November 14, 2009 was probably the best children’s day of my life!
Since Children’s Day fell on a Saturday this year, we decided to make it special for our kids. With two of our centres having other programs on the day, the third – Baalikashram – was chosen for the celebrations.
It actually began a bit awkwardly as the children were waiting for us but no one knew how to initiate the programme. Then we decided to begin by introducing to the children the MAD volunteers who didn’t teach in Baalikashram.
We played several games with the children. First we had a scavenger hunt prepared for them and they had to find a list of objects like leaves, book, pen, etc. While they were hunting for the items, we scattered pieces of ribbon of different colours in the adjoining rooms. After each team had completed the hunt they were given a piece of ribbon of a particular colour and their job was to hunt remaining pieces of the same colour and then tie all the pieces together. The teams to finish first and to have the longest chain of ribbons were declared as winners.
Then we had the mad hatter game, where we made them sit in a circle and placed four hats/caps on random children’s heads. Once the music started the caps had to be placed on the head of the person to their left so that it would move in a clockwise direction (kind of like passing the parcel). When the music stopped, we picked a chit which would either say ‘cap’, ‘left’ or ‘right’. If it was ‘cap’ the children wearing the caps would be out. If it said ‘left’ the ones to the left of the person wearing the cap would be out and ‘right’ would mean ones on the right would be out. The games were noisy, chaotic, competitive and a lot of fun!
We also gave them a picture story book each and chocolates and a certificate as gifts. The winners of each game got a pencil box.
Some of the children had gone to put up a performance at a nearby place and they missed most of our programme but after coming back they repeated their performances for us, two small dances, and it was extremely adorable.
One moment that caused a slight pang in my heart was when one of my kids came up to me and asked if this was the last time we were coming there. The celebration and the gifts must have thrown her off into thinking it was some kind of a finale, but I managed to convince her that we would be coming back. The kind of joy I saw on her face upon hearing that was better than anything else!
Our children had requested that we wear saree (the baalikashram volunteers), I had tried to dissuade them somehow but they were adamant! They kept saying “Teacher seere haki kondu banni, chanda kanti” roughly translated it means “teacher wear saree and come you’ll look beautiful”. Now when they cling to your hand and keep asking over and over again how can you possibly refuse? :-) And that’s how we ended up awkwardly catching our sarees as we walked and not wanting to move too much once we got there. But all that awkwardness was gone when the time came to dance. Now I’m not a dancer and I have never danced in front of an audience but my children kept requesting me to and I thought what the hell? The whole programme had pumped me up and I ended up dancing with my group of kids and the best part was when they mimicked every stupid step I did even if I kept repeating it a million times, and one can hardly move freely in a saree when not accustomed to it so I did what I had to do and hitched it up and tucked it in! And I danced like never before and it was tremendously exhilarating! I think I even shocked quite a few of my fellow maddies who probably did not expect to see that side of me. ;)
But being with the children helps bring out the child in you, and that is not a bad thing. In a world where competition is high and all one cares about is making it through we sometimes forget what it’s like to let go of restraints. My kids help me do that and it makes a hell lot of difference to me!