Hello everyone! We are up with our fourth episode of the series- Parmarth OFFstage. If you have ever wondered how the little slum kids give such amazing performances, then this article will help you to explore it. This article is down the memory-line of one of our volunteers.

I got startled by the sound and resound of claps around me. It felt like I was day dreaming and that mellifluous claps brought me back to the world. But I was not dreaming, everything was so true around me. A fully packed prodigious auditorium was echoing with the claps of audience. I whirled my eyes from one end of the hall to other and saw everyone giving a standing ovation.

Audience appreciating the cultural performance of परमार्थ kids in College’s annual fest

Everybody around me was off their seats, clapping loudly, admiring the artists on stage and the artists were bidding goodbye by bowing their heads as a gesture of thanksgiving. I again glued my eyes to stage; those little artists were departing from the stage in exactly the way they were taught. The next sound I heard was of anchors, they were appreciating the little artists a lot and asked for one more round of applause. That time I also joined the audience in the melodious blare of claps. I was feeling much proud on those toddlers and was celebrating their success inside my head. I was about to dwell again in the past, but was soon carried back to the present by a voice calling my name. The voice belonged to one of the anchor duo, they were naming the choreographer of the performance. The hall again busted in little claps, this time for me. I felt a little wetness in my eyes, the wetness of joy, the joy of getting result of piece in which you have put all the efforts.

I slightly rubbed my eyes and walked back to the backstage, where my little angles were awaiting for me. They ran and hugged me as soon as I was in their sight. I held them strongly, stretching my arms to the maximum so that I could behold many of them.

I was with them at the same place just some ten minutes before, when I was arranging them in line and motivating them one last time for their onstage performance. The following 10 minutes were going to be very crucial because that would be not just a ten-minute onstage performance but that was going to be the result of offstage efforts of tens of days that we have put together. And that went so well, I was again with them after their outstanding performance. I cheered them and told them that they were amazing. They were so glad of the reactions that they were getting and they certainly deserved all the applauses. I have seen them working so hard on each piece with uttermost dedication. And, I can assure you that was not easy for them, being slum kids. Their lives were not facilitated with the stuffs that the kids of well-off family attain right from their birth. Their upbringing never taught them arts, they have never danced on the songs of television copying actors and actresses, they have never acted copying drama of the daily soaps. But they were full of unexplored talents and hidden potentials. All they needed was a brush on their underlying possibilities. Their skills got brushed and their potentials were explored by their life changing teachers, the volunteers of परमार्थ. Teaching someone alphabets, maths and science can't alone develop their all-round personality, one should be provided chance to explore him/her in different fields, and college fest and college stage were the best way to bring out their hidden potentials. There's no doubt that they have proved themselves, they have proved that talent is not dependent of one's background. I hugged them more strongly before letting them out of my arms.

We arranged them in line for our way out of auditorium. We have just approached the gate and the little angles were again surrounded by people appreciating them and clicking pictures with them. Then they had a photo session with a senior faculty and the glare on their faces was radiating in the camera light.

Group photo with Former Faculty advisor of परमार्थ, Prof. V. K. Singh

They all were looking so pretty in their colorful costumes, the costumes that we have chosen for them after wondering the whole Lucknow market. That was such a great deal, finding their perfect fit and desired outfits, but we have ultimately managed their beautiful costumes after exploring several shops and several outfits. We rent the costumes for the couple of days and then return them back after the event. Accessories that we have purchased were gifted to the angles.

After the photo session, we took them to the arena for the refreshments. We were doing it every day before or after the hours long practice, so that our tiny tots could remain energetic. Sometimes, when the practice session takes longer than usual, then we arrange their lunch in hostel's mess.

They were so happy after their performance. We provided them snacks and after finishing it, we took them to the changing rooms. They changed their costumes in couple of minutes, but, a couple hour back, it took much more time to dress them up. We had decided that after final rounds of practice, we will feed them some snacks and then will dress them up. Dressing these cuties is a challenging job. Getting them wear their costumes, applying special makeup on them and then keeping a watch on them that they don't ruin their appearance was a deal in itself. But, this all patience yields in the beautiful stars who are going to sign in this galaxy.

Children getting dressed in their outfits for the stage performance

It was getting dark in the evening and after they have changed the clothes, some of volunteers dropped them back to their home. We were doing this from couple of weeks, picking them up for the practice and dropping them back to their shelters, and the long practice hours in between. It was a difficult job to impart perfection and synchronization in them. After all, they were little kids and that too from not so well-off backgrounds. But they were good learners, they learned every step, every dialogue with utmost dedication. It all started couple of weeks ago, when the cultural fest of our college was approaching. The performances of these kids are among the most awaited ones. Every time they were able to earn huge appreciations, whether it was the annual fest, cultural fest or alumni meets. So, as a mentor, it yields a good amount of pressure on us to make their performance better than ever. Kids were chosen for the practice, and we try to choose those kids who have never participated earlier, so that everyone could get this opportunity. And then the period of routine practice starts, making them better, day by day.

It takes nearly two weeks to make them perfect, but the results are worth the effort. These weeks of Offstage practice, errands and efforts finally lead to the 10-minute onstage performance, and it was worth for all. This time honorable Director Sir awarded a memento to परमार्थ for the heavenly performance.

IET's Honorable Director appreciating परमार्थ performance by awarding Memento in college’s annual fest

But, when I was seeing those kids departing to their shelters after hugging me, I realized what was the real prize that I have got. It was satisfaction that I have got in imparting the sense of pride and happiness in these little angles.

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