Nanda's weeks of prayers and wishes for clear skies on the night of the event seemed to have fell upon responsive ears, for the clouds that evening hung in the periphery of a vivid sky from whose beams of radiance the ancient lines of Patan Durbar glistened proudly.
The children entered through the crowds of wandering souls into the museum courtyard, carrying sacks of show costumes, drums, harmoniums, and water jugs. A set of framed black and white photos greeted the children in the courtyard, shots that had been taken the week prior at the Mitrata-home – candid images of day-to-day life at the orphanage. It was the first time the kids had seen these photos. Their beaming smiles betrayed any appearance of modesty they dared to achieve – tonight they were stars.
And the sky that night was set afire with their song. As they opened with a greeting in chorus, palms pressed together, each of them bedecked in the show’s regalia, the sound “Om” struck a heartfelt chord as each child pronounced it. The sweetest moment of all to see was perhaps their solemn faces, each one an exquisite dance of bashfulness, confidence, excitement, and hope.
The show was a hit. The children had as much fun as the audience did. To join in their sense of accomplishment was worth the price of the entrance fee. It was a testament to how hard work can pay off – and what a great lesson for all of these children to have learned, and in what a wonderful fashion. This was the power of song and dance at work. This was living proof of human achievement.
Minako and our Japanese guests put on a stellar performance of dramatic beauty, tradition, folky humor, and sing-along. The real talent here lied in engaging the audience, who were kept at the edge of their seats for most of the performance - a perfect ending worthy of a standing ovation.
Nanda must have been moved enough to conquer her stage fright as she stepped into the spotlight and gave her thanks and blessings to all who had come. Then her and Minako exchanged a hug that could only be called the embrace of two sisters. You could feel the love. It was really there - in all the children’s eyes and in the hearts of all who’d worked so hard to make this event happen.
After the courtyard had cleared and the stagehands were finishing their packing, Nanda remarked how relieved she was that it was all over, and that she couldn’t imagine organizing another show. Sure it was a lot of work – during a technical hiccup, I’d overheard William from Playing for Change say, “It takes great mental presence to pull off a live show.” No doubt it took a lot of stamina and coordination. But chances are it was Nanda’s tired tongue in the late hour talking. Perhaps she’ll just need a little encouragement to keep the shows going. As for the children – you can bet your pants that won’t be their last performance. Nope. Those kids are just way too talented. Seems to me they’ve just begun.