Dressed to Thrill

Dressed to Thrill

Judging competitions involving children is always difficult. But when the participating children are those who need special care, the judgement becomes even more challenging. Ask Suneeta Jain and Ashwini Shinde, who recently judged a fancy dress competition with 70 special children participants held at the Jiddh School in Thane on March 29, 2006. Jain, a psychologist working with Hiranandani Hospital and Shinde, a teacher, found themselves struggling to decide between the participants, all of who displayed enormous talent, their disabilities notwithstanding. In fact, judging these participants was even more difficult because the different types of challenges that each child faces. A few examples should help you understand their predicament.

Dressed to Thrill - special children particpating in fancy dress competition

One girl participant dressed up like a chicken in full white clothes complete with wings and a beak. Any guess what she was depicting? Bird flu! Then there was a child who had become a scarecrow, her hands held upwards, and her head in a black bag. Red lips were painted on her midriff and two artificial hands were stuck on her waist as she danced to the music, looking perfectly like a scarecrow. Yet another participant, Vikram, blessed the crowd as he walked on stage in his saffron attire of a pujari. Manali had become a sage who chanted mantras and performed a puja. A Shivaji Maharaj look-a-like arrived on stage in the typical darbari style. And Lord Hanuman had great fun jumping around the hall and on the stage just like the monkey-god. Each participant was a sheer delight to watch and the audience was fascinated, even as they encouraged the participants when they came on stage.

In the end, three winners had to be selected from five age groups. The prize comprised a cash component, a medal, a certificate and some gifts. But every participant received a participation gift. Two parents, who had helped their wards in dressing up, received surprise gifts for their creativity and enthusiasm. The fancy dress competition was organised with the help of the Inner Wheel Club of Thane Hills.

The special children are a treat to watch. Often, their performances leave us thinking about the determination with which they challenge their disabilities. William Shakespeare said, “Let me embrace thee, sour adversity, for wise men say it is the wisest course.” These children, challenged by nature-inflicted adversity, embrace it with open arms, teaching the rest of us a lesson or two in life. No wonder they are called special.

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