MIDWAY : Not just theatrics

Shubekchya Sharma

A chart paper with a series of sketches lay there on the table; my friends and me were staring at it — bewildered. We didn’t speak a word, we didn’t move an inch. We would have kept on staring at it like fools, but sensing the confusion on our faces, Sanjay finally said, “Do you think the plan is convincing?” “Of course”, we chorused. It was our first day in an INGO office where my friends and me were assigned to volunteer on a puppet theatre production for Alternative Media Project. Little did we realise then how much fun lay ahead of us, what great things we would learn from it and above all, how influential was the person who was standing in front of us, of course on his brown Doctor Martens! Since I had never worked on such a project before, I doubted my capability, so I asked one of my friends, “Do you think we can really contribute to it?” He replied, “C’mon, we are contributing our time, that’s more than enough.” But I couldn’t agree with him. Contributing our time wasn’t only enough. Being given a certain responsibility, we had to give an equal amount of commitment too, besides our time.

After more than a month of hard work, our puppet drama was finally staged in a hotel, in front of the numerous international delegates. The drama was titled “Step by step”, since it made an effort to convey to the grassroots about the step farming technology. Our hard work did pay off as people applauded our creative efforts. But the one who truly deserved the applause was of course Sanjay, the captain of our ship. Assisting Sanjay on the project proved to be an enriching experience for all of us. We were exposed to the vast field of creativity of which he was an expert. We started from scratch and worked hard even on small details. Sanjay left no stone unturned while training us on theatre production. He taught us to put passion and enthusiasm into whatever we did. From Nanglo’s momos to the roadside tea, he treated us with utmost hospitality. Sanjay had once said, “After working on this project, you guys might even consider rethinking about what you want to do in life.” At that time I had thought he was wrong. But now I realise, I was wrong. In a world, which is constantly trying to mislead the youngsters, there still are people like Sanjay who really take pains to be a good influence on today’s youth. Like the adage, “Great men tell you how to get where you’re going; greater men take you there.” For my friends and me, Sanjay Madnani proved to be great as well as greater.