Day: 20 March 2019
Time: 2:15 pm
Place: Bhakti park, Wadala, Mumbai
I am taking a taxi with my daughter Diaa, age 6 years and little sister Prerna, age 30 years to The Seventh Sense movement centre, near chowpatty beach. We are headed that way to attend a paint play session by Prerna Bagaria’s Mann Mela. What I am really looking forward to is watching the two angels of my life in action. The elder one, how does she tackle a gang of kids aged 3-6 for 2 hours. The younger one, how does she react to the totally new world of umpteen possibilities which I am introducing her to today.
Time: 4:00 pm
Venue: The seventh sense movement centre
When she entered the venue, after climbing the flight of stairs, three floors to be precise, she was welcomed by serenity, peace, and calmness. The fresh cool breeze made her forget her breathlessness and my daughter seemed to embrace it with her small open arms. First impressions last long!! She was already eager to begin her journey with paints. Unable to contain her excitement, prerna allowed her to help in the pre session preparations. Removing the covers from the canvas boards, assembling the easels, putting the aprons in place for kids to pick, sticking the big mat in place, and other simple ways to take the load off her dear masi.
Soon, the other kids arrive and the journey starts or rather unfolds, bit by bit, stroke by stroke, paint by paint. What I witness for the next 2 hours just doesn’t cease to amaze me even for a second. Armed with a brush, armoured in aprons to protect against unwarned splashes of paint, they start of with a simple session of pencil and paper, move on to paints on canvas, then different paints and so on. The sessions just flow from one to another without the kids realising that they have actually been introduced to so many things. The start of each session makes them more excited and by the end of it, they are hungry for more stimulation, more innovation, more expression and more curiousity.
Then comes the climax, the finale. The young paint warriors set out to conquer the world of their imagination. The canvas is now not limited to their easels, the walls are thrown open to them. The paint brushes are not the only weapons, take your pick from a wide variety of tools or bare hands will do the trick. The aprons are flunged in the air. They are fearless, unstoppable, ready to take the bull by the horn. Next, You see a blob here and a splash there, a stain above and a mark below, a print to the left and a sketch to the right, a drip here and a spray there, and lo and behold!!! The plain boring white wall is transformed into a storyboard. There are stories of
joy,(look at my handprint!!),
happiness( I made a circle!!),
excitement( can I paint anywhere on this wall!!),
Generosity( you share your tool with me and I will share my paint with you),
Boredom ( I have tried everything, now what do I do)
curiosity( what if I dip this tool in this colour and make a splash!!),
Possession (this is my part of the wall!),
revenge( you spoiled mine, I will spoil yours!!),
Friendship( hey look, our colours got mixed to make a new one!!)
There are so many impressions for us to interpret. If only we adults could understand it and if only we were equipped with the sensibility to interpret it. Life is a canvas, if only we let the children paint it the way they want. They want to break barriers, if only we don’t mould them into set shapes. They want to think out of the box, if only we don’t restrict them in boundaries. They want to soar the sky, if only we don’t clip their wings!!!
If any of you wish to initiate the change, then do like the Facebook page of MannMela on the link shared below and subscribe to get notified about upcoming events and camps.
More power to you Mann Mela and Prerna Bagaria.