I am still looking at the security seal clearly on my right arm. Of course, we talked about it a lot including everyone’s perspective about the day, clichés to dispel and the overall feeling on our 2 hours 50 minutes visit to the Central Jail which was surrounded by giant wall with iron forked wire on the top.
The first thing I sensed was the bird chirping peace around the campus which kicked up the negativity inside my mind.
We gathered outside the entrance like any other show day but clutched with elevated butterfly emotions. The bakery where we enjoyed our small talk in the cups of tea was selling their products made by prisoners; can you believe it? And talking about security clearance, they were helpful as well as strict in a non-judgmental way which was hard to understand considering the atmosphere.
Why It Was So Important
Now it’s the right time I should tell you that we, Yours Truly Theatre, marked the date 12th March as our first ever show inside the prison.
It sounds like news when I say it proudly to anyone. Yes, it was something big but not in the way, you might be thinking. It was an achievement because we broke many misconceptions;
Because we silently flow in the rhythm of music performed by a convict serving his terms;
Because we spent two and half hours inside those big giant walls from where most of the stories were introduced to any cinema;
Because we took our time to create one of the evidently greatest performance which compelled one person to share his brimming thoughts;
Because we broke the ice to initiate the first chapter for starting more work on humanizing insiders as most of them (as believed by the musician) were convicted due to circumstances or fate.
Theme of Appreciation and Stories
When we indulge in our first circle discussion the proposed theme, given by one of the Psycho Drama therapist and Forum theatre mentor Evan Hastings, was Appreciation which was lighter in mood and would not push any of the audience to think about why they were there.
Few of stories shared by audiences are:
1) A mother who took care of her son for more than 22 years and the son had to leave his mother because of his wife. He was feeling guilty and helpless since there was no one in the home who could take care of his mother. He wanted to appreciate mother’s effort.
2) A biker gave lift to a stranger. Once they reached to the destinations the stranger didn’t find any money in exchange of ride. The biker politely smiled and assured him that there was no need for any money. The story teller (biker) felt proud about it.
3) Once in a Goa trip, few of only Kannada speaking fellows made a small prank to their friend by telling him to go to smoke where sign board appeared. He smoke there but caught by police since board quote was ‘No Smoking’.
Oh! This story was performed in Chorus format of theatre!
4) A person carried a wounded person on his van to the hospital and all the way, he was worried about his driving license since he didn’t have one with him.
Can’t Ignore Security
If you think any less on security you are mistaken, my friend! Keeping almost 4500 prisoners including 500 women is not a kid’s job. And for visitors, they have three big 20 feet iron bars with two entrance registers for writing down your names and taking your mobiles or electronic items and body as well as bags scanning process.
The Scary Notion
At the time of leaving the campus, while we were busy with final check out process including writing down name & signature and finding our mobiles, there were few people police were bringing. Assumingly, these normal looking people were accused of some charge. They had handcuffs on their hand with big thick rope attached to it. As soon as I saw those handcuffs there was a flick of scare passed through inside my heart. I can’t tell with what thought I was getting that pinching fear.
Some Inspirational, Some Creational, Some Laugh Out Loud Moments with Chinese Lunch
One of our fellow YTians have shared at post-lunch session after the prison show on this hot day that he always thought, “Prison is made to break human.” Definitely, his perception is changed once he heard about the hard work and precautions taken by jail authority to invest in rehabilitation with the help of several programs including their own theater program.
But this particular statement made me think whether he was right about it; instead it was for society we live in. Day-by-day, I could see that we started hating many one in our life and pretended to be happy. Our laughter, our smiles, our chain of smokes, our tears and even our greetings are for our benefits. Having said that the question is arisen, “Who needs more rehabilitation, we or them?”
On a funny note: The last sub-heading was way longer than the post I felt. Oh, you didn’t notice. Thank God!
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