Thursday, February 23, 2006

The Anchorage

"The gang " - L to R: Mannan, Meghna, Dinyar, Shahnaz, Deven. Meghna and Shahnaz have been helping out at the Anchorage for several years.

Last Friday I had my first taste of the group at "Anchorage" where Nirupa works these days. Nirupa and I were colleagues some years back, in the days when we were involved in organisational development work. Since June 2005, N. has been with this organisation where mentally retarded adults are trained to be productive and where they actually do some assembly line work. They have a lot of fun as well as far as I can see.

Every Friday afternoon the lot of them gather in the hall on the ground floor of Nirupa and Vijay’s apartment block where a professional dancer called Mahesh gives them lessons. So I watched them spin and twirl away as they mimed various actions like gathering oranges from trees and putting them into baskets. Mahesh also makes them meditate at the start and end, which some of them attempt to do though - most of them tend to stare at everything around them with a lot of interest.

Dinyar striking a Cleopatra pose in the art gallery

When dance class was over we walked over to the art gallery run by one of the building residents, around the corner from the hall. I had originally thought we could get the members of the Anchorage to maybe comment on the paintings – for us get a different perspective on art.

The gallery is very swish, with black marble steps leading into a series of regal looking rooms stacked with canvases. As I discovered, the guys were not particularly interested in exercising their brains about the paintings but were far more engrossed in the coca cola and chocolate cake served by the gallery owner. And in having their photographs taken! “Me, me me!” they went as I tried to oblige.

The Anchorage has been around for (I think) over fifteen years and caters to around twenty five adults. A swinging cheerful group of women assist in the administration of the place and if you ask me it is picnic time every day at this workshop.

Cyrus and Nikita

Group Website:

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