Tag: Sports/Adventure

Have a Summer Blast

Have a Summer Blast

As the mercury rises in the summer, excitement of students begins to surge too. After toiling monotonously for a whole year attending classes, going for tuitions, struggling with homework and finally cramming for exams, students look forward to this time of year, never mind the sweltering heat.

Granted, summer vacations are a great time to catch up with all those exciting activities that you have been dying to indulge in but were simply impossible to take up during the academic year: you would want to play your favourite sport, watch movies, go for outings and generally have fun. But even after you do all of this, you will find that you still have a reasonable amount of spare time that can and must be utilised gainfully.

Have a Summer Blast

Academically you move up one level with each passing year. But it is equally important for you to move up regularly with respect to your personality. And there’s no better time to do this than summer holidays. Unfortunately, most students end up doing nothing constructive during this highly fertile two-month period. But all is not lost. If you’re a student who has not yet made plans of how to make good use of your time this vacation, now is a good time to do so. The question that is probably cropping up in your mind is, "What should I do?"

We suggest that you spend some time this week in your own company and do a self-audit. Find out which zones of your personality you would like to work upon. Do a quick evaluation of your personality and ask yourself simple questions like the following: What are my strengths and weaknesses? Which new activity I would like to pursue? Which existing interest would I like to augment? This simple exercise will lead to clarity of thought and action. And once you’re clear about what it is that you want to do, you can proceed in the direction of putting into practice what you’ve decided.

There are many good ways to spend the next two months. Here are a few suggestions that might be helpful. This is in no way an exhaustive list and you can certainly come up with several creative ideas yourself.

Sign up for an adventure/sports camp
Look out for and sign up with one of the several adventure camps organised specially for school students. Such camps offer a wonderful opportunity for you to experience the real world first hand – away from the protective shield of your parents and teachers. If you’re a sports lover, then you could consider one of the various sports camps that train you in the sport of your choice.

Cultivate the habit of Reading
Supplementing/cultivating a reading habit is a good idea. Reading is a great way of building up a good thinking mind. You even become more creative, besides increasing your knowledge! So join a good library, borrow a few good books on the subjects you like and spend some time reading daily.

Avoid watching excessive TV
Watching TV is an inert activity and tends to slow down your wits. It’s also harmful for your physical fitness. Allocate a fixed time per week for TV viewing and resolve not to exceed this limit. When watching TV, make it a point to watch informative and educational channels like Discovery, Animal Planet and National Geographic.

Physical Activity
Engage in some daily physical activity routine. This is a good habit for life. Swimming, cycling, trekking or simply walking will go a long way in keeping you healthy and in shape.

Replace phones with personal interactions
A worrying habit among the youngsters these days is that they rattle long hours on the phone. Remember, it is much better to meet up your friends in person and converse one-to-one. Personal interactions enhance the quality of your conversations and, in the process, the quality of your friendships too.

Develop new interests
Consider developing new hobbies or expand the scope of existing ones such as painting, drawing, music, cooking, writing, acting and so on. Many of you may not venture into a hobby for the fear of being ridiculed or because you think you’re not good enough. Steer clear of judging yourself and simply take up the activity irrespective of how good you are at it. Remember you’re not competing with anyone, and there is no justifiable reason to deny yourself the joy that comes from doing that which you fancy.

So go ahead and make a new agreement with yourself. Eliminate a weakness, acquire a new hobby, improve your knowledge quotient and transform yourself in positive ways. Then, when the new academic year begins, your newfound personality will be all set to conquer the world.

The Making of Squash Champions

The Making of Squash Champions

Last week about 30 children from the city participated in the Second Annual Squash Training Camp organised by the Squash Rackets Association of Thane (SRAT). Held at the squash courts of Hirandandani Estate in Thane, the camp was organised in an effort to promote the game of squash in the city. Already there are many budding squash champs residing in the city, some of them top seeded in the respective age groups. But, in spite of the growing popularity of the sport, there are very few avenues for the players to progress in the game. Most players have to depend on their parents for sponsorships to participate in the championships. Even though parents do their bit, it is beyond most of them to be able to afford the fees and other expenses like travel and accommodation for the competitions regularly. This is a major deterrent to the development of the sport as also the enthusiasm of the players.

The making of Squash Champions

SRAT, which was formed last year with the objective of promoting the game, has applied for registration with the Squash Rackets Federation of India (SRFI), the only authority which is in charge of rated championships and players ratings. By becoming affiliated to the SRFI, the SRAT may now be able to organise its own rated championships.

