A school was considered as an institution which prepared you for the big bad world. But over the years that definition has drastically changed. It is now a place where there is a rat race to be on top. If you think that this only happens in urban cities, think again. There are some teachers who are struggling to make a difference. They want the students to learn the reason behind all the things we learn rather than just learn them. The story of one such teacher is what makes Ripples. The Blind and the Elephant theatre group have been touring the country since 2016 with Ripples.
The latest performance of Ripples was at G5A on a nice Saturday evening. As you enter G5A, you immediately know you are at one of the coolest theater venues with a cafe. As you enter the black box (that's what they call the auditorium), you are transported into a different world and time.
The play begins with Maniya (Sagar Gholap) talking about his friends. Immediately after that, we meet his friends and their teacher Abhijit who asks them a very simple question, "Why do you come to school?". Once the school is over, the friends meet up near the village well (which is known to be magical) as they discuss their lessons and at the same time teasing each other incessantly with remarks fraught with innuendos (in short, typical school stuff). As the months pass, the students go on adventures with the professor as he not only teaches them literature but also what you can learn from it much to the displeasure of the Headmaster (Amol Kulkarni). His interpretation of the Mario Puzo's Godfather and Tagore's Kabuliwala is something you should look out for. As the year ends, you can see the difference the teacher has made in the lives of his students. But, is his job over yet?
As amazing as Gerish Khemani is as Abhijit, it is the students who hold your attention. Their mischief is infectious and their problems too real. We have Paritosh (Varun Vazir) the topper of the class and his 'girlfriend' Prajakta (Vaishnavi RP). We also have Bhadra (Barkha Fatnani) who is an excellent storyteller and a force to be reckoned with. And we have Vinit (Chirag Lobo) who is mischievous of the lot and Maniya who keeps them all together. The play has been masterfully directed by Gerish Khemani as you try to find everything that is said between the lines.
The concept of the play is to teach us the same lessons we learned in school in a very different way. We have learned our lessons but do we know how we can use them in our lives. Abhijit in the play certainly has a knack of teaching these lessons in such a way that by the time it ends, you certainly want more. As days turn into months, you see the ripples the teacher has managed to create in the lives of his students as they grow as people. After watching this, you are sure to find the conventional style of teaching overrated.
Their next performance is on 1st July at the Mumbai Assembly. Make sure you book your tickets!