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Gandhiji’s birthday is a big deal in our school. We start with International Peace Day on Sept 21, then we do Pennies For Peace, then we talk about Gandhiji – the peaceful warrior and end the peace/non-violence theme by celebrating United Nations Day. Our school is closed for Gandhiji’s birthday every year.

This has been our routine for the three years we have been with this school. But the girls are growing and this Oct 1st and Oct 2nd we had a lot of talk about Gandhiji at home.

Mieja’s questions:
Did a english man shooted Gandhiji?
An Indian man did? But, why Amma? Gandhiji is the father of India. Why would the ‘goat person’ kill his own dad?
Did Gandhiji die in the darkness or something? What time of the day was it?
When he was shooted, how did he fall?
Why is he dressed like that? He has no shirts? Was Gandhi poor? He had no money to buy shirts? Is that why he is naked?

Chula’s questions:
Why do you say Gandhi Jayanthi Amma?
Is it like Krishna Jayanthi? Does Jayanthi mean birthday? Chadurthi is Ganesha’s birthday too. So why are we not saying Gandhi Chadurthi?

Chula had her shower almost by herself and dressed up in a pattu pavadai. Then she came running to me and said that she was ready. When I asked her ready for what, she replied that she is ready to celebrate the jayanthi or chadurthi or whatever it is, demanded why I haven’t set up Gandhiji’s picture, decked it with flowers and wanted to know what special Gandhi food I had cooked.

I promised her we will do something special in an hour and quickly planned some art work, books, songs and special food.

The food part was the easiest – peanut sundal and milk. One more thing to love about Gandhi, it is so easy-peasy to prepare his favorite food. Chula wanted to sing Ragupathi Raghava, so we did that. We read Marching To Freedom By Pratham, (special thanks to Chox aunty for sending  special books to the girls) and Dandi March is making quite an effect in Mieja’s mind. I can sense questions brewing. We also have Picture Gandhi by Tulika, The Story Of Dandi March by Tulika and Gandhi: His Life In Pictures. We thumbed through all the books.

I have to admit that I was a little lost for the art part. Then I decided to talk about how simple lines can form a drawing, profile vs front view. I showed then the famous question mark profile drawing of Gandhi, how such simple lines can be representative of Gandhi. Mieja wanted to draw and Chula wanted to write an essay. So this is what we ended up doing.

I had been wanting to introduce the liquid water colors that I had purchased a few weeks back. So I did white on white crayon resist and told them that if they paint the canvas they will discover a surprise. They were kicked when they saw Gandhi on their canvas.

They wanted to experiment on crayon resist and this is what they came up with. They can draw themselves with long hair and long curly eye lashes even when they cannot see what they were drawing. LOL!





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