Happy Independence day

It was I Day celebrations at pwhy! And a very special one at that. It all began with a request from the special section teachers to drop by their class before I left the building. I was in a for a big surprise. The children had planned an entire show with many items. As I entered the room I was greeted by a warm good morning as all the children sat at one end of the room, with wristbands in the national colours. Manu held a small flag in his hand. The other part of the room was the stage. The show began with some individual items. A song by Champa and two dance items: one by Anjali and the other by Preeti.

Champa's song was touching. Here was a girl who can barely look after herself and yet who manages a perfect rendition of an old devotional song. It was awesome. Then came Anjali and she danced with her heart and soul, her awkward body moving with perfect harmony to the tune of a Bolywood hit. But that was not all, the next dance was Preeti's, the girl who walks on her hands. She danced with her soul and spirit, her arms swaying and her expression perfect. After the individual performances we were treated to a group song: the children sang Bum Bum Bhole from the film Tare Zameen Par, a song celebrating difference. Every one sang, the one who did not hear and the one who could not speak. They sang with their heart, soul and spirit. I sat silent, a knot in my throat and tears welling up my eyes, watching these children of a lesser God. They sang with abandon, as if every dream of theirs was fulfilled, living the moment to its fullest, without a though of what tomorrow held.

The show ended with a very special rendition of the national anthem, one that suddenly acquired a new meaning and lifted all doubts about tomorrow: just for these special souls pwhy had to carry on so that every I Day would be theirs to celebrate.

The Okhla children too celebrated I day, in their garbage dump. A flag was proudly hoisted and songs sung. A poignant reminder that every child of India deserved to be free.

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