HYDERABAD: Saturdays and Sundays were all about standup comedy shows, art workshops, plays, organic bazaars and more in Hyderabad’s culture spaces. But the toll the lockdown has taken on culture spaces is perhaps going to last longer than most of us can imagine. Lamakaan, Our Sacred Space, Aaromale, Saptaparni etc are prepared for a long haul and some of them believe that the world wide state of affairs of culture spaces is sending shock waves in Hyderabad too.
Says Kranthi Mandalaparthy, Manager of Lamakaan, “Thankfully, we at Lamakaan wrapped up our 10th anniversary celebrations on March 15, a little before the government announced. We wanted close from March 15 till March 30 and of the 15 staff, about 11 of them are from Odisha and we bought tickets and sent them home. So by March 18, we were ready for the lockdown.
We cancelled about 40 programmes in April and May. However, we did have about five big online events and today (Saturday, 8.30 pm, May 2) we have a big event titled Kerala: Fight with Corona pandemic,” she informs. August 15 is Hassan Memorial Lecture, their big annual event. They hope to be up and about by then, at least. “As Lamakaan makes its revenue through its canteen, it would be tough to do any activity without permission to restaurant opening,”she says. For now, they are planning for some online events and the details are posted in their Facebook page.
However, those like Aaromale in Jubilee Hills, say they also have huge overheads in terms of the rentals and they are fairly new in the city, barely a year old. Says Anwesh, one of the partners of the space, “Currently the cultural spaces like us, Juxtapose, The Chalet etc are discussing internally on how to survive. We did a few online workshops, but as they are not revenue-generating ones, it did not help us. We are a for-profit space and shutting down the premises for months at a stretch is scary.
We recently heard that a really popular place called The Bohemian Space in Bengaluru is shutting down and that is sending shock waves even in Hyderabad,” he says. Rahul Reddy from Octospaces is in touch with 100 cultural spaces across the globe and has found that few are able to sustain this. For now, Aaromale is just going with the flow, with fingers crossed.
Our Sacred Space, a center for Art, Environment and Wellness was shut down long before the official Lockdown was announced by the government. As they had a large number of people coming in on the weekends that included kids and adults, Nayantara NandaKumar, the founder and director of Our Sacred Space decided to close the space from March 5 onwards after consulting their board of advisors.
“Since then we have transitioned to conduct online classes in every aspect possible. Our regular online classes include Kuchipudi, Odissi and Salsa, Spanish, German, Veena, Martial Arts, Yoga, Speed Cubing and so much more! We launched our first ever online summer camp from April 1 which is ongoing with 12 kids participating actively and thriving on art & craft, Kalaripayattu, yoga, storytelling, martial arts classes and so on.
Handwriting improvement, artistic calligraphy, creative writing, art and craft, storytelling are some of their upcoming online workshops that have a price range from `200 to `4600. We dropped all our prices as to support our community which is facing financial insecurity,” she adds. The next big event is a free webinar on ‘Ayurveda for Immunity’ today May 2 from 5pm to 6pm by Dr Amita Ashok. With the news coming in that the lockdown has been extended by two more weeks, one may as well sign up for a few hobby courses to kill time and build up a skill.