LIFE

Young and special

The face of young talent - participants at the event.  

ABOUT 700 special children from 31 orphanages and schools for the disabled got together on Friday at the Rotary Neeta Talent Competition to prove that enthusiasm and determination can overcome all odds. By noon the auditorium at the Karnataka Sangha School was filled with excited children whispering non-stop as they prepared to go on stage.

When the Rotary Talent competition was held for the first time ten years ago, it was only for children from orphanages and the Rotarians intended it to be a one-time only affair. However, the children who participated enjoyed it so much that they had it the next year, and the next, till it finally became an annual competition.

Though the competition was originally for children from orphanages, when the schools for disabled children expressed interest in participating, they were included too. Now, with the number of participants growing every year, and schools from even Vellore and Kancheepuram driving down to participate, it's become a fete-like affair, which the children thoroughly enjoy.

Their delight in performing for the appreciative audience was clearly evident. Though each school had just 12 minutes on stage, a good number of them crammed in as many as four events in that time so that all their talented youngsters got some time in the limelight.

Evidently, a lot of hard work had gone into the performances. Not a single child came on stage looking bored, or confused, or nervous. What's even more commendable is the fact that not only was there no sign of stage fright, but even when a dance routine became too difficult to handle, or a singer hit a note he couldn't sustain, there were no tears or I-really-don't-care shrugs.

The young performers either simply smiled and gracefully went off stage or gamely stopped, thought and carried on.

The special children put up an astounding performance. The boys from one school carefully made a human pyramid, as each child clambered over another till one small boy reached the top. Not to be outdone, the girls followed this act with one of their own.

According to their teacher they insisted on him teaching them how to make a human pyramid when they saw the boys practising.

The singing, dancing, short plays and miming went on non-stop from 12 to 6:30. Then action hero Arjun arrived, causing a minor stampede, to give away the prizes.

In the category for special children, Aikya came first, followed by Swabodhini and then Andhra Mahila Sabha. Among the orphanages the Indian Council for Child Welfare came first followed by Asha Nivas and Nesa Karam, both of which shared the second place.

By Shonali Muthalaly

Photo: S. Thanthoni