Friday, August 27, 2010

Our Community

The kids love to color & draw. I took this opportunity to make them map out their community on paper. I gave them a very simple brief, that they must think of the community as though they were seeing it from a birds point of view. I also got them to understand what a birds eye view means.

To begin with I told them to imagine the map of India and how everything is flat even though it really isnt. Then I went on to explain to them that color was very important as they all needed to decide which color would indicate what on the map.

This was a great exercise as the kids were very enthusiastic about making a map of their own space and they even ran around counting the number of houses per floor just to make sure.

The map is by no means indicative of scale. If anything its just a really fun representation of this community. Thats because I didn't get into the space of measuring things as I didn't really see the need to get into technicalities.

Sahil, who loves to build things actually made a little pop up version of his own building. I didn't ask him to do this, but he just really enjoyed this whole mapping exercise for some reason!

I got them to mark out their own homes on this map.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Icons & Aspirations

The kids love to talk about football and cricket, most of them play everyday. Even the girls love the watch the game. I wanted the kids to share with each other and us who their favorite icons were and whom they looked up to. I did not define the kind of people that had to go on the charts, I simply told them to look through old newspapers or magazines lying around to find pictures of people they dream to be or whom they look up to.We spent the class making boards of all the cut outs brought. I thought this would be an interesting insight into what the kids really are exposed to and how media effects them in their environment.

Vaibhav has a book that he has been using as a scrap book to paste images and moments that he wants to document himself. He brought the book to class. Here are a few of the pages.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Yuva Pratishthan, A video by Tammy Khajotia

Tammy, a close friend and a very talented film maker, recently made a video for Yuva Pratishthan which was screened at the independence day celebrations.

You can check the video out at :!/video/video.php?v=978937289669

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Independence Day Celebrations

Yuva Prathistan is the NGO with which I have tied up to conduct these workshops. They do alot of work in the community as I mentioned before. The kids love to dance, act and basically just perform so to aid activities in that direction Yuva Pratishtan organized an event for the 15th of August.

Founders and supporters of the NGO were invited to watch the show. The hall with a capacity of 350 people was packed with kids from the community and invitees. While working with the kids, they mentioned the event more than a 100 times as they were so excited about it.

Please view the NGOs website too A special thanks to Naman Pugalia, Shaan S. Khanna, Harsh Sheth and Param Gandhi who've been very supportive of my project!

The kids wanted to click pictures themselves, so they asked me to carry the cameras along 
and became the official photographers of the event!

The hall, costumes and snacks were all sponsored and organized by Yuva. Post the event, which was at Marine Drive,  I went to the community for class, but no one was in the mood for it! The entire community was celebrating in the corridors, playing games and dancing. Instead of class, I visited some of the children's homes to meet their family members and wish them a happy independence day.

Musical chairs in the corridors!
Meeting friends and family members

things we like and things we dont

Now that I've spent quite a bit of time with the kids, I have realized that they like to be given limitations and they work better when they're forced to think. So, this time around when I did the exercise, I made each of them tell me what they were going to click before they went out to click it.

I also have to play the bad guy, which sort of sucks! But I have to yell in a terribly constructed hindi sentence and warn them that if they go around clicking pictures of random stuff their camera will be confiscated! I find this funny, because the kids, repeat the sentences and snigger because my hindi is alright, but my marathi - is well, pathetic and for the last few classes I've been alone and thats been forcing me to learn a bit of it which is a good thing !

Things that they like
"God helps us, so I like him."
"This is my best friend"
"My dadi is no more, but I still love her" - This image is taken from a cell phone screen
"I love Bob Marley" - On asking him if he's heard of any Bob Markey song, he said "No! But I'd love to sometime." An insight on how kids create icons based on image and culture.
"VT station is very beautiful"
"My father works very hard for all of us"
"Football is the best thing ever! I play on the terrace all the time and on Sundays I go to Azad Maidan."
"I love all my friends in the community, they make living here fun an I never get bored."
"The trains from VT go very far, I like to go there and look at what everyone is doing. It makes me wonder where they are going and for what purpose." - Vaibhav is 19 years old. He is my oldest student but cant write comfortably in any language - hindi, english or marathi. He has a superb eye for color, which I can tell after seeing just a few of his pictures. He is keen to use photographs to express himself since he finds it hard to study and write.
"This is my brother. Together we take care of our pet chick."
"I love spongebob. I watch it all the time on TV."
"Vada Pav is the best snack. We come here often and eat specially on Sunday."
"I love our community. There is always something to do and someone to play with. I never feel alone over here because we are always together."
"Amer Khan is my favorite actor!"
"Sumeet bhaiya helps all of us. He is always there for us, without him we would all be very unhappy."
"I like the area that our community is in. There is always traffic and the noise makes me feel like something is always going on."
"I love coca-cola. Just like Kareena Kapoor!"

"Cricket is so much fun. I love to play the game. I also like to watch all the matches on TV. I have never been to a match, but I really want to go one day!"

"Many boys in the community own a bike. I wish that when I grow up, I can own one of my own too."
"I live with my grandmother and even though she is old, she takes care of me."

Things that they dont like 

"People drink here alot and then throw away the bottles everywhere!"
"This is near the corridor window. All the windows have so much dirt collected. I wish people would keep our building clean."
"When my friends from college come to visit, they see all these clothes hanging in the corridor and tell me it looks bad. I really don't like that."

"This is a dirty habit! I will never do it."

"My father passed away, but I wish he was with us."

"I dont like this house at all. This boy who always troubles me lives here. When I have to pass by this house, I run very quickly to avoid him!"
"People throw all sorts of things outside the window. It falls down into the common areas and looks so dirty."
"People who live here are always spitting tobacco. It has made most areas in the community very ugly and smelly."
One of the boys got one of his friends to act like a drunkard! He said "People here get drunk all the time. It is very sad, but sometimes I find it funny." He created a small story with the pictures.

"My brother looks cute, but he annoys me a lot. I don't like him most of the time"
"I hate homework. I always get punished in school for not finishing it."
"I dont like that people have to sleep everywhere. I wish our houses were a little bigger and then this wouldn't have to happen."
"My father drinks this desi daru. It smells and when he drinks it he becomes angry."

I have tried to iterate the explanations the kids gave me very simply. They all were to explain in short why they took the pictures that they did.

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