids excelling in various competitions have always escalated me to cloud nine. The shared elation of the volunteers during such occasions shall always remain special to me.
A message to every volunteer at Bhumi?
“Happiness is real only when shared”. I believe that volunteering gives you salvation similar to meditation. I also advise my fellow volunteers to live their life to the fullest.