What does it take to not forget something? Has it ever happened to you, that when you return from somewhere you have a difficult time adjusting at home? Withdrawal symptoms (as close as it could get) a plenty and you keep asking for more of the same experience. The only thing you think about for sometime is when, where and how you will get an opportunity to go back to the same place and experience something completely new? The true meaning of the term unforgettable is learnt. When you narrate stories of your journey, your mind leaves you gasping for more. Nostalgia, happiness, a weird feeling in the stomach, everything that makes you believe that this journey was special. I don’t exactly remember when the process started and I certainly know it hasn’t ended. Once upon a time when we only thought we would be in Glasgow one day is now a time, existing, flowing, real and lived. We weren’t tourists (only), our intent was clear. That one hour in which we get to perform our play made the trip of ten days possible. ‘Shoonya se shikhar tak’ is therefore a landmark in my life. The intense training, workshops and preparations for this production has been growing experience. As an actor and as an individual, I have unmasked a lot within me. Shoonya se shikhar tak has not only made me realise the power of my dreams, but also my abilities to work on them. I can proudly say this intensity has made me lighter and stronger at the same time. The magical part is that i dont even know when this process started. It just seems smooth now that I look back on all these memories with fondness. All of this however wasn’t limited to the one hour in the rotunda. But I think that this growth took a different course from there. Now that I think about it, I can’t find any words to describe my feelings the first time I stepped on the cushioned stage of the rotunda. The first time I ever tested my voice inside that dome, the first time I walked, crossed from one side to the other. Each movement of my body made me want to get that emotion more and more and made me never want to end this experience. And that one hour, when all our rehearsal time, our practise came to its actual test, the hour that made it all possible was an hour that I want to keep reliving. That one hour in which I was vulnerable, both emotionally and physically, on stage and especially off it is the hour I crave. As if that’s the kind of reality I want to keep living. Shoonya se shikhar tak has reached its first shikhar. I think it is time we take it forward, continue to work with ourselves and with this experience and make this journey limitless. Its not so much about living a dream. It doesn’t hit you always that what you thought of once upon a time, is a reality you’re living. Its after you’re back, trying to adjust with your life that you realise that you just lived what you yearned for. I want to live it again. And keep living it. For all this and more I would like to extend my heartfelt gratitude to everyone concerned and everyone who made this possible. “Mere sapnon ka Yeh andaaz hai, ki har rang mein shaksiyat kuch khaas hai. Mai kehta hoon Bohot ji li zindagi, Woh kehta ki abhi aur Jine ke aas hai.” – Rijul Kataria works as a Research Coordinator with the Foundation. This blog was written as a part of the Tin Forest International Theatre Festival in 2014
“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