By Pooja Haria
After weeks of constant planning and re-planning AND re-planning AGAIN, the weekend of the carnival finally arrived,Saturday was a tremendously hectic day, starting off with just a handful of us trying to turn, as Rhea puts it, ‘a boring auditorium into a crazy carnival.’
Ideas of turning empty cardboard boxes into robotic clowns led to fun photo-booth cowboy/cowgirl cut out for the kids. As more volunteers joined us, we saw a bunch of crazy coloured clowns, elephants, stick dolls, balloons and streamers popping up and adorning the auditorium.
By the end of it, we felt that the kids’ fairy god mother waved her magic wand to transform the dull lifeless auditorium into a magical world of fun and games and this fairy god mother I’d say was Naveen – for all the MADsters can agree that it was his hard work that set an example for all of us too. After a long day of hard work we returned home, excited and nervous for the day to follow.
As I walked into the auditorium on Sunday, I felt I’d stepped into a world of chaos. Volunteers could be seen running around trying their best to sort out everything last minute. A giant snakes and ladders for the kids, a tattoo stall, a science experiment stall, a photo-booth, games such as ‘Formula 1’, ‘Kill the clown’, ‘Hat me’ and many more were being set up! I couldn’t believe that this was finally happening and we were actually gonna pull this off.
Finally, the kids were brought in – and it all started. Six to eight batches of kids, all given different activities. If one stood there watching everything in slow motion, they would notice a bunch of kids taken to the playground to play a whole variety of sports, another horde into the auditorium – their faces lighting up looking at the way the entire place had been transformed, a range of games for them to play, another set being taken into various classrooms to learn from a multitude of workshops that included dancing, singing, glass painting, beat boxing and fashion show and the final batch being taken to watch different animated films!
We on the other hand, could NOT stand watch this in slow motion for it was up to us to get this carnival going.
Running from one end to the other, gathering up the kids, screaming, dancing, singing – ANYTHING to get their attention, teaching them various things and making sure they enjoy the carnival of a lifetime is what WE had to do. I’m not complaining, not at all… I LOVED every single minute of it, if not more than the kids, then at least as much as they did.
The day passed us by in such a mad rush, before we knew it – it was time to put up the show! Rajesh asked me to host the presentation we had, by the kids (for the kids) and I can’t say that I wasn’t pleased that I had the chance to do so!
We started with the ‘MAD-boxers’ headed by Prateek and we REALLY could not believe our ears!
The kids were beat boxing and HOW! They were followed by the glass paintings where we saw a child show us a painting of a dragon he had done all by himself and I was surprised with the talent that I saw overflowing from the kids headed by Madhav!
The singers – Oh what a DELIGHT they were! Apparently one could hear them humming the tune to ‘The Lion Sleeps Tonight’ and the ‘Waving Flag’ as they played their carnival games too!
Sheela, Arundhati, Alan and myself took pride in saying they were ‘our kids’! The dancers, OH MY GOD! Little Micheal Jacksons and Shakiras rocked the stage to Waka Waka, a dance taught to them by Sithanshu and Sonia. Aisha, Shoaib and Mayank put together a mind blowing fashion show that was the grand finale of the entire carnival.
This turned out to be one of MY personal favourite days of my life, a story I’m going to recount to my kids! The excitement I saw in the eyes of the children, the joy that lit up their faces, the nervousness when they learnt a new song or a dance but the pride they felt when they performed on stage in front of their peers – THIS, exactly THIS is what gave me that warm fuzzy feeling people talk about when they feel extreme happiness.
The carnival didn’t follow half the rules or plans that we had set, but that is the reason it turned out to be ONE HUGE SUCCESS!