Thursday, August 27, 2009

Points of view and imagining possibilities in 'The Lights Changed''

This workshop was one of the 10 sessions of a Reading Club Workshop held in a school in Matunga called Shishuvan. I rate this school as one of the better schools in Mumbai, where the stress is on the process and not the end. There are no exams till Class 8.

I liked nearly all the stories in the collection titled Sorry, Best Friend!. The Lights Changed is a personal favourite. Given the fact that it was very short I chose it for the session so that the children could read it fast and we would have lots of time to discuss and do activities based on it.

Some of the questions we discussed after the children read the story were:
• Why was the story titled The Lights Changed? Just because the lights changed at each meeting, or could there be some other reason as well?

• Tell the story from Sameer do’s point of view.

• Enact each of the four meetings

• Suppose Sameer do met Sameer ek after the riots, i.e. for the 5th time, what would their conversation be?

• If you were Sameer ek what kind of help would you offer?
(The children came up with a host of practical, liberal, secular suggestions. From giving an ad in the newspaper, to contacting some one in the Police in Meerut to track Sameer do’s parents to offering Sameer do some education or vocational guidance, it was a plethora of wonderful ideas.)
• Are there any other names which are common to both Hindu and Muslim children?
• Try and explain in your words what subject means to someone who has never been to school.

- Loveleen Misra
, Actor and Storyteller

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