Setting up the stage in Chitwan

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We were pretty anxious about our performance day in Chitwan. We toured the highest number of schools/ colleges in Chitwan than in any other city. There were some too hard to handle classes as well, where some of us almost lost our cool. There were also some adorable ones, with excited faces and hands raised to ask “Can 13 year olds fill your forms too?” (We usually only take in forms from 14 to 24 year olds). Overall, the response had been great- excited faces and some unusual requests and calls in the middle of the night asking us if they could perform at our show.

Our Narayanghat bhaiharu who had been helping us coordinate, manage, implement and publicize our tours and event were of opinion that we might get more people than the seating capacity (100 people) in Udhyog Banijya Sangh hall, the  venue we had booked for our public event. We didn’t take it seriously but we were also a bit concerned and a bit excited, what if there was a bigger turn out and we weren’t ready for it. And what if people showed up and demanded we let them perform as well. Kshitiz dai, our videographer, joked he’d be happy if there was drama.

On the day though, ten minutes before the show was about to start, only a handful of people had shown up. We were setting up our stage, decorating it with origami cranes, boats and butterflies (a regular now at our events). I and Suzin bhai, who had been helping us throughout this trip, taking us out for the delicious mewaad, other food cravings and our shopping spree, posted our few final posters we had left on the gate of the venue and decided we were ready to start.  We settled into the comfort that we would be performing for a regular number of crowd. I was also somewhat saddened that not many people showed up like we had initially thought. But we decided to start, after only 15 minutes delay than our fixed time. A pat on our backs for improvement on punctuality, as we had almost developed a habit of waiting around for the audience to build up.

As the show progressed though, more people started showing up. Before we knew it, we had a full house.  It was a wonderful show. Bhupeen dai (Poet Bhupeen Bhupeen) also performed with us. Everything went smooth and the crowd was amazing- very quiet though compared to our usual poetry crowd.

While on stage, I was thinking about how when we were planning this, Bishal bhai , one of our enthusiastic bhaiharu, had said they could block the road, set up a stage, gather a big crowd and have us perform. I had laughed as I thought that would be too crazy. Who would be interested in hearing our poetry on street? But he was pretty serious and I bet he and his gang could have pulled it off too. But we decided we’d keep it “small” this time and once we had done our workshops here and would have local spoken word poets from Chitwan, only then we’d do the road block-set up stage- gather a big crowd event.

With the enthusiasm we saw in the tour and the amount of forms we’ve been gathering, I have a feeling that day isn’t too far.

 

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