By Sachi Sawant, HS Campus Journalism, Grade 11, East Campus
On 31 January, East Campus held the annual event Kahaani (which translates to ‘story’ in Hindi) for the Voice Of World NGO in Kolkata, India which they support through Kolkata GC. On the day of the event, students were visited by Mr Saibal Guha and Mr Sukumar Chakraborty, who spread awareness about the organisation’s motto which is ‘service to mankind’. The organisation has now been successfully running for 26 years and supports people who are visually impaired, lower-income, intellectually disabled, and the elderly with multiple projects aiming towards education and social rehabilitation.
This year the theme of Kahaani was a spin on the classic tale of Cinderella. The narration began with Cinderella dancing at a ball, however, she fumbles during a step and falls. The prince questions this and she reveals to him that she is blind. This displeases the prince and he asks her to leave the ball if she stumbles again. Dejected, Cinderella then leaves hastily, causing her shoe to be left behind; the prince, wanting to return it to her, embarks on a journey all across India in search of her. The eight dances represent all the areas of India the prince travels to and while traveling he comes across people who are achieving amazing feats such as climbing mountains despite having physical or mental disabilities, allowing him to gain a new perspective as he passes by different cities with their own traditions. This is showcased by the unique dances of North, East, South and West India. When he is reunited with Cinderella he seeks her forgiveness, she accepts it and they have a happy ending. The finale included enthusiastic teachers dancing to an upbeat song followed by all the dancers making a final appearance.
The dances were choreographed by eighteen hard-working, talented dance leaders. This year there were eight musical performances as well, adding more harmony to the joyous evening, bringing the total number of people participating in Kahaani to an astounding 254. It has definitely come a long way since its humble beginnings in 2014 when it started out with 50 dancers portraying only visually impaired people. Now, it aims to encompass a wider range of disabilities that people face. Three chairs of Kolkata GC: Aditi, Shawronna and Mallika choreographed the show order and the dance the chairs collectively performed (with them role playing Cinderella and the Prince). They, along with a few other members of Kolkata GC, helped to take us on the Prince’s journey throughout India.
Kahaani supports the residential areas Voice Of World provides for visually impaired children. This year the event received immense support with tickets to both the shows sold out and a large portion of High School students participating in the graceful dances!