Mambazhakkalam, a summer camp for kids, lets their imagination run wild

Organised at Vyloppilly Samskrithi Bhavan in Thiruvananthapuram, the camp focusses on overall development with a raft of fun activities

It’s a ‘warm-up session’ in progress. As a session coordinator bellows “hello” into the microphone, the kids gathered around respond in unison with a rapturous “Mambazhakkalam….” The assemblage soon breaks into a line or two from poet Vyloppilly Sreedharan Menon’s famed poem Mambazham.

For kids attending the ongoing summer camp ‘Mambazhakkalam: Kuttikalude Avadhikkala Koottayima’ at Vyloppilly Samskrithi Bhavan, the fun activities are as sweet as a mango. For many, it’s a welcome break after days of annual examinations. For others, it’s a good opportunity to let their imagination run wild. Like Nikhil Madhav, who has just finished his board exams. “I like acting and theatre. So yesterday’s (Tuesday) session on theatre workshop (led by Prasanth Narayanan of Kalam) was something I was looking forward to. This camp has been a fun way keep myself engaged creatively,” says Nikhil from the city.

Organised by the Cultural Affairs Department, the 10-day camp, flagged off on Monday, is open to kids from Class 5 to those who have completed Class 10. Boarding facilities have also been arranged for. Neehaara P V from Palakkad, who has been staying at the camp, says Mambazhakkalam has been an enjoyable occasion for her to make new friends. “I’m interested in acting, public speaking and mono act. I’m also learning classical dance. Meeting so many friends my age here is boosting my confidence to perform before an audience. The best thing is that the camp feels so informal and I don’t have to worry about marks,” she says with a smile.

Avani Bizal, a high-school student from Kozhikode, is nursing a cold. However, as other kids merrily encourage her to sing a song in good humour to lighten up the mood before a session on painting, she offers to perform a dance instead. Avani is promptly helped by “the singers” in the day-long camp.

Artist Kattoor Narayana Pillai makes a sketch on a cloth canvas as kids look on at Mambazhakkalam camp

Artist Kattoor Narayana Pillai makes a sketch on a cloth canvas as kids look on at Mambazhakkalam camp  
| Photo Credit:
Harikumar J S

As a painting session, led by artist Kattoor Narayana Pillai, begins, kids file out to grab brushes and sketch pens before everyone gathers around an elongated cloth canvas stretched around a gazebo. “Usually, the thrust on arts and crafts in schools dips after Class 10 as the focus then shifts towards studies alone and competitive exams. So, perhaps, this (Class 5 to Class 10) is the best period in a kid’s life to hone skills in arts and expand the horizons of their minds. We must try to bring the focus back on humanities,” says Kattoor.

Other camp activities include Rubik’s Cube, cinema, visual effects, folk songs, poetry reading, music and so on. “The idea is overall development and exposure for a child,” says Hari Charutha, public relations officer of the institute. The concluding day (May 28) will feature an interactive session with auteur Adoor Gopalakrishnan.

This mango season, it’s fun time for these kids.

Source: Read Full Article