ASTH (A Step Towards Humanity)
ASTH: A Step Towards Humanity
Organisers: Avina Agarwal Sakshi Agarwal, Unnati Agrawal and Vidushi Gupta
ASTH is an activist group that engages in various activities for the welfare of the society. Up until now this group has performed flash mobs in different public places and gatherings, and on different issues like women empowerment and the importance of education for all. Also this group has been a part of fund raisers and has been involved in teaching underprivileged kids.
In our very first attempt at a flash mob, we made a lot of mistakes, mainly because it was a one day plan. Initially I was really against the idea of doing a flashmob in a MALL on such short notice because we had nothing in place, no idea, no dance, no resources, no people. We had come up with this idea in our meal breaks on 13th august for crying out loud. In short, the idea seemed impossible and REALLY intimidating. it took a lot of convincing, at least on my part, to go through with it and after a while I was like we’ll just do what we can, we had nothing to lose.
As we planned to do the flashmob on the independence day we thought of some themes that we could work on, because our goal was to create awareness about a social issue as well as nurture the patriotic fire within people. Completely unsure of the possibility of this plan, we started searching for videos of different flashmob along with jotting down possible themes. Religious disputes was one theme that we thought would suit our purpose but we had to keep in mind that we were catering to the general public and we couldn’t offend anyone’s religion or point of view. Therefore we thought of choreographing a dance that that portrayed unity among different religions. Dance is one area that I was strong in and the prospect of choreographing a dance was exciting for me.
On 14th of august we rounded up a few of our close friends and family members who agreed to dance with us on such short notice, and met at one of our member’s house to learn and practice. It was hard to teach the dance to everyone as not all of us were skilled dancers, but we did it. Also we wanted to present an original dance, so I used my skills in dance to do exactly that and it worked out beautifully. I was glad that I got a chance to use my skills and develop them too, as I learned to choreograph theme wise.
When the time came to actually present the flashmob, all of us were really scared as we had to perform it in front of an unknown crowd, however once we started we just concentrated on our performance and managed to pull it off. Even though the performance was not really great it was good considering the time we had and the efforts we put in. But the MOST important part of this first experience was the thrill and satisfaction it gave me. It felt so good to be able to gather as much crowd and help spread a good message in the society. I felt like a truly responsible indian citizen.
We never planned for this one flashmob to turn into 2 or 3 flashmobs. I think it was the satisfaction that all of us got that motivated us to that this a step further and give this thing a name. We came up with the name ASTH as an acronym for A Step Towards Humanity and turned this into an activist group on the social media.
This again motivated us to do the second and the third flash mob. We had our second flashmob on 5th September, on the occasion of Teacher’s day and Janmashtami. This I think was our best flashmobs because it was a combination of a lot of activities like fund raising and teaching the underprivileged. As it was Janmashtami, one of our most beloved and fun-filled festival, we had to have an extremely power packed performance to catch people’s attention. And again I had to choreograph the dance along with one other member of our team. We tried to incorporate the fun element in our dance, and to say that I was happy with the result would be an understatement. This flashmob, I think was the best flashmob in terms of energy, coordination, fun and teamwork. Also because we included a dance by the underprivileged kids and collected about 5000 for them.
While teaching the underprivileged kids we had to really consider even action we took and wether it was ethical or not, because we couldn’t shout at them or be rude even unknowingly. They never had the chance to really learn dance or anything before so it was difficult get them to actually learn the steps, let alone coordinate. This taught me patience and the skill of teaching. However it was another type of fun experience altogether. Also the smiles on their faces made me forget anything that irritated or angered me during practices, because they made me think that it was all WORTH IT. The actual performance was really power packed and AMAZING, and it was what really motivated me to think of the future of ASTH and made me want to continue it.
The 3rd flashmob was on the theme of women empowerment. GARBA!! <3<3 I could swear that this is one of the best and the most fun kind of dance there is. I thought; what better than to perform that, as it will instantly catch everyone’s attention. This time we had chosen skilled dancers only as we wanted it to be well coordinated and perfect, and because it was going to be performed in our school. I am thankful that atlas here the audience was receptive and excited, unlike in all our other flashmobs.
Overall I couldn’t have asked for a better feeling in this world than that of the satisfaction and pride I felt after finishing the flashmobs. Also I distinctly remember, that at the end of our 2nd flashmob, an old lady signalled me to come to her and said “There should be more youngsters like you. You are doing a very good job”. I can not describe how proud I felt of myself at the time. I REALLY hope that this group and this ideology never dies down because I intend to make it big and widespread.