For someone, who’s had a very little experience in theatre but wants to stick with it for as long as possible, events turning out in their favor might seem like a little magic from the universe. Yeah, well, toning it down a little bit, I would say that I had always sought a connection in theatre, and as I was drifting away from it, things started to fall into place when exactly two months ago, I somehow got to know about a theatre workshop organized by The Yuva Ekta Foundation and went there to attend it. Little did I know was that this workshop will lead to a course of an entirely new experience for me that I would remember for my life. SOF Naatya Raasta, a platform for aspiring actors to showcase their skills while working for a social cause urged me to be a part of it and right from the auditions to the final performances, each aspect of this process has managed to etch itself and this will stay with me for the longest time possible. To begin with, a bunch of young adults came together to experience an entirely new domain of theatre under the supervision of Puneeta Roy, which remains to be our lodestar till now and for other performances to come. 13 of us were total strangers to each other and in a span of two months, amidst all the practice sessions, scripting process and the warm-up games we became a team and like true team players, relied on each other at one point or the other. The cause that we worked on ranged from redefining masculinity to power sharing, breaking stereotyped gender roles and all this while we had to make sure that it’s informative enough for the masses, so that when we perform it out through nukkad naatak format, we deliver a cause which urges people to read between the lines. The entire process helped me a great deal in transcending the outdated social laws and a stereotypical behavior that we project towards things not out of choice but rather, out of stereotypes. Working on third gender problems and sensitizing the masses to it was one of the causes we picked up. The hypocritical nature regarding gender roles is often seen in our society and keeping this in mind, we brought up many daily-life instances which portray how disparities between man and a woman tend to grow as soon as the question of equality surfaces. Doing all this, at some level, I got to know about my own loopholes and started to bring these issues to dining table conversations back home. To my dismay, my parents obviously couldn’t understand the dynamics of feminism or overhyped concept of masculinity but at least I tried bringing this up in my family and as they say, charity always begins at home, I served the purpose well. Besides the cause and its subsequent effect, what I loved the most in the entire process was the sheer honesty and humility in the people who kept us glued the entire time without making us feel low at any point of time. Imagine a place where you go and meet a bunch of brand new people in your life and you cannot help but remain in a perpetual state of awe with most of them and in the end, you think about it and say, ‘was it really a happy place that I was in?’. this is exactly the same thing I will continue to cherish and be amazed at how brilliantly we all managed to get our things done, where nobody was abused, verbally or otherwise, nobody cried for wrong reasons and we never practically played the typical sadistic part like the ones they play in dramatics society of Delhi University to get things done! Pheww! All went well. In the end, I would like to conclude by saying that never in my life have I met so many beaming faces, someone’s who’s ready to help you at any given point of time, and someone who has made peace with human idiocy so they will never judge you, someone who loves and is a giant throbbing heart, someone who can be super intelligient like a scientist and still look pretty, someone who changes you for good and I got to see them, meet them, be with them, for a good 2 months. Plus, we also worked for a cause. Our Ladyship Puneeta Roy, without whom we all would never have come up with any performance, let alone the scripting part, made us stick together for good and saw in me and all of us, the potential to do a little extra and little better than the rest who couldn’t be a part of this. We became the Change. We contributed in changing the world, in our own tiny ways.With love. With conviction. With Faith Till next time, Cheers =) -Ritu Bhatt is a Delhi University pass out, a passionate blogger and one of the actors in Sounds of Freedom’s ‘Naatya Raasta’ theater group
“I want to complete my education and become a big man one day” – Participant, Aadharshila Home
“I have always wanted to help people and with my work, I’ve managed to fulfill that dream” – Member, Child Welfare Committee
Be it the young, or the younger, everyone dreams. Our dreams connect us to our innocence and light, that makes us one with our being.
The Foundation, on August 25, 2017, conducted a Capacity Building workshop at the Delhi Judicial Academy for members of Child Welfare Committee, Juvenile Justice Board and organisations that work in the sphere of Juvenile Law. A small and engaging performance by the boys from the Adharshila Observation Home titled ‘Khwaabon ke Par’, was followed by an Art activity that engaged all stakeholders on one platform and share their dreams with each other.
A magical afternoon turned surreal because of the interactions that helped everyone understand and empathize with one another. It also promised to bring back the same innocence within all participants that helped them remember their lifelong dreams and aspirations. As our country completes 70 glorious years of its independence, we hope to continue our work with ‘Youth at Risk’ and find ways to connect the young ones with their light, their humility and their passion.
We would thank Gauri Saxena, Mona Sharma and Pankaj Gupta for making this event possible. We would also like to thank our guest facilitators Bani Malhotra, Tavishi Krishna and Ankita Dasgupta for their contribution towards the workshops!
