Nukkad naataks steal the show as Red Ribbon Express arrives

Nukkad naataks

In order to attract the youth, a coach turned into discotheque for the first time

More than 8,000 people, including around 3,500 women, visited the Red Ribbon Express, the special train introduced by National AIDS Control Organisation in collaboration with the Centre in 2007 to spread awareness about HIV/AIDS.

The train which came to Ludhiana on Monday attracted "ten times more crowd than previous tour in 2007-08", according to Mohnish Kumar, chief executive officer, Red Ribbon Express, who has been moving with the train all over India for the past three years.

"Although we target youth on every tour, this year to attract them, for the first time we have turned coach number 3 of the train into a discotheque as youth love loud music. Special lyrics like nasha ho to zindagi ka, nasheeli davayon ka nahi and yaar doston mein sab sanjha, suyi saanjhi to khatra bhi saanjha are being played continuously in the coach," said Kumar.

However, more than the train what stole the show were the nukkad naataks (street plays) staged by a team of five volunteers from NGO Population Service Interest in collaboration with Helping Hands Society.

With dafli in their hands and pure Punjabi dialogues, the team of Parminder Bhin, Happy, Jagjeet Gill, Manjit Singh and Birpal Kaur attracted the majority of crowd under the banyan tree.

Bhin, leader of the team, said, "We are based in New Delhi and Panchkula and will be performing 137 plays in Ludhiana for two months focussing on tuberculosis and AIDS. Our naatak mandli selects volunteers from schools and colleges to stage these educational plays at different places."

It's all volunteer service as they don't take any money but just food and accommodation from organisers who call them. Not only this, the group also fills out free tuberculosis check-up forms. "Till now in Ludhiana, we have filled out 200 forms for people who will now be guided to dispensaries for check-up," said Bhin.

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