For kids deprived of childhood privileges, everything at the mall was a sight to behold.

As the glass door slid open, the eyes of six-year-old Mahesh lit up at the sight of the colourful world unveiled before him.

For someone deprived of the privileges of children of his age, everything from the sliding door to the escalator was a sight to behold.

So was the case for 40 of his friends from Don Bosco Sneha Bhavan, Palluruthy - a home for orphans, destitute, children from broken families, and even migrant children who were either runaways or those who lost their way – who visited Oberon Mall at Edappally on Thursday.

It was a world far removed from their everyday life and they were excited from the moment they set their foot inside the mall.

For some of them, the lift that took them to the game zone in the fourth floor itself was an experience as evident from their excited shrieks.

Excitement gave way to ecstasy as they were ushered into the game zone studded with numerous gaming consoles. From racing motorcycles and cars to firing guns and slotting the discs into holes to basketball, they were spoilt for choice.

Aby rushed to take the driver’s seat in the swaying simulated motorcycle and was racing along as soon as he got a few tips from the gaming zone staff. Though the motorcycles had pillion seat, no one was interest to take it, for, the fun was in riding and not in simply swaying to the skills of the rider.

Seven-year-old Ebin was so small that his head barely propped over the steering wheel of the gaming car and his foot just about reached the accelerator pedal. But that didn’t stop him from stepping on the gas though it effectively meant standing on the pedal. Adding to the mood was a background music he made on his own to match the intensity of the race he was involved in.

Jijo and Noble skipped all other gaming consoles, as they had their eyes set on the dashing cars, which they have seen children riding with their parents in movies.

Without parents on their side to get the gates to the dashing car platform open to them, they approached the gaming staff who led them to their desired object.

Adding to their excitement was a Santa who came visiting them with a bagful of gifts amidst their frenzied gaming.

“They are having a great time and an extended Christmas celebrations. We have six centres with separate homes for boys of different age groups, girls and migrant working youth. Inmates from Sneha Bhavan and Don Bosco, rehabilitation homes for children up to 13 years and high school students respectively are here,” said Fr. Varghese Pynadath, director, Don Bosco Sneha Bhavan, a joint venture of Kochi Corporation and Don Bosco.

From the gaming zone, the children went to the food court where they cut a Christmas cake and had snacks. They also strolled around the mall premises enjoying the decorations in place in connection with Christmas and New Year.

The visit was organised by Oberon Mall as part of their corporate social responsibility venture. “We wanted to share our joy with the less fortunate ones among us,” said Joji John, centre manager, Oberon Mall.

The children eventually left after spending a few hours in the mall. As the glass door closed behind them, they already had a host of memories from that brief visit opened in their mind’s eye.

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