June 20th & 21st , 2009- Sat & Sun
The “training”..an incredibly unique experience. On Sunday when we were to separate after we were done, Manjul asked us to answer a bunch of questions.. for us to reflect. I had limited words. I was processing the experience. I didn’t want to think anymore. I was mentally exhausted..It’s Tuesday now, and I finally decided to fill in these days since they deserve their due words.
My friends and family think its crazy how much time and importance I’m giving a project like this, instead of looking for a job- like any other graduate should or going out for close friends’ birthdays. But this weekend I just wanted to focus on this. I didn’t want to think of anything else and was a 100% with the 3 of them. This is what I love about this whole experience. Not only am I working with the best possible team (including ETF, Parivartan staff, Revive: Mumbai and AID) but also they’re all very much committed to the cause. Especially the four of us (Sriya, Zohar, Manjul and I) have voluntarily made this project personal, our own and are enjoying every moment of it with pure passion. This is also probably why this team has worked so well. All of us have had a hard time with peripheral issues we’ve had to deal with, but for us, this project has remained priority. We have all put in hours and effort, faced an equal amount of apprehension,.. have stood by each other, taken risks and faced challenges regardless of several constraints. Manjul proved the same this weekend. Although I couldn’t stop myself from analyzing his methods and his personality..I justify it by my admiration for him. In general, I can’t yet point out what I learned as such from the three days rather than building more faith in our efforts and getting an experience in acting for us to relate to the kids. All I can say is that passion is our driving force and this weekend just highlighted it.
We woke up at 630am, had some tea/ coffee, went over to the Carter Road promenade for a walk. Manjul then gave us 3 potential spots to do a random performance. The goal was that we needed to be verbally acknowledged by atleast 2 people. We did a terrible job the first time and didn’t really know what to do. Given that we didn’t have a choice, we decided to “just do it” strategically. We thought of a simple topic- environment, a way to grab people’s attention- clapping/ voicing a slogan, and (as Manjul calls it) holding our space. We got progressively better by the 3rd performance. After several passerby observers, we finally had one who told us that we did a good job. I was quite proud of us…my first ever performance!!!
We then hung out at Joggers Park for a while, came back, showered, breakfast with the amazing Sriya-family and then got down to working on the play Sriya, Zohar and I were to perform by Sunday. It was a monologue written by Zohar and directed by her as well. We had a blast preparing for the play- at one point I rolled all over the floor hysterically laughing at just once glance from Zohar. I was quite amazed by Sriya’s and my creative abilities and by how much I enjoyed acting.. In general I’m a very confident person, but when it came to theatre, I was extremely nervous and it didn’t help that I am terrible at learning lines. However, Sriya was amazing at learning all the lines! She and Zohar helped me out through the performance in an extremely smooth fashion. So when we performed on Sunday, I never freaked out because I knew that if I needed help, all I had to do was take a look at them once.
While we were preparing for the performance, Manjul had to lock himself in the room..I felt really bad for him since he’d just have to use that time with his thoughts. After about 2 hours, he came out and we worked on looking over Zohar’s daily journal entries. We read through all the days.. it was interesting to see the transition Zohar went through. A part of her strength lies in her positive and confident personality, and a part of the ability to go through this huge challenge is the strategic training process that she went through with Manjul. The reason to analyze these documents was to get an idea of how a given person goes through a process as such..what are the transitions, what are the steps taken and how to apply it to other people (i.e. our children). The next morning we performed the play! I was extremely happy with our performance, although I had a hard time with the lines again.
There’s a lot to learn from Manjul..and this weekend was a lot of that for me. I haven't been able to document everything and tend to leave out a lot of the details, but I feel much closer to the group now. Seeing Sriya get more confident by the minute has been an amazing experience, Zohar understanding her potential better, and I building a whole new level of comfort with everything. Ofcourse to add on, Sriya’s family was very inviting and it was great to get to know them better.
There’s just a lot to learn. Never Ends.