15 August, 2011
I was definitely nervous, but more excited when I walked in through the gates of Jayamatha Boys’ Home today. It was my first day along with various others as a MADster meeting our kids.
The moment I stepped into their turf, I had questions shot at me from all around ‘hw ya doin chechi?’ ‘whats your name chechi?’
These kids were a lot smarter and less shy than I thought and I could see myself being intimidated all so soon… But on the contrary, they instantly made us all feel at home and super comfortable.
One thing I wouldn’t deny is, though they were a bunch of naughty cute devils, not a moment did any of them show the slightest hint of disrespect to any of us . They seemed all too happy to have us there and were ready to listen to our ideas for the day.
Not many of us actually believed our plans were going to work. Because,the idea was to let the kids enact certain excerpts from our struggle for freedom. Now we all know how much of an actual struggle it is for us to present an ‘okay’ drama on stage, with all those hours put in for the script , casting and most importantly the practice itself.
Imagine making these kids to do all that! Anyway, we just went for it. There was the arrival of the British, the first war for independence, champaran movement, dandhi march, quit India movt. , jallianwala bagh, tales of bhagat singh and a few other topics which put me to sleep (charged guilty) back when we had history classes.
Casting was the fun part ”Who wants to be Bhagat Singh?” ,”Me !” ”Me!” ”Me!”..”Do you know who Bhagat Singh is?”
“umm… I think he should be Bhagat Singh” .
After a rather detailed description on the topic,which was more of a storytelling , for which our kids were surprisingly interested and attentive, came the even more fun part : practice.
The kids have so much more calibre than most of us had at their age. I was awed by the strength and spirit with which they spoke out their dialogues. Such expression, and so much energy, as if they could relate to the freedom struggle at some level.
We could see all their giggles and laughs when it came to performing the action sequences, not wasting any opportunity to have fun .The fact that they learned all their dialogues and scenes in just above an hour was unbelievable. It was way easier than I expected it to be,thanks to the boys.
The screening of all the ten proud groups was just legen…dary !! The acts were all in order of their dates and it wove the storyline to give a compact film on our freedom struggle.
So much was taught and learnt in so less time. We were all students there .And it pretty much compensated for all the hours I slept in history class. What is even better is that our teachers were little men with kajal-mustaches, paper guns and newspaper hats.
The drama was wound up with thundering applauses and candy distribution. Towards the end of the day our boys made a beautiful National flag using chartpaper, paint and their handprints.
And it was already time to wind up for the day with a group photo to capture the memorable day. Hard to believe all this happened in a matter of 3 hours.
At the end of the day, we like to believe that all of us returned to bed a little more patriotic, a little less ignorant and with lot more friends.
Sapna Fathima Saleem