The Choir on 4 Wheels

The Choir on 4 Wheels

The Choir on 4 Wheels

 It was so boring with the little kids either crying in the morning on the way to school, or dropping off to sleep (all over him!) in the evenings. He longed for a buddy to chat with. Instead, he plugged his ears with his MP3 player and kept to himself. But he soon discovered he couldn't. One morning he found out why the most irritating of little boys,
Rohit, cried so much…that bully from Std 5, Vinod, constantly harassed him. He'd poke Rohit with a compass, or grab the little boy's lunch…Arvind had tried seating them separately, but it didn't work. And the van driver was no help. Once in a way he'd bellow, "Vinod! I break your leg next time I get complaint!" But that never stopped Vinod.

One morning when Arvind caught Vinod being terribly mean and vicious, he realised that Vinod liked the attention he got when he behaved badly! So Arvind decided to ignore him and instead said, "Hey, you bacchas, let's sing a song!" Since they all were kiddies, he started them off with 'The Wheels of the Bus go round and round…" and somehow that kept everyone occupied and happy till school. On the way back, the littlest girl who looked like she was in Lower K.G, leaned over to Arvind and in a very serious tone said, "Arvind bhaiyya, can we sing something more grown-up?" So they all sang, 'Pappu Can't Dance", and even the grumpy van driver joined in.

The next day, Rohit looked happy for the first time in months and Arvind knew that he needed to get them all singing BEFORE Vinod got up to his pranks. So when they stopped at the bully's home, the van was already throbbing with music. Within weeks, Arvind no longer felt bad about being the only one from Std 7. He knew that he'd never  sing in front of his classmates!

One thing led to another, and when the school day arrived, with its tight schedule of competitions and programmes, Arvind gathered up the courage to ask the Music teacher if his group, 'The Kalyan Nagar Singing Van', could compete.  Of course they could! So while all other entries for the day were by either solos or groups from the same class, Arvind's troupe had ages ranging from a 4-year-old, to himself, the eldest.

When Arvind told the van kids, they were thrilled and so each trip to and from school, turned into a practice session. After a few days, as the 'Kalyan Nagar Singing Van' got better and better, van-driver Mani said that he wished HE could join the group on School Day. And Arvind thought, 'Why not?!" So off he went to get permission, and Music Sir too thought it a great idea.

Then Vinod, now completely cured of his pinching habits, wondered aloud, "Arvind, since it's all outdoors, how would it be if our van, with all of us singing, drove up to the stage, and then started our performance…?"And again, Arvind thought, 'Why not?!" And off he was to get one more permission!

So that was the grand finale on School Day. A Maruti van with 'The Kalyan Nagar Singing Van' painted on in pink letters, drove up to the stage with its cargo of loudly singing kids, who then leapt out, and continued their performance on stage!

The parents loved it and so did Music Sir. Apart from all the group songs, Driver Mani sang a duet with little Rohit. And Vinod, Arvind and tiniest Madhavi-Madhumita or was she Meghana (he could never remember her name), sang a song together. Most of Arvind's classmates did find his whole van adventure quite a 'sissy' affair. "You sang with a 4-year-old girl?" one of them taunted him. But he wasn't bothered. He was wondering where they could perform next.

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