Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The days of community love

For an outsider, it was just Annual Day at the Indian School. But it wasn’t. This was the yearly exhibit of community love and engagement. The type of event that everybody became a part of, in some way or the other. Not too hard to envisage, given that there weren’t too many schools that you could choose to send your kids too. And if at all, your child were culturally/musically inclined, then ‘Sound’ or ‘Tune’ of Music were the only options on hand.
So annual day at the school meant that the dance mashas had their hands full of classical and filmy routines, that the piano and guitar instructor David sir was recording rhymes for the kindergarten kids to sing to or that Anto sir had rescheduled classes to ensure that all the kids participating in a programme had the same slots at the music school. It was a flurry of activity – setting up sessions, calling all the kids, and finding out who could pick up whom.
And teachers weren’t the only ones taking the decisions. Parent called each other, picked up swatches of fabric, compared notes on costumes & tailors and even went out shopping together for the right outfit. Music blared in many homes, as kids practiced in bedrooms, living rooms, and backyards waiting for the yummy intermissions in between. Then there were the miffed parents, who stormed to school to question why ‘their’ children got left out of the programme. And the night after the function where you would bump into parents and kids, irrespective of your choice of cuisine or how late it was in the night.
And it wasn’t just the week before annual day. It was on all those days when the kids and parents got on to the huge school buses to Dubai take part in DALA competitions, the Kairali Kala Kendra festival or whatever was the big event that year. Little tips were exchanged on dance makeup, safety pins were handed over, some parents listened as other students practised their extempore speeches and the entire parent and student fraternity cheered when their kids performed on stage. Proud parents pushed us onto stage, year after year, to take the trophy for the school championship, and the cameras just kept clicking. I don’t know how many albums I found my way into. Years later, what I do know is that, at the risk of speaking in cliches, these were the best days of our lives and of course, community love.