Aha! The Epilogue
Alas the end is near for Mystic-D*, it is time to tweak the moustache and ‘Honk Honk Ding-a-ling’ for one last show before packing the magic away and flying back to dear old Blighty. 😦
Since arriving in Mumbai on 2nd January 2012 fresh off the back of a new year hangover and into the disorientating sights and smells of India, one realises how far the whole team has developed and along with it the show and teaching. On personal levels we have overcome many obstacles, spending hours in meetings debating various subjects including the curriculum and whether or not the children were benefiting the best they could from the workshops we had created and working on what positive changes could be made to make them better.
Part of making our workshops better was improving on a personal level skills we were not too familiar with. An example of this is Charlotte who having only recently learnt to hoop is, as I write, practicing new hoop moves and routines on the roof of our hostel, so that she can advance her teaching to the children of Future Hope, Calcutta. The personal aims and objectives of the group are essential on the tour in keeping things fresh and the pleasure we get from achieving our objectives rubs off on the children we meet along the way.
Each person has been on hand in their expert field to lend a hand to others in the group that want to learn. Our resident contortionist Jess, has been leading stretching sessions to improve flexibility and handstand classes, unfortunately I still can’t twiddle my moustache with my toes but i’m working on it. Emily however is having far more success with her bridges and I hasten to add has perfected her pirate impressions!
Whilst Gottfried has perfected his handstand and has never looked back, literally, he only see’s the world from an upside down viewpoint these days!
Tom and I have also been leading some clown and voice workshops to improve both presence and projection on stage and in a noisy classroom full of very excitable children. Many of us and the residents of Calcutta were shocked at how loud we could really be, even our very own softly spoken Leo created noises Mr Pavarotti would be proud of!
I think what we have all found out is that it is never too late to learn and if you think you can’t do something you just needed someone to show you and push you to learn, which is indeed what all this learning malarky is for, to make us realise what it takes to learn these skills and use our experiences to pass on to the children we teach.
…and what have I learnt I hear you ask? Well firstly that if you jokingly tell an Indian child to unicycle into town to get you a veg sandwich they will most definitely take you seriously…practice makes perfect though!
…AND that the only alarm clock you need on tour is the Tom trumpet fart, triumphantly on time, every time (it’s a sensory experience).
But aside from that I come away obviously frustrated at not being able to complete the tour but thankful to all the children I have encountered that have enlightened my experience, thankful to all the team and new found friends for teaching me new skills like unicycle and club juggling that I have been able to pass on to the children and for being a joy to work with I will miss them all and of course thankful to India for showing me the struggles, the joys and the damn right bizarre and of course that ‘sab kuch milega’ (anything is possible).
One of the highlights of my tour is definitely the call and response phrases the children responded to so well, little did we know that messing about in a Mumbai hostel mimicking the traffic below would lead to “Honk Honk Ding-a-ling” being shouted from passing cars, rickshaws, bikes, trains, houses, schools from everywhere we have taught and it’s like a little piece of PWB stays with them until next time, it never ceases to make me smile…even from my sickbed…or was that just the stomach cramps?
PWB are a symbol of hope for the children we have met and are yet to meet in Darjeeling and for as long as you hear “HONK HONK DING-A-LING” that little bit of hope, spark, magic whatever you want to call it will reappear and that’s enough for me to go home with…until next time… shabadabdaba… doobiedoobiedoobie…honk honk ding-a-ling… KABOOM!
*The number one Magician and dancer in India