Magenta Ice-creams in... Art Eclair! - Priyanka Dass Saharia It was another tiring Thursday, with the Statistics tutorials and the insipid, never-ending classes. I was tired, ready to crash right after I enter my dingy room in Rudra North. But no! It was Thursday, I had promised to take the Art classes in the street school that I was a part of- Éclair. I couldn’t miss it for anything. There were kids waiting for me, I couldn’t disappoint them, I DIDN’T want to. They waited for this one hour of the day, where they could be doing things which they liked- messing around with paints, laughing, playing games... doing what they should have been at this age. I always felt that this one hour was very precious to them, something that they looked forward to, and I couldn’t disappoint them and break their hearts. So after a quick shower, I packed my bag with paints, brushes and pencil colours. I reached there... Jalnidh was already there waiting for me with the kids. I looked at her – Jalnidh never failed in being there on time, it was like éclair was her world, I marvelled at her unselfish devotion and commitment towards the kids.

We started with Keshu suggesting we do what they liked best- It’s the ‘Wish’ art. I drew a thing for them, their favourite snack, or fruit or ice-cream, and they took immense pleasure in colouring that object.
Sometimes if I drew an ice-cream stick instead of the waffle cone, Bhoora would immediately perk up- “Didi, cone bana do na!” Then we would all colour them together. I must say the ice creams were quite befitting for the museum... all in shades of glittery silver, magenta, the darkest shade of indigo and solid brown. The innocence of the kids around me, would affect me.

I would look at their happy faces; it was like their colouring those very things compensated for the pleasure of not having the chance to eat them on a frequent basis. We, all the volunteers at Éclair, were always filled with an inexplicable sense of peace and faith in the ‘goodness ‘of things after our Éclair sessions. One day, instead of the usual, systematic colouring and working with brushes, we decided to have some fun. I opened the colour boxes and the children smeared their hands in colour and paints. They splattered the paint on paper, made designs with their coloured hands, got leaves and made shapes on the sheets. It was just so much FUN, to say the least. We even went a notch up and made paper planes and boats. And when one plane fell in the pond of mud and little Bhoora went to retrieve it, he fell down in there and had to be immediately sent home to wash up and put on clean clothes.

Every art class, though we had few,( as the kids soon starting coming to me, in college for classes and some went back to their villages), were memorable. I learnt to let go of my guard, have fun and most importantly be thankful of all that I have in my life. If God has given some of us more privileges than others, it is only so, that we help and share and make everyone happy around us, especially the ones, who are less fortunate than us. We can only do this if we are happy and grateful of what we have, in the first place. We should cherish Life and believe in its beauty, be it the ups or the downs. Éclair and my experiences and the little kids have taught me that... I would be ever so thankful to my good friend and the founder of Éclair, Jalnidh for giving me the chance and would hope, with all my heart that this is just the beginning of many more Éclair evenings to come... with Painted hands and Magenta Icecreams with waffle cones
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