My Sundays have always been a day of repose; a day when the magnitude of my laziness is just on a par with Bruno Mars’.
But the last few weeks, it has been different! It has been crazy!! It has been MAD!! I’ve been mapped to SISTWA, Chennai and I believe that the kids there are the naughtiest angels on earth :) MAD and the kids make me look forward to every Sunday because the happiness and fun that accompanies it is invaluable. .
During a casual chat, Divya Murali, one of my co-volunteers, suggested we do something on Independence Day that would be exciting and crazy, but at the same time, teach the kids the significance of the glorious day.
Caught up with some work, I couldn’t really sit and plan the entire programme and put it all down in paper and suddently.. It was 14th August.
I had my hopes high for this day all through the week and no matter what, this day was meant to be celebrated and had to be.
All I had to do was bug my volunteers early in the morning and tell them to revitalize their creative juices. The PLAN was to come with some activity related to Independence Day- it could be anything.. a song, skit etc., and to prepare the kids for it in the first 1 and a half hours, after which each group would present it.
That’s it?? What could make it even more exciting?? Telling the kids that it’s a competition and that chocolate bars are in store for the winners :D
Classes usually start at 9 in my center. The volunteers and the kids were all geared up and in a few minutes, all the teams set out to work.
After the kids settled down, I asked them if they knew what the speciality of the next day was and all of them replied “sudhandhira dhinam” in chorus.
But little did they know what that really meant. So the initial step was to explain to the kids the importance of the day and to introduce to them a few freedom fighters. After giving them an hour long animated explanation on the freedom struggle, I realized that the kids were growing impatient and what really mattered to them was the competition and the prize.
So I spent the next 30 minutes singing to them teaching them our national song, Vande Mataram. I began with the lyrics, its pronunciation, the tune and then the singing part of it.
Earlier that morning, when my mom heard me practice that song, she had said that the song would scare the kids because of its unfamiliar lyrics. But it was amazing to see how quickly and effortlessly the kids picked it up.
It was 10.30 and all the volunteers along with their teams assembled in a classroom. One of the volunteers, Vivek, consented to be the judge for the competition. The programme kick-started with a ski,t followed by an array of talent display by the children.
It started with Team Dhoni (mentored by Divya) whipping up a short and crisp play about the freedom fighter Veerapandiya Kattabomman and was followed by another inspiring dance-drama by the Dragon Boosters team (mentored by Pradeep).
Teams Fantastic 5 and Transformers were mentored by Sebon and Akshay jointly and the children put up an amazingly energetic play (which involved sword fighting et all ) and the event concluded with Chennai Super Kings (mentored by yours truly) singing Vande Matharam.
The energy and enthusiasm of the kids was almost palpable! We witnessed what could be otherwise termed exuberant. The kids displayed their best and in the end, Team Dhoni came in first!
Yeah.. that wasn’t my team, but we did rock \m/
Later, we wound up the day’s activities by distributing the sweets to all the kids.
The entire programme was unplanned.. Yes it was spontaneous!! Yet, the impromptu Independence Day activity did turn out to be one of the most fun-filled and memorable days :-)
– Bonnie Jose Poovelil