During our last few sessions before breaking for exam period on March 1, 2018, we returned to the exercise they had begun in December – which was working on a large canvas for the ‘how big we are’ session.

Questions like ‘What does being "big" mean?’ helped the children reflect on the various ways of being. Some of the grown-ups in the group believed that earning more and establishing oneself in society was equivalent to being ‘big’. The children’s responses, however, differed. To them, it was being responsible and reacting sensitively to a situation that qualified as being ‘big’; connections were thus immediately made between being ‘mature’ and ‘big’.

As part of this interactive exercise, one child from each group lay on a big sheet of paper while their silhouette was drawn by a fellow learner, following which the life-size contours were cut out of the sheets. These cut-outs were traced on a big canvas, which were then collectively painted upon using rollers, flat brushes, acrylic and other pigments. A fun, exciting & sustained exercise, a discussion on respecting each other’s space and bodies also became part of the same. In the process, the learners therefore had to learn how to respect each other’s personal space and expression while working together. Fights, arguments, crying and complains were common but they organically figured ways of solving the issues so that the activity continued.

The final session ended with them completing the canvas on one of the terraces in the neighbourhood. Once the work was complete, the children decided that they could cascade the completed canvas down the balcony. This created a really magical moment when the other children and adults in the colony saw the lovely colourful mural hanging on the wall and congratulated the children on the work they had accomplished.