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The art of moving on

On the eve of the third anniversary of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks, catch a soul-stirring musical performance and watch a short film documenting how the survivors and the victims' families have moved on

The terror attacks of November 26, 2008, left many a scars in its wake and a trail of pain and sorrow. But in a city famed for its resilience, one often hears tales of courage and dignity even in the face of such a tragedy.


Embracing the Future: We Remember 26/11 held in 2010 featuring
Coomi Wadia as the conductor, The Mehli Mehta Foundation Children's
choir and the Paranjoti choir


With the third anniversary of the attacks just three days away, NCPA is hosting Transforming Our Way of Living: Remembering 26/11, an audio-visual tribute to the people affected by the attacks and their quest to turn over a new leaf.

Produced by Zafar Karachiwala and Devika Shahani-Punjabi of The Orchid Room Experiment, the event will include the screening of a short film directed by Punjabi and Rohan Guptan, music and dance performances alongwith talks by eminent personalities. It is organised in collaboration with the National Centre for Performing Arts (NCPA) and the Public Concern for Governance Trust (PCGT).

Hope floats
"The event focuses on how the survivors coped with their sense of grief and loss to gradually embrace the future. As they moved on, many of them transformed their life and their journey offers hope to others," explains Punjabi.

The highlights of the event include a 20-minute short film, broken down into four-minute segments, which trail the survivors and the victims' families three years after the tragedy. It will be followed by a performance by the Symphony Orchestra of India and a composition featuring Thumri singer Dhanashree Pandit and Kathak danseuse Keka Sinha. There will also be a session involving speakers such as retired IPS officer Julio Ribeiro and journalist Kumar Ketkar among others. Theatre personality and singer Ishitta Arun along with Vinay Jain will serve as the masters of the ceremony.

Through the looking glass
The event gets its title from Buddhist philosopher Daisaku Ikeda's collection of essays; as a practicing Buddhist, Punjabi admits to being deeply influenced by Ikeda. "Instead of sliding back into the past and looking back at why the event happened, we are looking forward to see how it changed the lives of people forever in a positive manner and gave them a sense of purpose," she adds.

Punjabi admits that their performance last year, titled Embracing the Future: We Remember 26/11, was on a much larger scale. "This year, we have simplified the concept and focussed on how such a tragedy can make people change the direction of their life and alter their dreams for the future."

The event was conceptualised and executed over a period of a month and a half; and Punjabi admits that it was taxing to co-ordinate two upcoming theatrical productions and handle the co-ordination and direction for this event. "It was a humbling experience -- meeting the family members and survivors. At times, it was evident that these people had no choice but to move on in life, mainly because of their poverty," she observes. 

While there were several stories that touched Punjabi personally, she ranks the comments made by three siblings -- Qurban, Feroze and Ramzan -- as the most heart-warming. The young boys lost their mother and grandmother to the tragedy and are now being raised by their aunt. "They weren't bitter about the incident. In fact, Qurban said he wanted to grow up and become an 'imandar' (honest) police inspector so that such incidents never happen in the future and Feroze said he wanted to become a doctor so that he could treat the wounded. I was literally left with tears in my eyes," she recalls.

On: Today, 6 pm onwards
At: Tata Theatre, NCPA, Nariman Point.
Call: 22824567

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