It was a mind-blowing performance, where words fail to convey even an iota of the perfection in portrayal and presentation. The ‘Bhagavad Gita’ on wheels by differently-abled youngsters of Guru Syed Sallauddin Pasha’s Ability Unlimited Foundation, was a picturesque ballet with the pre-recorded Sanskrit slokas in dialogue between a nervous Arjuna and a cool Krishna. The latter is the charioteer of the Pandava prince; in a way it metaphorically stands for the one who has the reins in his hand. And that is exactly what Krishna was in the entire story Mahabharata. Pre-set to beautiful music as the background score and telling lighting effect on the stage, the Guru capsuled the essence of Gita in a few verses and presented it with the help of his pupils on wheel-chairs and crutches.
The hearing-impaired girls in Bharatanatyam attire were like moving images converging into patterns as a handsome lad Krishna tries to imbibe gallantry into the visibly perturbed Arjuna on the battlefield of Kurukshetra. Arjuna, dressed in regal warrior attire, on a wheel-chair fashioned on the top like a chariot, agitatedly wheels across the stage (supposed to be the war field) questioning Krishna on the propriety of going to war against such odds — the great sire Bheesma, guru of warfare Drona and of course cousins. This was a compelling scene as Krishna gently reveals His own persona, his manifestations to avert evil taking over the earth at large from era to era. These avatars were so aesthetically recreated on stage with the girl dancers climbing on to the wheel-chair boy actors and closing in sculpturesque postures to depict the ‘matsya’ (fish-amphibian), ‘kurma’ (tortoise-amphibian and earth), the ‘varaha’(boar-animal life), ‘Narasimha’ (man-lion-semi human), etc. evolution of human race while Krishna positions himself with his crutches as the centre of godhead and universe. The crutches were very deftly used as props to represent so many things like bow and arrows, blessing, and what not. The brief but picturesque depiction of the events leading to Gita and the Vishwaroopa darshan to convince and coax Arjuna to take up his bow and arrow as he is but instrumental in the higher scheme of things, marked a compelling conclusion.
Prior to this, we had the Sufi dervish, also on wheelchairs to the song Khwaja mere khwaja... where the boys swirled like the wind, all the time manipulating their wheel-chairs with one hand while the other was held out seeking divine blessing, in the typical Sufi style. The yoga on wheels was another marvel. The best part of the show was, it did not evoke sympathy as is usually the case with handicapped; on the other hand, it evoked a sense of bewilderment, joy and contentment like any other artistic creation of excellence.
The Novotel hotel played host to the show under the aegis of Rotary.