The BIG Party

The BIG Party

Children love birthdays. They love the cakes, the music, and the celebration. But not all children are fortunate to have their birthdays celebrated. Take for instance the students of Jidd School, who face the double whammy of being mentally challenged as well as hailing from poor families. Their parents are mostly daily wage earners who can barely manage a hand to mouth existence. Therefore birthday celebrations of their children are a luxury they cannot afford. But children being what they are, they crave for them nevertheless.

mass birthday celebrations Shyamashree Bhonsle, principal of Jiddh School, recognised the strong desire of her students and decided to do something about it. With the help of Inner Wheel Club of Thane Hills (IWCTH), Bhonsle came up with a novel idea – to have a mass celebrations once every month to wish all students whose birthdays fall in that month. The first such occasion was on Wednesday June 28, 2006, when 21 students whose birthdays fell in April, May and June (because April and May fall in the vacation period,) was celebrated at a time.

On the morning of June 28, all the students of the school were excited and one could hear them chattering away happily as they waited eagerly for the song-singing and cake-cutting ceremonies to begin. When Bhonsle asked them to describe why the day was special, they all said in unison that it was a birthday celebration when songs would be sung, a cake would be cut and there would be the traditional aarti. They were bang on as soon afterwards the 21 birthday boys and girls were made to sit on a stool one by one while other students performed aarti. The mouth-watering, two kg butterscotch flavoured cake was then cut amidst songs and applause. One teacher even sang a Marathi birthday song. Dr Kalpana Suradkar president of IWCTH and Dr Veena Chandavarkar were among the others who cheered the birthday kids as they rejoiced.

The next celebration is due on July 25, 2006, when July born children will have a go at the cake. This monthly affair might not sound like a big deal to the rest of us. But if you were to look at the joy on the faces of the children, you hearts would swell. Like Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “We find delight in the beauty and happiness of children that makes the heart too big for the body.”

One Reply to “The BIG Party”

  1. Really touching, Manoj. Birthday celebrations are things that we take for granted, given our privileged existence, seldom realising they can be as special to those less blessed amongst us.

    And while there’s so much suffering in the world, these little showers of joy are surely more than welcome, for when you think of those who are mindlessly pursuing violence to compound human suffering, you wonder as to where we are headed? Do we have a right to call ourselves civilized or have we regressed to an extent where the only way to demonstrate superiority is raw brawn power, and manipulation/politics when using our brains? I don’t think there’s anything that can ever justify violence, (and I don’t merely mean physical violence..it’s also emotional..hurting some one and not sparing a thought about it)other than when used for self-defence, in which case it ceases to be violence. Completely off-track, I know..but its just about the myriad thoughts flying around in my head right now.

    How can people live all their lives being led on to believing things, blindly accepting without thinking..just because some nutcase with vested motives drills it into their heads, that that is the thing to do. Everyone has some cognitive sense, which sure would tell them the right from wrong. Why wouldn’t they use it? And I don’t believe it’s lack of education or survival compulsions that drive them to do what they do. And then again, perhaps they are just weak-minded people who do not have a cause in life and are brainwashed into believing that that’s the big purpose they are fighting for. But even so, consciential compromise, taking lives, heinous crimes..how do people acquiesce to these? I have no answers, I don’t think I ever will.

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