Sunday, August 17, 2014

Breaking free from the shackles of the past: Independence Day 2014

On Friday 15th August 2014, the atmosphere reached fever pitch as our residents celebrated the 68th Independence Day of our nation in both our Kotdwar and Delhi centres. The mood was ablaze with electric excitement as our patriotic boys wholeheartedly immersed themselves into the festivities of the day. At the back of our minds, we knew a large proportion of India would undoubtedly be celebrating the occasion with a bottle in their hand and this resurrected past memories of previous Independence days during our using period. The defining point was that our residents rocked the day to a totally different rhythm: we set the day on fire – without requiring any chemicals to ignite the sparks!!
In Delhi, our residents had dedicated two long weeks preparing and rehearsing plays on the Swadeshi movement and the legendary freedom fighter Bhagat Singh, two group songs, dances and a fashion show! Initially a lot of our residents were shy and reluctant to participate, but as the patriotic spirit was cultivated, events flourished into a beautiful and victorious success. Everyone had a part in the day; whether they were performing or preparing the scrummy food up in the kitchen – nobody was left idle! Treats of the day included burgers for breakfast, then a tantalizing paneer pulao with raitha for lunch and a mouth-watering chicken dish for dinner.
Our boys merrily broke free from their insecurities to present a fantastic display of their creativity, painstaking dedication and personal triumph over limits. Our cultural events kicked off with our charismatic host making a seamless introduction into the events of the day. Our very own Neelabh demonstrated his fantastic speaking skills as he shed light upon the history of our brave nation and its courageous citizens; the thousands of heroes who sacrificed themselves so that our country could be free from oppression. That same fearless spirit belonging to our forefathers is what we strive to emanate today as we fight to overpower our personal tyranny to succeed living a drug and alcohol free life.
Our first event was an emotive speech capturing the essence of the events: glorious conquest over   a music interlude of our boys heartily sung a jolly anthem of hope and brotherhood, accompanied by one of our residents on the harmonium. It was really beautiful to see how engaged our residents were as they proudly showed their hidden talents to the cheering audience! The song was followed by the fashion show wherein a few of our boys modelled apparel of the age and slung patriotic slogans into the whooping crowd. This year’s fashion show was a totally fresh innovation into the Independence Day scene at SHAFA HOME; rest assured it was a superb addition to the day.
Next, Tushar threw himself into the programme to put on a rib-tickling splay of laugh-your-head-off impersonations and jokes. Towards the middle of the programme, the mood grounded and became serious as Marco, our voluntary staff member from Africa eloquently delivered an emotional speech about the power of treatment and breaking self-imposed boundaries...he ignited a beacon of hope and courage within his little brothers; showing if he could overcome the boundary of language to integrate at SHAFA, the treatment programme was limitless as to what it could achieve for them.
Dance was the following cultural event where our boys got footloose to hit the floor and get their groove on; our boys performed a flawless choreographed sequence taught to them by the infamous Bob Ji. Then one of our members made an impromptu appearance on the dance-floor and simply bowled us over with his moves...who knew Rohit was a secret dance star? The crowd went wild for him!
The programme wrapped up with SHAFA’s director Mr. Ranjan Dhar giving a resounding commendation to our resident’s first-class preparation and performances and they were congratulated for their individual efforts. The final event of the day was a candlelit prayer of strength and a recital of our national anthem.

All-in-all, Independence Day 2014 was a beautiful embodiment of triumph, brotherhood and hope. May this be the gatekeeper that allows the following years to bring freedom and illumination within all of our hearts!

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