With the first sprinkle of mango showers, Jawahar Balbhavan has become a busy place. On April 3, vacation classes have begun. Over 1,500 students have registered. Balbhavan has arranged for buses and vans that ply 14 routes, which cover nearly the entire district. But chances are that they will still fall short of buses. Principal S Malini said that they are expecting at least 2,000 registrations.
Crash courses in Kalaripayattu, Electronics, Aeromodelling, