It was the simplest of ideas. A flashbulb moment if you will. To think outside the box. To shift the focus a little.
We, as a team, are forever obsessed with our children (and proudly so!!). All our efforts are directed towards them. Yet this time, we decided to look beyond and put our parents and well-wishers on the spotlight. This was a chance for all those who were behind the scenes to take centre stage. Be it the parents of our volunteers who have supported them in their MADDening journey, the donors and sponsors who keep us going or our well-wishers without whose blessings and support, we would have been just another NGO…
This day was for them. Our very first MADD Parents’ Day Out….
It was a hard day’s night….
First things first…the preparations…The idea was to bring forth the months of hard work that had gone into MAD in front of our audience. We wanted to showcase the feats of our brilliant kids and make our well wishers as proud of them as we were. The children were super excited (as always!!) and enthusiastically got down to getting their hands dirty!! Beautiful cards were created in a matter of hours to greet and thank all who would come the next day….The volunteers were awestruck at the creativity and imagination of these little wonders….
And I knew if I had my chance, that I could make those people dance, and maybe they’d be happy for a while
While the greeting cards were being made, in a different part of Arya Anathalaya (the orphanage where the event was to be held), some kids were busy preparing a Christmas carol for all to enjoy and relish…and still others were engaged in putting up a skit and speeches in English for the audience…
The kids were very particular about putting up the whole show in English so that they could demonstrate the results of all the MAD classes in the last few months…
Some days just drop in on us.
Some days are better than others….
Finally, it was December 28th. It was a bright sunny Sunday (which is quite a blessing in the Delhi winters). The event was to start at 2. The volunteers reached the orphanage early morning to go through one last rehearsal with the kids. There was a cool breeze outside and butterflies in the stomach…The excitement was almost tangible…The kids could not wait to get started….
The guests started tricking in at around 2….The venue was the Arya Anathalaya library….The projector was set up. The laptop connected…The chairs were soon occupied and then, suddenly, the lights went off….
Well, that was supposed to happen… :)
We started with the MAD presentation. It gave a brief idea about who we are and what we do…We went over the basic premises of MAD’s existence, the plight of the underprivileged kids across the nation, the need for a respite…our inception and journey so far…The presentation was informative and precise and made quite an impact on the audience…
Lend me your ears and I’ll sing you a song
And I’ll try not to sing out of key …
After the presentation, the stars of the show took over!!! One after another, the kids came on and blew the audience away with the brilliant performances….be it a mime skit, the melodious Christmas carol from the little girls or the monologues in English, all the performances drew appreciation and a thunder of applause from the enthralled audience…By the end of it, the kids forgot their initial nervousness and started enjoying their performance too!!! So much so, that we saw a double performance of ‘Pappu can’t dance’….Clearly, the day was a huge success…..
All you need is love….
The next piece was a moving video made by one of our volunteers about the MAD Delhi journey….It highlighted beautifully the trials and joys of the 9 months we had left behind…The pictures of the orphanage, the kids and the volunteers caught in moments of joy, love, ecstasy and sheer madness left us all speechless!!!
Some days it all adds up
And what you’ve got is enough….
The event was brought to an end by a guided tour across the orphanage for all our parents, patrons and well-wishers….It was our chance to take them across the stairs and desks that become a part of our lives for just 2 hours a week but leave an impact which lasts much longer…..These walls meant much more to us than brick and mortar…it echoed of laughter and songs, smelled of birthday cakes and fudge. They spoke to us of beautiful times…and now it was time for them to whisper of those beautiful moments to a larger audience…..
Smells like teen spirit….
Next came the feedback session…The house was open for anybody who wished to voice their opinion about MAD and the work we do….Our very first participant was none other than a parent!!! It was very encouraging to see that we had generated such a great deal of enthusiasm for MAD and we were honored to have received our first potential volunteer query from the parent of an existing volunteer!!!
This was followed by a series feedback from our volunteers, who expressed their experience about MAD. They shared some wonderful memories with all of us and the genuine passion for the organization was palpable from all their voices….The heartfelt joy that these kids give us was very evident from the feedback session and left the audience craving for more….
I believe in a celebration
I believe we can be free
I believe you can lose these chains
I believe you can dance with me, dance with me
And what better way to celebrate than leave an imprint of our presence and the fun we had!!! It was with such a thought that we set up a collage board for our audience. After refreshments, everyone was asked to pen down their thoughts and views about the day..… I think it’s only fair to let the pictures do the talking here….
PS: Special thanks to Don McLean, U2, The Beatles, Nirvana and Pink Floyd for pre-empting the most appropriate headers for this blog with such precision!!