Besides, it will also be able to protect the children of Thane from being sidelined by children sponsored by wealthy clubs and associations.

In fact it has been the experience of many that the ratings of children are rigged. Such causes cannot be taken by individuals. Rajesh Kutti, the secretary of SRAT, said, "SRAT’s single minded purpose is to work for the cause of squash in Thane. Talented children should not be deprived of the opportunities simply because of lack of facilities or the lack of sponsorships". SRAT plans to identify and sponsor players from the various age groups in Thane.

Sunil Verma, the official coach of Jindal Steel Squash Academy, has played an important role in promoting the sport in Thane. The camp too is his brainchild. He believes that such camps are needed to create awareness about the sport and to spot new talents.

Besides promoting the sport, the camp also offered the children an opportunity to explore something new. Seven-year old Aishwarya Bhattacharya "thoroughly enjoyed" her participation in the camp. Rajan Anand, father of six-year old Mansimran said, "My son is a bit of an introvert. But participating in this camp has changed him and he is now enjoying mixing around with other children." Suraj Sharma, father of eight-year-old Siddharth felt that the camp is a great opportunity to utilise the facilities (courts), which can’t be used unless there are enough people who know how to play the sport. With more than a dozen courts spread across the city, including those in Dadoji Konddev Stadium, such camps can indeed go a long way towards strengthening squash in Thane. With initiatives such as these, it’s only a matter of time when international champions will emerge from our beloved city.

Transcending Challenges

Transcending Challenges

Special children have been in the news recently for their remarkable achievements. Here’s another bright feather in their caps. Since last month special children from Anand Dighe Jiddh School and St John the Baptist School for Children in Need of Special Care have been learning a sport that not many students attempt – roller skating! And what’s more, according to their trainers, these children are learning the technique of skating twice as fast as other children. The special children never fail to surprise us, do they?

Special Skating.jpg

Team Galaxy International Roller and Ice Skating Club of India, based in Mulund and with several offshoots in Thane, approached the special schools and offered free training to their students. The founders of the institute thought that because special children hardly ever get to play such sports, a free course will do a world of good to their athletic abilities. Besides, training them in skating will enable these students to participate in the Special Olympics next year.

So, from September 2005, every week, the trainers have been carrying free skates to the schools and training the special students in the art of roller-skating. When the trainers, Avadoot Tawde and Rahul Panandikar first started their training, the special children had never even seen a pair of roller skates before. But in no time, they got the hang of skating and soon wanted to try it themselves. According to Tawde, “Though it was difficult to train them initially, they learned faster.” Pandandiklar adds, “They respond to demonstration and action more than verbal explanations. Other than that, we don’t see much difference in the skills between them and other children.” There’s one important difference that is reflected in their attitude towards the sport: because special children don’t get to dabble with such sports often, they seem to value it more than others.

Unlike other children, skating is not merely an enjoyable sport for the special children, it is also a means of physical activity that improves the coordination of their body movements. According to experts, skating is beneficial to special children because it tends to balance vestibular stimuli and improves reflexes of the skater. The resultant psychological benefit is increased self-confidence, which helps them in living a more positive life.

Come December, these students will participate in the skating competition organised by Team Galaxy, which will, for the first time, have an event reserved for the special children. They will once again prove that they can transcend from their mental and physical disabilities and rise to the challenge. Perhaps these children are called ‘challenged’ because time and again they challenge every obstacle that comes in their way. And in doing so, they challenge our notion of them as disabled.

Get that extra edge!

Get that extra edge!

As the new academic year begins, most students get busy with their school, homework and tuition classes. While academic pursuits are important, the role of extracurricular activities in the life of students cannot be over-emphasised.   Students who participate in non-academic pursuits develop an all-round personality, which holds them in good stead in their later life, both in their careers and their personal lives. Experts concur that it is important that students expose themselves  to as many different career options as possible during their high school. Not everyone excels in academics, but there are other aspects that exams do not test. Participating in extracurricular activities also help students discover hidden talents, meet interesting people, inspire self-confidence and learn about things outside their immediate environment. One other advantage of non-academic endeavours is that it provides a respite from the monotony of bookish studies, which eventually helps the students perform better at academics.

