By Kushal Pahuja
It was 4:30 in the evening. My session was about to end in 15 minutes. The children were playing a game in which one person walks around the circle (formed by the children), taps someone else’s shoulder and both of them run in the opposite directions. They greet each other while crossing one another and continue running in the opposite direction to take an empty place in the circle.
It had been raining the entire day. I heard someone knock on the door. I knew from my previous session that it must be a parent or a guardian who had come to pick up their child – I was right.
“Not now, I will come afterwards,” a girl answered when she caught sight of her guardian.
Soon, we had another visitor. I heard a similar answer, “Wait a while, I will join you in some time.”
It was a contrast to what had happened last week when children were ready to leave as soon as they saw someone had arrived to take them home. It was clear that they were enjoying the game, awaiting their turn to tap someone‘s shoulder and grab that empty place in the circle.
I was too busy to acknowledge what I had just witnessed; preoccupied with thoughts of how I would avoid a chaotic situation, what I’d do if someone tripped and hurt themself, how I would end the session, etc.
It was only when I was on the way back to my hostel, exhausted but relieved after having facilitated four sessions, that I realized I was part of something that was special to the children. This realization hit home even though there was no doubt that it was the game that kept them engaged and that I was a mere facilitator.
It made me realize that, as a facilitator, this is what I am supposed to do. Children know how to have to fun; they know how to live in the moment. I just have to facilitate, just be there to witness them having fun, and to help them if they need help.
Kushal Pahuja joined Apni Shala as a programme fellow after finishing his Masters in Clinical Psychology from Pune University. When he is not in class building life skills with children, Kushal enjoys reading about psychology, and writing poetry.