BHUBANESWAR: December 27, the final day of the 9th Toshali Crafts Mela 2014, was a life-changing experience for many. Little did the 2000-strong crowd that had gathered to witness another cultural programme expect to be treated to a fragrant bouquet of song, dance, music and drama delivered by ones, who never in their imagination would have been capable of doing so.
The audience were transported into a state of trance as the group of fairly young autistic, visually impaired and differently abled children laid their magical spread from dance-drama ‘Mahabighnayaka Ganesh’, to songs and vocals even crooning the popular Arijit numbers to the dance presentation of Dasavatar or the evergreen Rangabati.
The boys and girls were students of Sahaya, the Red Cross Centre for differently abled children, at Cuttack. Around 16 children comprising autistic, visually impaired and other disabilities, showcased their unique talents before the general public with a soul-stirring impact. “It made me see a brave new world. An experience to remember and cherish all that is humane and good in all of us. All who watched, went home ever so reluctantly, tripping on gawky legs trying to imitate the moves and sheepishly sharing the ignorance of having failed to see the divinity of creation,” , Wing Commander Sunil Banerjee said after seeing the performance.
“In 1992, we started working on drama as a therapy for bringing about behavioural modifications in hyperactive and autistic children as an experiment. The results have been stupendous as autistic children have outgrown their autistic traits”, Secretary Sahaya Mrinalini Padhi said.