Standing next to the pandal erected on the Dharmaram Grounds (adjacent to Christ University campus), we heard a whirring of a bus, and a much cheerful shout. The shout was magnified by the seventy voices that echoed it. “Happy New Year!!!!” it said. It was one of the most cheering and motivating sounds that we heard on that beautiful morning. It lent an finality to the last minute preparations we were making. It also gave us a short sence of achievemet, and anticipation. It had begun…
The kids from Rajendranagar were here. It was January the 11th, Sunday. It was the Activity Centre Talent Show day.
As they walked from the bus to the pandal, they kept shouting cheerful “Happy New Year”s to everyone they happened to meet. Along with an often stated “Hello aunty” or “Hello didi” or “Hello uncle” or “Hello sir” when they met a familiar face, whom they recognised from the daily tuitions. Their faces were lit with joy, confidence, and anticipation, as they walked into the pandal and occupied the seats, smiling in that heavenly way only kids can!
Talent Show is an annual even of CSA Activity Centre, through which the sponsored children from Rajendranagar could express their talent, creativity, and eagerness to participate, encouraging confidence, and the development of a healthy competition spirit.
Pretty soon, the second trip of kids arrived. And then the competitions began! It started off with the Just a Minute competitions, where the kids had to deliver a one minute extempore on a given topic. The children were divided into senior and junior sections. Pretty soon, drawing and story writing competitions started off. With art being blended into the arena where confidently delivered speeches were commanding applauses, the event jumped into main gear, with all the kids occupied with some activity or the other.
It was amazing to yet again break out of a lot of preconcieved stereotypes. Seeing these kids perform, hearing their ambitions, and listening to their thoughts profound, makes one wonder about the reservoirs of talent, which was left relatively neglected due to circumstance, fate, and stigma.
The Quiz competition proved to be quite a handful, both for the kids, as well as the organisers, as the students started competing fiercly to conquer every question thrown to them by the volunteers. Pretty soon, it was lunch time, and we had a pretty good lunch together. Meanwhile, preparations for the Fancy Dress and Group Dance competitions were going on. After many a discussion, small games, and casual talk, we returned to the next event – Fancy Dress. Doctor, teacher, nurse, and many many more roles were adorned by the kids, while the rest of us applauded and encouraged them on.
After the Fancy Dress, Group Song competitions were held. And finally came the much awaited Group Dance event. Nine teams put up admirable, attractive and colourful performances, enthralling even a few among the audience to dance along at the back of the venue. In between the dances, the MCs for the day, Suresh and Pandu, did a brilliant job of keeping the kids occupied, and making sure that they had a wonderful time. And soon, it was time for the prize distribution.
Sadly, in accord with the oft quoted cliched, yet meaningful words, every good thing must come to an end, the 2009 edition of Activity Centre Talent Show also came to conclude. As we waved goodbye to the kids in the bus, and as many a them called out and traded handshakes with someone they’d gotten close with, our minds and hearts were filled with joy, that we were able to make an awesome day for a hundred and thirty kids, that we had a great day, that we had succeeded in what we had set out to do. That joy was, of course, mingled with a wee bit sadness, that it had come to an end so soon.
A big pat on the back and thanks to all the CSA volunteers, staff, and Christ University staff who made things happen the way it did. A huge sense of gratitude for our prayers well answered.
“A really great talent finds its happiness in execution.”
– Johann Wolfgang von Goethe