Parents should encourage their children to participate in extracurricular pursuits by helping them find and enrol with the various groups within and outside their school. Depending on the child’s propensity and interests, he or she should look for activities that either support their current interests or help them explore newer ones. Unless they are exposed to various activities, they will never know what they really like. Adventure, nature trails, sports, singing, music, dancing, literary pursuits, acting/ theatre, reading, writing, drawing, painting – there are scores of options. And each of them offers fabulous career options in the future.

A word of caution to students: be careful not to overextend yourself by taking on too many activities. Extracurricular activities are supposed to complement a student’s life, not complicate it. When you are involved in too many activities or in an activity that takes up too much time, you may become stressed, which will negatively affect your grades.

Because you live in Thane, you are fortunate to have the opportunity to sign up for the several extra-curricular activities offered by schools, adventure clubs, NGOs and other groups. So this year, resolve to enrol yourself in extracurricular activities that will expand your scope, so that you can have that "extra" edge in life.

Life as an army officer
We are fortunate to live in a country where joining the armed forces is voluntary. There are many countries where the military draft makes it mandatory to serve the armed forces for a certain period in your life. In spite of this, the Indian armed forces are among the largest in the world. The pride and respect associated with armed forces is unrivalled. Here’s an opportunity for students of Thane to find out what life as an officer in the armed forces is like.

For more than ten years now, the Jidnyasa Trust has been organising an annual "Military Training Programme" in the city. Held under the guidance of Major (Retd.) Subhash Gawand, the programme is open to students of class VI, VII and VIII. One of the objectives of this training is to prepare boys and girls for the competitive entrance tests such as National Defence Academy (NDA). Students are trained in military parade, air rifle shooting, self-defence, mountaineering, first aid, civil defence and aero-modelling. Group discussion session and public speaking will be organised to develop interpersonal skills. Military training inculcates the highest sense of discipline among its participants at a young age. It also aids improving general behaviour, develops stamina and achieves overall growth of young students.

Like in the past couple of years, the training is being organised in association with P.E. Society’s English School and training sessions will be held in the school premises. The minimum prescribed weight of applicants is 30 kg and they should be at least 135 cm tall. The training sessions will be held every Sunday between 7 am and 11.30 a.m. To enrol, contact Maj. (Retd.) Subhash Gawand, Trustee of Jidnyasa Turst, at P. E. Society’s English School, Mithbunder Road, Thane (East) at 7.00 a.m. on June 26, 2004.

No Bummer this Summer

No Bummer this Summer

Students await summer vacations eagerly at it marks the end of a gruelling academic year and an exhausting schedule of examinations. But soon after, many students find their days becoming monotonous, especially if they haven’t planned something interesting to keep them happily occupied. Thankfully for students of Thane, there are several activities that they can get involved in. In fact, summer is a great time to catch up with all those exciting activities that are simply impossible to take up during school time.

One great way to unwind and enjoy during summer vacations is to sign up with one of the several adventure camps organised for school students – like many have already done. On April 07, as many as 50 city students of class X took off for the Himalayas on an adventure skiing course. The course, being held at Manali in Himachal Pradesh, will last for 14 days in which the participating students will learn techniques of Skiing by professionals from the Mountaineering Institute of Himachal Pradesh. Next batch of 50 class VIII students, scheduled to leave on 24 April, will leave for Manali, for a 14-day adventure course comprising of snow and rock-climbing, forest-navigation, river-crossing, rappelling and zoomering.

These adventure trips are among the several vacations camps being organised by the Thane-based student welfare group Jidnyasa Trust. This is the 12th year ofthat Jidgnyasa hs been organising such trips. The camps at Manali are conducted by the Directorate of Mountaineering and Allied Sports, Government of Himachal Pradesh. Since most students have rarely lived away from home for such extended periods of time, these camps provide more than just excitement value. They serve as a course in life skills. For instance, the participants will learn how to acclimatise their bodies to the altitudes, survival techniques on glaciers and high altitudes, environmental training, and even a few high-altitude trekking exercises. Surendra Dighe, Managing Trustee of Jidnyasa says, "Participants live in camps that they erect themselves out of whatever resources are available to them, arrange for firewood, and cook their own food. This kind of life, away form their family and friends, imbibes in them a feeling of self-confidence and helps them deal with problems of life better." With experts supervising all their activities, the participants’ safety is guaranteed.
Staying close to nature in all its wild glory and away from the city’s mechanical life, these campers come back with a renewed sense of discipline, self confidence and, perhaps most importantly, awe. Dwelling in the city makes us forget the awesome creation of God, of which we are an integral part. Such excursions help us re-connect with our source. So if you haven’t already planned a trip into the wilderness, do so now. Sign up with camps or plan one with your family or friends if they are the adventure loving types. Because the options for setting out for an adventure expedition are, like nature, boundless.

