Giggles because of jiggles? Every weekend, a group of girls would get together and push one from the gang to take centre stage and break into a jig. “I was never a great dancer but I would go to the centre and shake a leg. The others would laugh and clap on seeing me. Some would also imitate my moves,” recalls R. Saranya who lived and studied in the Swami Dayananda AIM for Seva Chatralayam for Girls (Senior), Sembangudi, Tiruvarur, Tamil Nadu. The hostel is currently home to 24 girls.
Chatralayam days were certainly fun filled for Saranya who is now working with Wipro in Bangalore. We are proud to share that she is also simultaneously pursuing a M.Tech degree from WiSTA (Wipro Software Technology Academy). WiSTA offers an off-campus collaborative M.Tech programme with VIT (Vellore Institute of Technology) offering the best IT platform, soft skills and live project exposure. Saranya and her twin sister came to our Chatralayam in 2012. Both of them got admission into the BSc. (Computer Science) programme at the Swami Dayananda College of Arts & Science, Manjakkudi. Saranya lost her father who worked as a bus conductor with a private fleet in 2008. She came to know about our educational projects in Manjakkudi through her maternal aunt who was working in City Union Bank, Manjakkudi.
Around the same time, a vacancy for the post of the hostel warden cropped up at the Sembangudi (Senior Girls) Chatralayam. Saranya’s mother took on that role and from then onwards, there was no looking back. “My single biggest learning from being in the Chatralayam set-up was discipline and personal hygiene.”
Saranya has other fond memories of her hostel years. “We had girls from across India, coming from in different geographies, communities and there was so much diversity. But we all lived, studied and had loads of fun under one roof. During weekends, we never wasted time taking a nap during afternoons. Our energies were spent in playing carrom and other games. It was sheer fun,” she remembers.
Apart from developing friendships, being focused and disciplined, Saranya realised the importance of water conservation during her Chatralayam years. “There was an acute water shortage in the hostel campus in 2012. We use to get water from the hand pump located in the backyard of the Chatralayam. At that time, I realised that every drop of water was precious and nothing should be wasted.” Subsequently, a new water pump was installed in the premises.
“Even though I was away from home, the Chatralayam became my home from 2012 to 2015 and Sembangudi’s association to music is well known. I am happy to have lived and pursued my education from such a cultural place,” concludes Saranya.