At 14, Shubham, a class IX student at a government school in Nithari, Uttar Pradesh, is already familiar with life's harsh realities. "When a software CEO's son is abducted, the entire police force of the national capital region stands on one foot trying to trace him. Where were they when children from Nithari's poor families kept disappearing? Are our lives worth nothing?" he asks.
Shubham is part of a cast of 31 children, aged 10 to 18,participating in the play, Nithari's Children, tonight. Many of them are related to victims of the infamous Nithari serial killings — that came to light in 2007.
Director Sanjay Kumar of the Pandies Theatre Group, which focuses on marginalised communities, was working with the children before the scandal was discovered.
"In April 2006, the NGO Saksham approached us to do workshops for children whose classmates had gone missing. In a few months, the bodies were discovered."
After the police allowed the group to return to Nithari, Kumar realised the children had been stunned into silence.
"Slowly, at trauma workshops where they recounted their loss through gestures, we drew them out of their shells."
The result is an 80-minute play, where the children talk about moving on from the chilling tragedy.
Venue: American Center, 6:30 pm. For details, call: 23472289