Stories that matter.
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Strive And Thrive - It's A Magic Bus Session

Game On: Explore 5 Playful Pedagogical Approaches

"They say just living is not enough. You need little sunshine, few raindrops and a tinge of freedom to experience life in a life itself." Ira Bhadoria shares an interesting experience, the Meethi Taali way.

July 15 was a day of a kind. My first visit to a Magic Bus session, and a day when I jumped (in the air) after a good, long stretch of seven years (the last time was at my school's sports meet, sack race!). Khadda Colony in Bhalaswa, North Delhi reflected quite a many aspects of Delhi, and probably every city, which most of us miss out exploring. It’s more like a universal law of binary opposites, always at play. Unkempt lanes are latent hubs of the strongest hearts; barren land-patches stand matchless with frolicking children; frowning lines precede undying laughter; and hope exudes survival of the weakest. To strengthen the same, refreshing rain followed the bright sunny morning that day.

While waiting for the session to begin, I took a momentary plunge to observe the preparation time for the same. Motion in every little corner charged up the air. Clad in blue uniform, the Team (comprising the Youth Mentor and Community Sports Coaches) offered an assuring signal to young minds treading towards the site. Reena, the Youth Mentor, highlighted few significant features of the session for me. Usually, the session schedule includes a triplet of tasks. This time, however, it was a warm-up session followed by a Football match and Damroo-daud. Sheer energy shone in the participation and even I was prompted to join the jumping activities back-to-back. There was a unique exuberance in their very spirit to relax, completely let loose. I observed a bustling lot of young guys who greeted each other, and of course me, in their unique Meethi Taali style. Oblivious up then what it was all about, what today stays crystal clear in my mind is a glowing picture of many fluttering fingers in the air, and countless flashing bright smile - no sound at its play, yet so rhythmic and absolutely divine!

To each one of us, Meethi Taali is warm welcome, a kind of healthy handshake that invokes a sudden rush of joy and instant radiating smiles. Popular among kids as Pyaar ki Taali or the Clap of Love, it was originally coined by children at Magic Bus, Mumbai. To everyone who’s good, it is an acknowledgement, a cheerful booster. To those who are new, it is a warm invitation, a lasting promise. To children, among themselves, it is an understood code of conduct, just like Pilelo-Ho, an expression of get-going, cooperation and love. Hustling chirpy fingers and twinkling bright eyes, and that’s Meethi Taali which lets the spark glowing. A near-about scientific perspective that fed my curiosity, “It saves a lot of energy, you see, no noise, just silent playful greeting”, to which I probed upon later but could not respond. Yes, no doubt it saves a lot of energy, but only to fuel extra charged energies into everyone. For it is so ‘meethi’ that you are bound to feel special. Garnering extra love, appreciation and wholeheartedness, it keeps you going like never before!

The second event in the row was a Football match. Being the morning slot, this session included only boys and so, Football! As the boys chased the ball, I chose to chase their strokes, enthusiasm and the spirit to play. And believe me, nothing could be more unifying at that moment- togetherness and competition went hand-in-hand. The critical turn of the match was exciting to watch and it did yield, but no winners, just thunder showers!

As the rain slushed, the kids turned more jubilant and playful. The match continued, with intermittent splashing of mud, bouncy dance moves and extra gaiety and vigor. Damroo-daud, which was omitted because of the rain, sufficed to evoke joy by its very name. It was interesting to note the punctuality chords of the children. At the right time, they receded towards their homes to join the afternoon school schedule, and thus, the session concluded - one complete circle from hasty morning steps to responsible step-ahead towards education. And nowhere, in between, the sync dwindled. The session began with an impetus and that too, with no limits.

Through with the session, I was fortunate enough to get a community visit. It offered me an insight to the lives of many marginalized people, who are not just surviving, but living all joyfully in the toughest of situations.

All in all, it was a new day, in every possible sense. Sports session coupled with interaction to many sporty heart. I returned renewed and energized.

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