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Recently, the community in which I live in Bangalore celebrated our annual carnival. Like always, it was a great success. It had eats, games, and stalls selling everything for the consumer from cotton candy to cars! This was one part of the show. The other, and to me the more exciting part, was the performances on stage.We had an amazing Yakshagana performance. This is a very old cultural dance drama form, mainly prevalent in my home district of South Kanara in Karnataka. In this, through a combination of dance, song and recital, stories usually from mythology are rendered by the performers. I was glad that the younger members of the community, and may I add, the older ones too, were exposed to an ancient rural entertainment format which goes back to over six hundred years.

The highlight of the evening was a dance performance by students of the Shree Ramana Maharishi Academy for the Blind. Their motto says it all, ” Service to Humanity is service to God.” In a stand out performance, groups of young girls and boys performed traditional Indian dances with a co-ordination that would have been commendable even for people with sight. The fact they are visually impaired did not in any way dampen their enthusiasm.. They were simply brilliant. I was amazed to see these youngsters perform so well. I felt highly moved to think how we take so many things for granted. Many are not so fortunate. These young ones, for example, face more challenges than we do. What comes effortlessly to you and me, perhaps is a huge task for them. This made their performance all the more admirable.

This institution believes that ” All people with disabilities can live with self-respect and dignity.” These people do not need our sympathy. They need opportunity. They need applause. They need our encouragement. Funds are important, I am sure and if you feel like reaching out to help an awesome cause, do contribute your bit to the Shree Ramana Maharishi School for the Blind. It may not mean much to you but it could mean a lot to someone less fortunate than you are.

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