It was Saturday and that meant only a half day (10km) of walking.
A Saksham representative was due to meet us further along the road when we neared the village of Chimakurthy. I had arranged with him over the last few days for Bobby to make a speech in front of students in the BVSR Engineering College in the village.
We stopped outside a petrol station just before the village and were met by the representative who directed us to the college.
We parked outside the gates while Bobby and I went inside to announce our arrival. We were told it would take a short while to assemble the students within the main hall so Bobby and I returned to the Walkmobile for breakfast while we waited to be called in.
It was around 1pm when Bobby and I entered the hall to be greeted by 250 of the college’s engineering students. We were introduced by a member of staff and Bobby gave a speech on his history of charitable work, the walk and the causes we were supporting. He then expanded on Saksham’s initiatives on organ donation, especial corneas. Bobby ended by stressing the importance of learning languages to broaden their horizons.
I then took to the stage and stated by asking the students to excuse me while I finished my crisps and then took a drink of water from a water bottle, throwing both the crisp packet and the empty bottle on the floor when I was finished. This started my speech on litter and the importance of keeping India clean. I moved on to talk about my history and why I have immersed myself in charitable endeavours. I stressed the need for helping others and expanded on Bobby’s talk regarding communication. I ended my speech by encouraging the students to develop individual personalities and to nurture their creativity.
The talk was very well received by the students with many of them staying afterwards to ask questions and have photographs taken.
When it was time to go, the college had arranged for the Walkmobile to be driven next door where a guest house was located in the grounds of the college owner’s granite factory.
Enormous blocks of mined granite weighing tens of tons were constantly being delivered by trucks. These where hoisted into the main factory building for shaping and cutting.
Bobby and I both freshened up and we later relaxed on the balcony asking both Rahim and Satinder to join us while we had lunch together.
Throughout the day a steady stream of students who had attended the talks and some of those who were unable to attend but had heard of the talks, came to the Walkmobile to chant and take pictures.
The chairmand and owner of the college, Mr Buchepalli Subbareddy arrived at the campus in the evening and we met with him. We discussed the earlier talk with the students and we learned that he had funded the building of the college in 2008 from the profits of his granite business and it is still maintained privately by him.
He could have built it is a richer and more populous area but had decided to build it in the village to give that section of the community a chance to study further. We found his attitude very refreshing and commended him on what he had achieved.
The day ended on a relaxed note as we prepared for bed knowing that the next day was Sunday and that meant a day of rest.
I went to sleep dreaming of balcony views in the sun.