Winning in the race of life

Winning in the race of life

On Sunday morning, 210 special children, from 15 schools in and around Thane, showed why they are called special. In spite of being disadvantaged in one form or the other, these children participated in a fifth annual "Triumph Run", a race event that was held at the Arya Kriya Mandal Playground near Police Commissioner’s Office. Triumph Run is an annual affair organised by the Triumph Foundation, a social service group committed to the cause of children with physical and/or mental disabilities, founded by Rotary Club of Thane Hills.

The Chief Guest at the prize distribution ceremony was Rajan Vichare, Mayor of Thane. Among those who attended the event were local corporators, principals and teachers of the participating schools and parents of the children. The event began at 9 am and went on till about 1.30 pm. To ensure that participants do not feel drained out, the organisers had made arrangements for breakfast and lunch.

Based on the intensity of their mental and physical handicaps, the participants were categorised as into 13 different categories. So there were different races for the visually impaired, hearing impaired, Ortho (on wheels), spastics without crutches and many others. There were children participating in a race with callipers and wheelchairs and running a distance of 50, 100 to 200 metres. To take care of any eventuality, there were doctors present on site. That’s not all, for there were races organised for parents and teachers too. Our new mayor, who is rather soft-spoken, congratulated the organisers for their noble efforts in creating awareness about the special needs of the special children. "You’re doing a fantastic job. In fact you’ve hardly left anything for us to do. Keep it up and do let me know if I can be of any help," he told the Triumph members after the prize distribution.

When special children perform sporting feats, they not only overcome specific physical and mental handicaps they suffer from but also transcend the psychological barriers. Regardless of the actual winners, who received cash prizes at the hands of the mayor, every participant was a winner. And so was the every teacher, ad every parent. Only, they won in a different race – the race of life.

Squash it out!

Squash it out!

Squash is a relatively new sport and therefore not many people are familiar with it. Add to this the lack of sufficient facilities, and you know why the sport has remained largely inconspicuous. But if the response to the Squash Coaching Camp held in Thane recently is any indication, then things are set to change. More than 40 children, aged four to 19 participated in the 10-day free coaching camp which was announced barely a day before the camp began. From December 24 last year to January 02, 2005, the children of Hiranandani Estate, where the camp was held, religiously spared their afternoons to learn the new sport.

The idea behind the camp was to create awareness and introduce children to this wonderful racket sport, which also promotes physical fitness. Organised by the newly formed Squash Racquets Association of Thane (SRAT), and conducted by Indian Squash Professionals (ISP), the response of children and their parents was quite encouraging. In Squash, stamina is as important as technique. Therefore the coaches from ISP were focussing on building both fitness and skills of participants, who seemed to be enjoying the rigours, in spite of the hard work involved. Natasha Rajdev, a third-year engineering student of Thadumal Shahani College said, "I never knew Squash is such a tiring game. The first few days drained me out. But soon I found myself more energetic and active. I plan to continue playing even after the camp concludes." Vibhu Singh and Shreyas Gune, both class IX students from Hiranandani Foundation School, said, "Squash not only builds stamina but also de-stresses. We love this camp." Almost all the participants echoed similar sentiments. Parents too were as enthusiastic as their children. Alka and Manish Mahajan, parents of four-year old Abhay, who participated in the camp and was thoroughly enjoying it, confessed that even they were motivated by their son’s response.

This was the first event organised by the SRAT, which came into existence only last month. Anupam Ghosal, President of SRAT, said, "SRAT’s objective is to create awareness about Squash in and around Thane and also offer practical guidance to novices and professionals alike. For this, we are approaching large companies with offers of institutional membership." SRAT also plans to organise such camps in other places. It has also initiated talks with TMC to refurbish the squash courts at the Dodoji Kondeo Stadium, a move that is sure to augment the popularity of the sport.

Already, with top seeds in all age groups, children from Thane are making a mark at the state and national levels of the game. A few of these top seeds also participated in the camp, boosting the morale of other participants. "The children have displayed determination to succeed and have immense potential to go places" said Sunil Verma, who is the official coach of Jindal Steel Squash Academy (JSSA) and also coaches top seeds from Thane and Mumbai.

