Forgotten Lines and Surprising Gifts: A Recap of Chengannur School’s Showcase

Finally, it was showtime. The big day came at our school in Chengannur when our students performed the skits they’d been working on under our tutelage for the past couple of weeks.

The first grade presented Three Little Pigs, the second grade did Silly Boy and the third grade enacted Red Riding Hood. Lines were forgotten, as is usually the case under the jitters of amateur theatrical opening day, but all in all things went rather smoothly considered how little time we’d had to work with our budding thespians. At least those who’d been inclined toward prima donna syndrome shook it off and displayed teamwork. The kids performed for an appreciative audience of fellow students, teachers and parents – which, interestingly enough, consisted entirely of fathers and no mothers.

At the beginning of the program, the school director made a touching little speech in which she praised our efforts and presented us with some surprise going-away gifts.

There was a box of sweets popular in this region. There was a cool heavy-duty shoulder bag bearing the logo of her writers’ conference. There was a book about an ancient Indian female poet and activist. And best of all, there was a handsome hand-painted pewter figure of the Hindu deity Shiva, one of the three great gods of Hinduism, generally depicted as a multi-armed dancer. Shiva is the god of, among other things, yoga and the arts, so she thought it an appropriate gift for the likes of us.

The figurine is a little over a foot tall, so it required a bit of rethinking how we pack our bags. It’s flat on one side, so it can be hung on a wall easily enough, but it also has a built-in semi-circular stand, so it can be displayed on a desk or table. Wherever we make our home during the rest of the tour, we can unpack Shiva and station him so he stands guard, ready to lend one of his supernumerary hands.

We said goodbye to the teachers, and then took a little ride with the director to say goodbye to her daughter, who had been attending her own school that day, and by whom we’d been charmed on our trip to the elephant reserve. Then it was back home to start packing, and getting ready to leave what had been our home for the past month.

One of the Storage…errrr…Classrooms

Found One Feathered Friend

June 27 - July 1, 2022

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