“I’m drawing the tiger, my favorite animal, because it’s the only one prancing in the wide jungle with no fear. I want to be like a tiger – fearless.”

A 7-year old child from one of our project areas, maintaining his unflinching attention towards his drawing, says, “I’m drawing the tiger, my favorite animal, because it’s the only one prancing in the wide jungle with no fear. I want to be like a tiger – fearless.”  Milan 2019 aimed at helping our project area children find their voice through different art forms and workshops, and so, post lunch, the off-stage events took place. Each event creatively focused on teaching values to every child – through Rangoli, they played with colours to depict Christmas through which the children learnt the importance of teamwork. In Clay Art, they developed a new perspective to look at nature. In ‘Pick and Speak’, with topics like favourite subject, teachers and dreams. The children pierced through the audience with their bold words in their Recitation event, and in the Colouring event they filled colours in the shapes given to them. Informative workshops on waste management, rights and judiciary, and origami were also conducted by the University students. 

After a short break, the children had a theatre workshop organised by 2 student production teams – Last Minute Productions and Kahale, from the Department of Commerce. The kids participated in fun-filled activities and were given a task to come up with their own stories. The children, through fun and teamwork, learned about a new expressive art form. Throughout the afternoon, our children were part of these many creative events organized by their own ‘Annas’ and ‘Akkas’. The off-stage events helped the kids express their views with creativity and passion. After all, art is what moves the world. After all, as Pablo Picasso aptly pointed out, “Every child is an artist”.

“Dance like nobody’s watching, sing like nobody’s listening.” After the off-stage events were completed, the kids and volunteers gathered in the Dharmaram Auditorium and the on-stage events kickstarted with an outstanding dance performance by the students from Subhash Nagar, who uplifted everyone’s spirits with their magenta dresses and intricate steps. This opening performance was followed by the release of the Milan Trailer, which excited the kids with the melodic theme song of Milan.

This was followed by a musical performance by all the project areas, themed on friendship, with Vriddhi presenting a poster saying “Few Relations On Earth Never Die”. After days and months of volunteering for Milan, and interacting with fellow volunteers from other campuses, this quote really touched a nerve. Next in line was the theatrical display by all the project areas on the theme of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan. While 3D used reverse psychology to portray the need to sensitize people regarding the importance of Swachh Bharat, Hoskote presented a dystopian scenario where Gandhi ji had travelled forward in time, only to witness India’s current condition.

Next up, were the dance performances by all the project areas – the kids put up a commendable show, grooving to some foot-tapping numbers. The special dance performance by facilitators from the Bastar project was mind-blowing. Last but not least, were the Mime performances, on the theme of Hygiene and Environment. The kids made a compelling case about how the educated class is ignorantly wasting the resources, which can lead to adverse effects on the environment.

 The events ended on a very positive note, with the kids and volunteers understanding the need to bring out a change in the world which cries out to be preserved for a generation yet to witness its beauty.

-By, Shravanthika Sivasankar, Kishnika Dhawan and Vani Ambardar