I had spoken to the circus manager about us bringing in 30 children from Parade Ground and Astley Hall and he had kindly agreed to charge us rupees 50-a ticket and let us sit in the enclosure for the 75-rupees ticket. So you can imagine his surprise when we walked in with a bunch of 51 unwashed and unruly children. To his credit, he was almost as magnanimous as he had been on the previous day!
The kids were settled into their seats and the show began. That was the easy part! The space within the tent was so warm that we had the sensation of being within a cooking pot on fire! So my trusted aide Rajkumar and I go off in hunt of some cold drinks, chips and water for the unwashed, unruly and now sweating bunch of 51!
There are millions of details about the three and a half hours that we spent there but suffice to say it was a day of a lot of running around for teachers, all made worth by the joyous smiles on the faces of the children. Many of them had already seen the same show before and it was fun to see them describe the next trick to their friends in great animation and everybody giggling right in anticipation even before the trick started!
Photographs are few and only those that Naina and Rajkumar clicked. I shall be uploading those here shortly.
Meanwhile there are changes in the program that we have had to make again, since the 2 hours at Gandhi Park and 2 hours at the school were proving to be a little bit too much for the children. So yesterday we did a three-hour stretch at Gandhi Park that included lunch and that lasted from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. We started setting up at 1:30 p.m. and were ready and sitting down with the kids by 2. At 3:15 we broke for lunch and then returned to our spot in the park by 3:45. So there was an hour of painting, singing songs and story-telling after lunch.
Most of our kids disappeared after eating food but slowly slunk back into the program when they saw us still sitting there and painting! Let us hope this three-hour program works. We will have to continue tweaking the program until we have found a system that works best for the children and also gives enough time to learn and create.