Where differently-abled children take centrestage


Where differently-abled children take centrestage
Subhayan Dutta letters@hindustantimes.com
Hindustan Times (Kolkata)
Feb 10 2016

KOLKATA: Esha Kar, a resident of Kasba in her thirties, runs a theatre group that tries to harness the talent of differently abled children, who suffer from diseases like autism, mental retardation, down syndrome (a genetic disorder) and rod-cone dystrophy (an eye ailment).Her theatre group, ‘Kothakolom’, which formed three years back, has included differently abled children only one year ago.

Differently abled children show their acting skills.Kar thinks that these children, who are rejected by schools as they have difficulty in studying and adapting to the ambience, can be guided to act and she has been successful to a certain extent.

She said, “The key to success is patience. I cannot instruct them how to perform and make them do it. I have to understand heir problems before instructing them. But nonetheless, they are much more obedient unlike many normal children, focused and don’t give up before finishing their task. We have currently eight to nine such children doing wonders with us.”

‘Kothakalam’ performed Rabindranath Tagore’s ‘Daakghar’ at Sishir Mancha in an event recently, which had three differently abled children along with normal children. They are Souvik (12), Sunreet (19) and Atalanto (13).

“Souvik,who suffers from autism, is like the character Amal in ‘Daakghar’. He too stays in an imaginary world. He often calls me at odd times and speaks about people bullying him from the jungle and asks me to scold them,” said Kar.

She added, “Atalonto is my son. He has been going with me to the theatres for many years now. Though he suffers from mental retardation and rod-cone dystrophy, I have found that he has a knack for acting.” Kar, whose uncle was renowned sculptor Chintamoni Kar, dreams of making a theatre village, where various such children would learn the use of art and craft and become selfdependent.

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