For 180 children and grownups with special needs, Sunday was a joyride. They plunged into the festive air of Canara School in Dongerkery to break the routine of school and home.

Asha Jyoti was a no holds barred mela for persons with special needs. Camels, horses, swings, slides, jokers, food — you name the fun ingredient, and it was there.

C.G. Pinto, General Manager, Corporation Bank, inaugurating the event, said everyone should be involved in the cause of the differently-abled.

Children and persons with disabilities sat patiently in the audience during the “inauguration”. They were from Chetana Special School, St. Agnes Special School, Sanidhya School and Mangalajyothi Integrated School, Vanamjoor. Once the mela was declared open, no time was lost. There were several games such as the carousel and the slide atop an inflatable ‘jaaro bande’. Three or four clowns in full costume kept the air light. There were stalls selling snacks – from ‘paani puris’ to soft drinks and buttermilk.

While many special and differently-abled children could be seen going for the camel and horse rides (sometimes three of them atop the camel), shrieking as they went around in the carousel and the swings, or clambering up the slide (instead of climbing up the stairs and sliding down the slope). A few sat in the shade of the ‘shamiyana’ enjoying ice-creams in the sunny afternoon.

Sahana enjoyed trotting the camel, said her mother, Chetana. Shamala Kamath, a parent, said that she found Mangalore a more convenient place to stay in than Bangalore, where the traffic made it difficult for children with special needs to commute to and from school.

Ravi Rao, also a parent, said that such fairs made a welcome change to the children from the routine. “The little bit of change does help them in relaxing,” he said.

Another woman said that her daughter recognised and appreciated the antics of the clowns.

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