Click! Flash! Click! The school day had begun. Blue and red armchairs had been arranged in the school building, facing the stage. Thick red carpets weaved their way through the chairs. Beautiful paintings covered the walls depicting scenes of nature: lion, deer, ocean, sunset and so on. Thick red drawable curtains covered the stage and black curtains covered the wings. If you chanced to take a peep through the red curtains, you would see a picture of America and India and in between a beautiful phrase, “Art beyond Borders”. To its right, gleaming bright, you would see the logo of Shanti Bhavan.
A shrill horn blast announced the arrival of the parents, the M.E.G band, and guests. The parents got down with enthusiasm. They were excited and were waiting to see their children. After having eaten, the parents streamed into the school building, waiting for the program to begin.
The curtains were drawn and the audience were astounded by the way, Bina of the 10th grade did her classical dance. Next the tiny tots of our school sang a Tamil song on vegetables. Next the KG toddlers taught us what each letter of “Shanti Bhavan” stands for. Next was a dance by the second, third, forth and fifth grades dancing trees, flowers, peacocks, and best of all the boys covered their heads while they painted a man’s face on their stomachs. Next we had first grade dancing to a fast Hindi song. Next we had the higher grade children perform.
The nightlingales of Shanti Bhavan, the choir sang songs from Sound of Music and Rent. They were accompanied by the Broadway stars, Michael Shawn Louis and Michelle Miller in singing. Mary-Mitchell Campbell accompanied them on the piano. Next the tenth grade girls danced a Keralite dance. The girls were dressed in Kerala saris. Then the boys of the 8th, 9th and 10th grade did a dance combining all the folk dances of India. From time to time the piano students played littles pieces on the piano, varying from “Green Sleeves” to “Non But Andrai” to “Waltzing Matilda” to Fire Elisa”. The best part of the program was the dance that Broadway star Beth Kanopka danced for us and a song Michael and Michelle sang. The program ended with much applause and the Broadway stars were thanked.
After having lunch the children and parents met and the teachers went around talking about the children. They were seated in the cherry garden. The red cherries were ripe, wanting someone to eat them. The granite stone benches were covered; the rocks too. Dry leaves crunched under the feet. Children played on the spiky grass. And wherever you look, you see smiles.