Last weekend, I had been invited to attend a cultural programme. It was the Annual Day Celebrations of a social organisation, which provided foster care for street children.
The course of the programme seemed to follow the pattern of the lives of the children taking part in it.
The show began with a group of children singing the anthem of the organisation, an old Hindi classic film song – ‘Aa chal ke tujhe…‘* They seemed nervous as they missed a few beats and struggled with the correct notes. As another group sang, their voices revealed their state of mind – hesitant and unsure.
Young children then came out in their colourful attire, and enlightened the audience about real life examples of women’s entrepreneurship, and staged a play about rural life.
As the evening grew, the atmosphere became more lively. The children in the audience cheered loudly during the award ceremony, as their caretakers, and some older children, were being felicitated.
The convocation ceremony showed how contrasting our lives were. For us, attending school was as integral a part of our lives, as eating and sleeping. But for the children of the home, simply clearing the examinations was a huge milestone. They weren’t as lucky as we were – abandoned by their own parents, left to fend for themselves at a tender age, victims of various types of abuse.
As the older children began their dance performances, their eyes glowing with pride, their movements synchronised, and expressions filled with confidence, it was clear, that they had put their past behind them and were now ready to embrace their new lives.
The event was nothing short of being grand – and I’m glad I was there to witness it.
* * *
*Aa chal ke tujhe, mai leke chalun, ik aise gagan ke tale, jahaan gum bhi na ho, aansu bhi na ho, bas pyaar hi pyaar pale…
Come, I’ll take you to a place so beautiful, where there is no sorrow, no tears, only love…