Dressed to thrill

Dressed to thrill

Over the past few weeks we have been writing about events and episodes related to special and disabled children in Thane. The screening of the movie Black, the Triumph Foundation sports day for special children, the handicrafts of students of St. John the Baptist School for special children. Sunday, March 20, 2005 was World Disabled Day and today is the concluding day of what is observed as the world disabled week. And quite appropriately, our city once again turned its attention towards this section of our society. On the evening of March 20, the Jidd School garden was packed with over 100 special kids from four special schools of Thane: St. John the Baptist special school, Holy Cross special school, Jidd School and Sri Ma Snehadeep. Also present were parents of these kids, teachers of the school and dignitaries. The chief guest of the evening was Deputy Collector (special land acquisition officer) Sushma Satpute and the guest of honour was actress Reema Lagu. The Mayor of Thane, who is known to support initiatives for special children also attended.
 
The occasion was an inter-school fancy dress competition organised by the Inner Wheel Club of Thane Hills. The competition was open only to mentally challenged kids. The participants were divided into four age groups: below 8, 9-12, 13-18 and Over 18. Although the elimination rounds had already been conducted in the respective schools, there were many requests for spot registrations and organisers obliged by holding elimination rounds then and there, and selecting the top three winners from each age group. In the final round, the participants awed the audiences and special guests with their performances. Reema Lagu, who had never seen so many special children at one place at one time, performing on stage, was so touched that she said, "Now I feel like I must do something for special children at least three to four times a year." The performance of the participants astonished even parents, who confessed that they never thought their kids could perform so well on stage.
 
In the under eight category, Ankita Pawar from St John won the first prize for dressing up as the TV character Sonpari while a Jidd school student Manish Murdeshwar, who is confined to a wheelchair won the second prize for becoming a popcorn boy. In the 9-12 years category, becoming Lord Ganpaty got Rasika Bhosle from Jidd the first prize, while Maithili Thanekar’s portrayal as Jhansi ki Rani got her the second prize. In the 13-18 years category, Vikram Desai from Jidd school acted like Salman Khan and stole the hearts of the judges and won the first prize. Pratik Gulrajani from Holy Cross became Mahatma Gandhi’s and came second. In the 18 and above category, Tanuja Tirodkar from SJBHS became Jassi. When she came on stage, her books fell from her hand and the audience, who thought it was for real, was enthralled on figuring out that she was simply acting like Jassi. Sri Ma Snehadeep’s Avinash Shinde got the second prize for becoming a panwala.
 
Cash prizes for winners, gifts for all participants and food packets were distributed at the venue. There were also dance performances from students of all the four schools. The children were thoroughly enjoyed the evening and the Jidd school garden resonated with sounds of laughter, screams and many more sounds of happiness. Faces lit up, and dressed to thrill, these kids looked like a bundle of joy that left one with a feeling that cannot be described in mere words.  

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