A thick layer of fog hangs over the paddy fields. Cows languidly ruminate watching the smiling faces of children frolicking in the gush of water being pumped out from the well. As the sun beats down on them, farm hands break into a rhapsody to break drudgery. The tunes waft across the place like undulating waves. As if in competition, birds chirp. Farmers return home with the crop stacked up in the carts, along the narrow pathways as the sun sinks into the horizon. The rhythmic sounds of the cart-bells and hooves of the cows raise a haze of dust into the air as men and animals reach home. Isn’t the scene etched out clearly in our minds ? Don’t these images spring into life in front of our eyes wherever we are and in whichever part of the globe. Everything about the good old school is mesmerizing if not intoxicating. The memories are forever fresh, forever throbbing with life in all of us. Indeed, school is the beginning of our journey into the outside world. It is here that our futures are shaped. In rich tradition and with the true spirit of the “Guru Kula” school of thought, took birth in 1971, our school – the Andhra Pradesh Residential School at SARVAIL, a far flung village in Nalgonda district. And it wasn’t an easy one. It required a burning desire to spread the essence of education, the benevolence and large heartedness of a true Gandhi an and Sarvodaya leader of the region for the dream to be realized. The man was Maddi Narayana Reddy, who came forward to donate liberally for the school. He donated 44 acres of land and a building annex in SARVAIL village for the school. In no time, the pastoral turned into a center for education in the Telengana region. It was a place for thousands of parents in this economically, educationally and politically backward region to look forward to educating their children. Here was one center of academic excellence lifting an entire generation from the darkness of illiteracy to the bright world of opportunities which lay beyond the sleepy hamlet of SARVAIL. Nearly, three decades later, the seeds have borne fruit. The dreams of many a parent have been translated into reality. Students who scampered around the school campus in shorts, rendering the verses full throated in the daily assembly, savouring Raju’s delightful “kichdi” in the dining hall, enjoying a nap while escaping from the prying eyes of teachers in the evening prep, running all over the sprawling playground into the rushing wind and yes, looking in awe at the imposing “Saraswathi” idol, are today masters of their destiny. Some have become doctors, some engineers, some chose innovative fields and some others became teachers trying to replicate the good work of their old teachers, who shaped their future and all have stood firmly on their feet. But at heart, they are all Sarvalians. Today, tomorrow and forever. The endeavour continues. The spirit is the same, so is the purpose, spreading the beacon light of education, let the spirit of SARVAIL last long. And longer.
Contributed by: R. Ravikanth Reddy, Special Correspondent, The Hindu