TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 10, 2009
Panchatantra - By the children, For the children.
The huge yellow curtains of Chowdiah Memorial hall opened and unfolded “Panchatantra”, the age old classic oft repeated for its high valued morals, by the Spastics Society of Karnataka (SSK) on the 5th of February 2009. The audience have witnessed several spectacular shows in the same auditorium, but what was it that made this one so special?
As two children playing bold narrators started off saying “Story telling has been our business...”, the last thing to occur would be the fact that all the confident kids on stage were children with special needs. And how about these special children being taught by children themselves?! The entire production was in fact conceived and implemented by the students of the Mallya Aditi International School whose spirit and zest was the driving force behind the success of the evening.
The Panchatantra (which is a nītiśāstra in Indian tradition), a treatise on political science and human conduct, through an interwoven series of colorful animal tales was more than apt a plot for children, with room for drama, humor and music. It was dedicated team effort for over a few months. At one end, the group from Mallya Aditi came up with the script, ideas for the props, music and costumes and at the other end, the teachers of SSK gave undivided support to implement the same. Only the teachers seemed to know how to wheedle out of each child the best of their potential. And they carried it out like a sworn mission!
My association started off with a casual visit to SSK to contribute in a small way and feel good to have put in my two pence worth input in it. The very first rehearsal i saw would just not fade in my memory. The scene was from the story “The Dove and the mice” which had a group of children breezing in singing “Flying...We are flying”. It took a while to actually take notice of their wheel chairs and crutches. The experience seems underplayed in a written article.
The week before the show, the school was filled with a flurry of activities. There were people busy with practices, costumes, props and zillion other things in various corners. It was commendable to see professionals volunteering with their skills in theatre, painting, etc. The excitement and enthusiasm of every child on the day of the show was a spectacle. It was the innocence in their hearts that made every performance so candid and the show beyond whoah!
Even in an uber busy routine, certain encounters belie your beliefs and question the very basics. Sometimes it is a loud clatter, sometimes an empty space and a knot in the stomach. At the risk of sounding clichéd, I have to say, these events make you stop & think and give the answers to how much responsibility one owes to those around us.
A bouquet of genuine smiles from the children, a small surge of contentment is what i took back home that day, as i gently hummed the simple tune from the finale of the show...Roo bab bab ri babba...Roobi rabba ri babba!