I was a ‘Bulbul’ and everyone who has been an integral part of ‘Cubs & Bulbuls’ knows that 22nd February is the celebration day for Lord Baden Powell’s birthday. It is called ‘Cubs and Bulbul Mahotsav’, always celebrated with utmost zeal and grate compassion. (Cubs & Bulbuls are ‘The Bharat Scouts and Guides’ under the age of 10)
The first opportunity I got to attend the Mahotsav and ‘Cubs & Bulbuls’ camp was when I was 9 years old and few of the Cubs and Bulbuls were selected for the regional camp to be conducted in Ujjain in February ending on 22nd. Now these are the camps which not only helps in building a concrete foundation of a child but also test it by putting them in real life challenging scenarios.
It commenced with flag hoisting followed by scout prayers and oath:
On my honour, I promise that I will do my best
To do my duty to God and my country,
To help other people at all times,
And to obey the Scout/Guide Law.
Then we were informed about the various good work done by our scouts followed by B.P. Six exercise. Cubs masters informed the students about the importance of cubs and bulbuls and their need in the present day scenario. Those were the reasons I became ‘Bulbul’ at the first place. Then we were enlightened about the aims and laws of scouts and various activities carried out by scouts and guides.
It was a three-day camp with numerous activities. Each day we would have sessions of various activities and competition were organized such as Rangoli competition & Painting competition, Slogan writing competition, One act play, athletics, Extempore speech etc. And one thing was common in all those competitions, it must reflect our learning, our loyalty, our integrity.
And the best part was the camp food because we used to cook it ourselves, we even brought our own utensils and after eating we used to wash it. I believe none of us ever washed any dish before in our lives. That community food eating was not just about having your own food but about sharing our food. Each day Masters would introduce a drill for us Cubs and Bulbuls to deal with. I remember it was the second day, while we were having lunch. As soon as I filled my plate and moved forward to take my place I heard a small voice of a child, in dirty tattered clothes , asking one of the Bulbul Masters for food. She looked at him, I could sense the compassion in her eyes but I believe she was abided by the laws of ‘scouts and guides’ when she told him that he can’t have it before all the kids of the camp eats. Many of us have stopped to see what was going on, that kid nodded in understanding and started to move aside to wait for us to finish our community lunch. I couldn’t bring myself to move from that spot I was standing. I was confused, we were always taught to let others eat before us and this kid looked scrawny, I respect our masters hence I couldn’t do something against their wish but then I noticed Bulbul master’s eyes were still on that child and I knew I won’t be punished if I moved forward. I approached that child looking at the Master’s eyes a bit hesitantly, when she didn’t react I approached freely, he looked younger then the very 9 years old me, and offered my plate that’s when few other Masters came to demand an explanation. Well I won’t lie, I was scared for a moment because abiding by the laws was the first thing were taught and I didn’t want to be the one who broke it but in my heart I knew I was doing the right thing, in fact we vowed to ‘Do our best’ (Cubs/Bulbul Motto). Always. So I just honestly said ‘A Scout/Guide is pure in thought, word and deed.’ and it was the most purest thing to do. And suddenly I felt soft hands hugging me, it belonged to one of my camps Bulbul Master, She told me I did the right thing, apparently getting special a badge for ‘showing outstanding compassion on field‘ was an honorable thing not only for a cubs but also for their respective master and school. And I passed that test with ‘flying colors’ (quoting my camp master).
I won’t say I showed any outstanding compassion but did what any of us would have done only difference was I didn’t wait to seek my master’s permission first before doing my deed and that was the main aim of the whole drill. To learn how to be sure about ourselves, know it’s pure in our thought, word and deed. To be able to make the right decision and do it, knowing in your heart that it won’t hurt anyone, will not break any law and most importantly help someone or even save a life in some situations because that’s where cubs Bulbuls comes in the society, to help and save, to do their best.
“Yes it is important to seek your master’s permission first, or the permission of your elders but in life sometimes we are needed to make the decision on our own in a dire situation where seeking permission could delay the rescue.” The Principal sir of Ujjain KV said before pinning the badge on me.
There was a construction work going around the school premises we were staying in and that hungry child was one of them hence our camp decided to cook for them, albeit being a child myself I only peeled potatoes and onions, still that feeling of being a part of something so noble, cooking for hungry bellies was priceless, I learnt the pure bliss of giving something without expecting anything in return. Every face around me was jubilant and that enthusiasm cheered up those children as well. We served them in our own camps.
Third day we marched the grand parade and I was given the golden opportunity to lead, I still can’t express how humbled and ecstatic I was by that opportunity. I know that most of us would have done the same as I did, I just believe it was my day.
Again during the parade we found an injured dog by the road side and few Cubs and Bulbuls stepped out to help that stray dog, no one distorted the parade as it was in the honor of Lord Baden Powell on 22nd February, only those who were near to that dog stepped out, rest of us had faith and trusted that they would step out to help and they did. That’s when the whole camp and each drill became a success. We learnt to trust, to show compassion, show kindness and most importantly to believe in ourselves and others around us.
The same day we had camp fire and bunch load of fun. Club masters shared their stories from their first camp. I am glad that I too got my first camp bulbul story that I just shared with you.