Picture Credits- Aarushi
“Didi (sister), will you bring me a Tulsi (basil) plant on your next visit? The Tulsi is sacred; I will put it in my mandir (temple).”
This is the summer of 2009. We are at the Observation Home for Boys at Kingsway Camp, Delhi, surrounded by 25 juvenile offenders who have come to attend my Remedial Drama workshop. We are discussing dreams and aspirations and as the boys share their stories, Rahul asks me for a basil plant.
Robbery, Murder, Rape, Extortion – their crimes are brutal. Each boy feels falsely implicated, believes that the system is working against him. Most come from dysfunctional families, have no Role Models, no Heroes who can inspire them to find a way out of the horrific entanglement of drugs, alcohol and crime.
Our challenge is to make them aware of their choices in every situation, choices that will empower rather than debilitate them. We begin using the tools of Theatre and Expressive Arts and every few months a new intervention convinces me of the possibilities of a new start to these young lives.
This is the space from where our play “Bargad Ki Chhaon Mein” is born. Questioning the ever-widening chasm between the marginalized and the privileged, demanding accountability from a society that aspires more for Mercs and Mobiles rather than a qualitative education for all.
We have begun to work at a resettlement slum close by where many juveniles live and as I try to understand complex migration issues, I sometimes falter, grow weary. And then I remember my first conversation with Rahul, seven years ago.
“Rahul, tell me then, where does your God reside?” “In the temple that is within my heart!” he answers. “And when you pick up a knife to kill, where does your God go?” I ask. “Didi, the doors of my temple were open long before and my God has left me. I am still waiting for him to return!”
The Banyan is a healing tree, with a loving, protective aura that embraces all with its grace. Our play attempts to re-create this magical, expansive space in which everyone is welcome.
– Puneeta Roy, Managing Trustee – The Yuva Ekta Foundation, is Writer and Director for the play- ‘Bargad Ki Chhaon Mein- In the shade of the Banyan’ which will be travelling to Glasgow, Scotland in early October as part of National Theatre of Scotland’s project HOME AWAY.READ MORE
April 29, 2014
A year has passed by since the first time I bonded with various people from amazingly differing horizons. Having so many people who are brimming with ideas in one room just makes me go, “Whoa”! I find myself sitting in that same room with gazillions of thoughts that have already taken shape and those which are just ready to burst out.
Vaguely enough, I find myself not on time almost every day. Yet, my un-punctual character is greeted with smiles that peep through to show delight in its full glory. Else, I’m made to do push-ups that just get me even more pumping for the 3 hours that we spend together. The same (or some other ritual) is inflicted on anyone who’s late. Yet, it ends up making that very person sense things with a whole new dimension and a colorful perspective.
So lost in the midst of wonderful people, I find it hard to keep track of my experiences in their chronological order. Each moment is so exciting and stimulating that one gets lost in it like a man would in a universe filled with shiny stars. And then there are those extra special moments when an otherwise quiet person bursts out with joy on experiencing their new found treasure.
Some do get “tired” in the warm up sessions, but all of that fades away once we start cracking jokes at each other and begin our day. From loud “HA’s” to mind numbing physical exercises, we begin with little bodily and mental modifications every morning. These prep us for the whacky activities that hit us out of the blue. These are followed by more exercises targeted towards new muscles that we discover everyday (some are found inside my highly bald head as well). Sometimes it seems as if flexing my goatee muscles would be easier. Then we “break” off for a sip and a bite and wander around to reboot our complex personal utilities.
Me yelling “GOLA BANAO!” is a common site. After each one of us is back in the “gola”, we break off into groups trying to make tiny scenes of everyday life by pooling in our ideas. Ah! It would’ve been so tranquil if it were that simple! Numbers, losses of consonants, strange situations are only the beginning. Making us think harder, some awesomely beautiful ideas crawl out of nowhere. To state a few, we did sing “Ek, Do, Teen! Char, Paanch, Chey, Saath, Aath, Naw, Dus, Gyara! Bara, Tera!” in a disco scene, and then we broke out in thunderous laughter trying to articulate sentences without their consonants, like “U O-Ot U-Ar Oh!”
Always stumbling upon new ways to entertain each other, we end up learning bucket loads of new things. Three hours fly by as if it were only a minute, a room with tons of commotion falls silent within that minute and “chappals” keep disappearing and turning up at weird places (pranks carefully planned out by a mastermind who is still on the run). And then the long wait for a new day begins…
Danik Ghosh aka Boomba is a Bluebells School International graduate, who was part of the Yuva Ekta Workshops in Summer, 2011.READ MORE