The coaching camp concluded with exhibition matches, played by such national top seeds like Naveen Jhangra and Laxman Joshi from JSSA. To motivate children, there were prizes for those who demonstrated talent and enthusiasm. But the real winner of the event was Squash, which now has more enthusiasts in Thane than last year.

The rise and rise of Squash

The rise and rise of Squash

It was Sachin Tendulkar’s Birthday. Yet, Thane’s Squash-enthusiasts celebrated April 24 for other reasons – not only was it the "World Squash Day," it was also the birthday of their much-loved coach Sunil Verma. So how did they celebrate the day? Of course, by playing their favourite sport – and with as much fervour as they could garner! About two dozen kids from across Thane aged between 7 and 15 years, gathered at the Hiranandani Estate Club House, and played Squash until they could no more. What better gift could the coach expect!

This keen interest in a sport that was virtually non-existent in the city just a few years ago can be largely attributed to the springing up of residential clubs which provide high quality Squash Courts to their residents. And when the question of talent arises, there is no paucity of it in Thane. Already, as many as seven children from Thane have participated at various national- and state-level Squash championships organised by the NGO "Indian Squash Professionals," better known as ISP and Squash Racquets Association of Maharashtra. Some of these kids are also seeking participation at the Milo All Star Junior Squash Championships to be held in the first week of June 2004 in Malaysia.

Squash, for the uninitiated, is the newest of all racket sports. The sport was apparently invented at Harrow School in England by boys who kept knocking the ball on the wall awaiting their turn to play a game of rackets.

Across the country, the popularity of Squash is on a rise, not just among sport enthusiasts but also among celebrities. Aamir Khan, Salman Khan, Akshay Kumar, Sachin Tendulkar, Sunny and Bobby Deol, Sanjay Dutt, Rakesh Roshan, Abhishek Bachchan, Kapil Dev and Akshay Khanna are among those who play Squash. The sport enjoys the support of many influential people as well as large Indian companies like the Leela Group (Hotel chain) and Jindal Iron and Steel. Recently, when ISP organised the 50th Squash Championship, Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee appreciated the sport in his letter saying, "Squash is gaining popularity both as a sport and as a means to achieve physical fitness." In another letter received by ISP the Big B Amitabh Bachchan says, "It will come as no surprise to all of us to soon see ‘India’ as a strong contender the world over, in this dynamic sport."

Despite this rise in status of Squash as a sport, it does not enjoy official status in Thane. One reason could be the lack of facilities. Until recently, there were only two Squash Courts in the city, both at the Dadoji Kondeo Stadium in Thane. The good news is that Verma, who is himself an official coach at the Jindal Squash Academy and member of ISP as well as SRAM, intends to change all this and is working towards getting official recognition for Squash in Thane. In order to promote Squash, Verma is planning a week-long camp mid next month. The camp will cover essentials of squash like field-training sessions, fitness and strength training, speed, squash technique and tactics and the importance of nutrition and diet. "In Squash, stamina is as important as technique – and if you dream of playing at the international level, then it is equally important to develop both your stamina and your technique to match world standards," the ace coach explains.

Experience adventure, first hand

Experience adventure, first hand

Notwithstanding the unbearable heat, students are usually happy at this time of the year. Exams are finally over and with it has come to end the grinding timetable that they follow for months. It’s time to rejoice, unwind and enjoy two months of stress-free life. It’s also time to do all those activities that the tight academic schedule does not permit. A number of summer camps are organised by various organisations and you can consider signing up with one of them. Not only do these camps allow you the opportunity to unwind, they also teach you things that you probably cannot learn during the academic year.

Every year during this time, the city-based Jidnyasa Trust, an NGO that works for welfare of students, organises adventure camps for students of class X awaiting their board results. This year too, 44 students from various schools in Thane have enrolled for the camp and will travel to the Himalayas in the first week of April. For twenty days, starting from 04 April through 24 April, while the rest of us swelter in the high temperatures, these camping students will have fun in the Himalayan snow at 10,500 feet above sea level.

The camps are conducted by the Directorate of Mountaineering and Allied Sports, Government of Himachal Pradesh at Manali. The students will learn lots of interesting stuff like how to acclimatise their bodies to the altitudes, survival techniques on glaciers and high altitudes, environmental training, and even a few high-altitude trekking exercises. Rock climbing, rappelling, river crossing, jumaring and forest navigation is also included. In the 14-day basic skiing course, campers will learn the techniques of skiing by professionals from the Mountaineering Institute of Himachal Pradesh.

