Day 15- 24th June
Today we were supposed to meet early so we could formulate a script, atleast in skeleton form that we could start working on when we get to Wadala. We were very happy to write down a script that incorporated all the problems we wanted to portray and thought we had written it down in the simplest form so its easy to understand for the kids. We planned all along the way, in the car and had our script ready.
When we got to the school the kids had been writing and learning Hindi alphabets and words. They all showed us their books that had words that had been neatly written over and over again. Then Juhi decided to go through the whole script with gayathri teacher. At this point the kids were a little restless and so I asked Zohar if she could suggest a game that we could play to keep them occupied. Zohar did think of a gaem and then we got into a circle to start. The rules of the game were that there is one prson who goes way to corner and there is a leader in the rest of kids in the circle who keeps making some actions that the group is supposed to follow. When the person whose turn it is comes back, he/she has to guess who the leader is. Yes, complicated. And only the start of mess. The biggest change today was that earlier when we played something we had to get the kids to come out and volunteer being leaders and keep encouraging them. TODAY was wayyy different. EVERYONE wanted to be a leader. Actually, not everyone. Some kids just remained quiet as always. But a whole lot of them were jumping about and of course fighting. It was definitely a goo thing they all wanted to be a part of it but I just couldn’t handle all the fighting and jumping. We then started to play the January-february-months-clapping game. By this time Juhi was done with Gayathriji and we all got into the circle. At this point, the kids started fighting with each other to hold my hand. I wasn’t even sure if they wanted to hold my hand. It seemed like they just wanted to fight for the sake of fighting. At one point I stood with my hands on my head. Cause I didn’t know whose hands to hold and my hands actually hurt from being pulled by everyone. I went and held Zohar’s hand and then saw that Heena looked really sad and was looking at me. I then went and held her hand and stood in the circle. We did the wave thing around the circle cause the kids wanted to. Then we picked out the main actors of the play. Juhi and me went to one side to start working with the older children (main characters). Gayathri teacher made all the little kids sit down and learn the song “ dariya ki kasam, maujo ki kasam, ye tana bana badlega…. Tu khud ko badal, tu khud ko badal.. tabhi to zamana badlega.” They really seemd to pick up fast from what I over heard. After a few minutes, Gayathri teacher just disappeared. The little children were ALL OVER THE PLACE. Jumping, shouting, swinging, fighting. Then as Juhi tried to get the play done, Zohar and me decided we could engage the small kids with coloring to make invitations to the play. I made them all sit down in a circle. Handed out paper and stationary and got them to start coloring. It was all happening very nicely. Then problems stated coming up. Fighting for colors, for paper for everything. Someone’s paper tore. Someone’s pens didn’t work. Someone had too many crayons. Everyone wanted his or her way. Gangadhar and Devi (from AID) came to the center at this point. As they sat down and watched I was having a hard time telling the kids what to do, answering their questions and trying to find more colors when I had two kids on either side of me and one on my back. They then had recess. I played games with Asheep who had come and told me that he wanted to do so. That was the only part of the day I enjoyed. We got into the circle and tried to do the clapping with the singing. It didn’t work at all. The only day that Gangadhar had come to watch. These kids seemed to have no clue what they were doing or why? After that, more kids wanted to draw, some who should be practicing the play all excited to draw. Some kids wanting more paper to draw for the second time. Some others trying to get the most crayons. Some throwing the caps of the colors all over. One creating a tower of pen caps. PHEW. I don’t think I ever get so fed up with kids. But this was probably the first time. I didn’t want to be there. I just wanted to go away. Then Juhi started calling all the kids to a circle and I collected all the drawings from them. And just sat quietly. Having no clue what to do. Gayathri teacher was missing all this while. Juhi gave them a lecture and made them think about what they were doing. She said a lot of things to motivate them to work and do something and listen. I could see she was losing her voice/patience/sanity. I wanted to help but I couldn’t think of anything to do. When they all got up again it seemed like the talk had helped a little. But then they all went back to jumping and shouting. Juhi was asking if we could just finish off early for today. I was thinking the same. I didn’t mind playing a game and not thinking about the play. But I didn’t have any hope that it would go well. Gayathri teacher came back at this point. When all the kids had left, the three of us went into a CRAZY fit of giggles. We had seriously lost it. To add to everything, while walking down from the centre this girl who had her face painted pink for some reason THREW A CHICKEN ON ME!!!!! She thought it was a game. IT WAS NOT FUNNY even though I laughed. I was really scared of that chicken. And when that kid was throwing it at me all I wanted was to go home RIGHT THEN! We were depressed, negative, fed-up, needed help, lost, worried about how we had such less time and tired beyond imagination.
Then we went to Juhi’s grandmom’s house to meet Manjul. Hoping for some advice and help in this situation. The meeting started off with reflecting our thoughts and experience for the day. Then Manjul went into some analogies and spoke a lot and made us think. When he told us to write down what he thought he was saying, my thoughts were-
Not to be worried about the final product/performance
Believe in ourselves and appreciate what we have already done
Think like the children and not about how we think the performance should be
I really doubted how much we have actually done. I felt the change in me but I wasn’t sure if there really was a change in the children. But Manjul assured us of the change and made me see it. After this I was lost for rest of the conversation. Had no clue what everyone was talking about and too tired to attempt understanding. Then finally when Manjul asked us to perform the script we had made, before we could even start he positioned the three of us and gave us a very simple option of getting the performance together. It was like the bell noise Juhi makes, in my head. TING. It clicked. It was like whoa. Why didn’t we think of this? I was happy. And suddenly felt awake and up. We have an idea and I couldn’t wait to try it and was really interested in seeing the results of it. I came back home and somehow felt so motivated and so positive and like there was so much time left to get this together and we really didn’t have to worry. Our script was literally out. And there were new ideas in my head. New visions. And HOPE.