‘Paroma-di, please come to the centre tomorrow. The girls have prepared a program.’ Sonu, the volunteer at the Child Care centre messaged me on Saturday. The girls at the centre enjoy stories, theatre and music and I knew I was in for a treat on Sunday.
After the ‘guests’ had been seated, the emcee of the day, Mishti, began the program. The first on the list was a poem—about a girl comforting her friend—recited by Deepmala and Shyamoli. This was followed by a skit in which all the girls in the storytelling project acted. The skit showed both the importance of learning self-defence and the importance of standing together against any atrocity. It began with a scene—no dialogue, just action— showing a young girl being kidnapped by two men. The two men then proceed to tease two other girls, following them on the road and passing comments. The two girls are also kidnapped. Together, the three girls decide that they must stand up against the men, ultimately overpowering them, using karate and by staying and acting together. The skit ended with the girls wishing each other a happy friendship day.
The program proceeded on a lighter note with a poem by Anita, the youngest of the group and a funny dance drama about an eccentric king and his subjects. Shibani-di, the centre in-charge also shared two stories—one on the importance of listening to one another and the other, based on a news article she had read, was on the importance of educating with compassion. It was nice to hear Shibani-di. She often shares stories she reads with the girls. After some dance and fun music, we settled down to one final story before wrapping up the program. I told the girls a story about two friends, one of whom fights at a drop of a hat and the other, who is a calm, quiet sort of person. Rescuing a badly hurt puppy teaches the friend who likes to fight, the importance of discussion and solving problems through love and understanding.
Chatting over snacks that Sonu, Priyanka, Tamanna and Sonu’s family had arranged for, we spoke about how silly fights and arguments can never stand in the way of friendship. Kudos to the girls and the volunteers for organising such a lovely programme!
– Paroma Sengupta