|Muntazir, Udit, Priiya & Diksha - Offtrack (Photo courtesy: Rahul Karan)|
In reformatories, shelters and temporary homes, pandies’ volunteer facilitators have been doing workshop theatre with over 400 children ‘rescued’ from the platforms in Delhi and Rajasthan. The workshops have to be conducted in some form of incarceration because if one goes after these children on the platforms they vanish to another platform, another life. A few weeks on the platform and the child is into drug abuse and sex-work.
pandies’ workshops create theatre with these children spanning their lives at home, the travails and highs of platform living, at the shelters and for those who return home, issues of return. Stories of neglect, of exploitation and maltreatment, of being treated as Nobody’s children. Through the medium of collective dramatising the children go through a therapeutic process, demand what they seek from society, try create a collective vision of the future and above all, present a scathing critique of valorised institutions of middle class social living.
There is also the linking story of the young who facilitate them. Sagas of youthful, nonconformism. Narratives of their trauma of working with these children, of confronting truths and lies of their own middle class existence.
Offtrack is an attempt to recreate these stories. Five stories off the tracks, from the platforms, from the skits made by the platform young looking at the world from their perspective. Five stories laced with hard humour, overflowing with joy and sorrow of living. These stories strung together with vignettes from the lives of their facilitators.
When the two voices come together, they present a challenge to all norms of structured living. Asking for greater resources and fundamental changes in policies vis-a-vis these children, Offtrack takes another step in pandies’ movement towards a theatre of Confrontation asking its audience to define better ‘roles’ for itself.
To see more photos of Offtack click here
To watch a video of Offtrack click here
For online review on Offtrack click here