Surendra Dighe, founder of the Jidnyasa says, "Jidnyasa believes in the all-round development students. Therefore, we lay as much emphasis on extra-curricular activities as on academics. Our objective has been to help students discover the hidden potential in them. Such adventure courses cultivate self-confidence and a spirit of adventure among the campers." Dighe adds that once students enter college, they never get to enjoy summer vacations. This is because, as they grow older, they become more career-oriented and end up spending their vacation time giving entrance tests, acquiring professional competencies or following academic pursuits that might get them some competitive edge in the careers. This was the reason to restrict enrolment only to class X students.

Away from parents and teachers, these students learn to be self-reliant and disciplined. Away from urban life, they learn to appreciate nature and wilderness. Away from the monotony of academic life, they learn about the glorious uncertainties of life. But most importantly, they learn to be with themselves, discover themselves. They experience adventure first hand. They experience what Helen Keller once said: "Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all. Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature."

While student spend their summers adventurously, why should teachers be left behind? With "Teachers’ Eco-Adventure Tour," they need not. But you’ll have to wait till next week to read about it.

Special Sports

Special Sports

School Sports Day is always fun. It’s nice to see children participating in the various sporting competitions, some winning and thrilled about it, others losing and feeling dejected and some others nonchalant about whether they’ve won or lost. And when the children competing are special, the sporting event takes on a completely different meaning as was demonstrated last week at the second Jidd School annual sports day.

On Saturday 17 January, 2004, about 50 students of Jidd School participated in the various sporting contests organised in the Dadoji Kondeo Stadium. The day began with the customary March past and salutation offered to the Chief Guest, Vijay Padwal, who is the Chairman of the Sports and Cultural Committee of the TMC. Padwal formally threw open the event, distributed sweets to the children while wishing them good luck.

There were as many as 15 different types of competitions, some normal and others that were specifically designed for the special children. For instance, children suffering with restricted mobility could participate in the straw game – entangling as many drinking straws in their hair as possible with the given time. Then there was block building – making tall structures using brick-like blocks, throwing balls in the basket and beading of laces. All these games, besides being exciting, also taught children important things such as hand coordination and various other movements.

"As teachers, we learnt a lot too, by observing these children compete, even when many of them were unable to do so. We laughed a lot. Yet, more than once, I found my eyes moist with tears of joy," said Shyama Bhonsle, Principal of Jidd School, who wanted to provide as normal an experience to her students as possible.

Vaishali Shirke, a special educator at the Jidd School, related an incident about how a nine-year old girl called Mosin Mulani, who is not only mentally retarded but also suffers from cerebral palsy, overcame her nervousness. She said, "As teachers along with her mother cheered her, the girl began to gain confidence and managed to put nine blocks one upon the other in less than a minute. Then they fell and she rebuilt the structure. They blocks kept falling and she kept re-building. The expression on her face was that of delightful happiness. And that in turn brought us joy."

Normal sporting competitions such as sack race, potato race, spoon and lemon, shot put and the three-legged race were also organised. Then there was running race for mothers and one for fathers. Another race was for wheel chaired children who were pushed by their parents. Parents truly enjoyed this one. A girl called Manali was angry with her father who, some reason got stuck and therefore she missed the first spot and stood second in the wheel chair race. Then there was an MR Child who participated and won so many contests that he did not remember how many he had won – when asked, he said he’ll ask his mother. 11-year-old Shoaib Khan 11, with Down’s syndrome, always plays well at school but in the presence of his father, he did even participate in any of the competitions.

Archana Shete, another special educator at Jidd, recounted two interesting incidents. One, when in the sack race, two winning pairs – but first one did not touch the ribbon, so the second pair was declared winner. Then there was Milind Surve who did not know when to stop in a sprint, so he kept running even after crossing the finish line – right up to the end of the stadium!

The atmosphere of the day was relaxed. There were contests for staff and a tug of war between parents and teachers too – the teachers won, because they got the support, and strength of the children. The day was filled with lots of exciting and funny incidents and laughter could be heard all around. Teachers, parents and children were all happy. And why not – after all, winning or losing was hardly a consideration. That the special children participated and tried was in itself cause for celebration.