Monday, July 25, 2011

Sing Along with Krishna Iyer and Jeeva - 23/07/11

Saturday evening at Art Arattai Aarpattam 2011 was one of the most-awaited events of the festival – the sing-along session with Krishna Iyer and Jeeva, two of Chennai’s best story-tellers.

The response that we’ve received over the last couple of days for the show, in terms of ticket sales, has been very heartening. And the pace rapidly picked up at the venue as people arrived in full anticipation of a fun-filled evening. In fact, the excitement in the air was almost tangible as we watched the children walking into Museum Theatre, holding their parents’ hands or in many cases, their friends’ hands. We love the way a 5-or-so-year old girl leaned across and whispered to her friend “So you and I sit together and your mother and my mother will sit together”. How can this not bring back memories from our own childhood, where we’ve said or done similar things?

Today’s event saw participation from a slightly different set of children – in that we had little ones ranging right from 2 years of age upto about 10, while our other sessions have had slightly older children. Krishna Iyer, Jeeva and the gang got the kids right into the groove with the very first number – the traditional version of the ABCD rhyme, followed by a faster, peppier version which gradually led to other well-known rhymes, including Hickory Dickory Dock, Mary had a little lamb, etc. The ‘cooler’, ‘trendier’ version of Five Little Monkeys had even the adults tapping their feet in time with the beat, even as the little ones crooned in chorus No more monkeys jumping on the bed. The Riddles and Rhymes session which came next was also thoroughly enjoyed by the children and this was clear in the glee with which they answered every riddle that was posed to them and the lusty voices in which they sang We solved a riddle. The fish-ie dance, which was, in fact, performed not once, but twice, was also thoroughly enjoyed by the children.

Parents joined the fun with the tiny tots as the team onstage had them all putting their right hands in, then out, and doing the hokey pokey and turning themselves around…watching a child having fun with his or her parent has got to be one of those things that brings such unadulterated joy to the watcher – and that’s what we saw this evening. And what fun it was to watch the kids as they went on a lion hunt with Krishna Iyer and crossed a tree, a bridge and a river, the brave little souls - till they came to the dark cave with the big, scary lion…and how they ran back after that! We don’t blame you if you think this to be literal  for those of us who were there, it did seem pretty real!

Isn’t what we saw today the true point of education? Having fun along the way? This is something we at NalandaWay feel very strongly about. Children need to have fun as they learn – and learn some of the more important aspects of life. Like confidence, motivation, decision-making, etc,. And the arts can really help them pick up these life skills in a much more seamless way. Simply because the arts are a process of self-discovery.

Some memories that will probably stay with us for a long time – the image of a father twirling his little boy around and the boy twirling the father around in turn, a sweet little girl who just kept jumping up and down keeping the beat with just about every song that was being sung, another father holding his little princess in his arms and happily jigging away without a care in the world. Mastercard sure said it when they used the line There are some things in life money can’t buy.

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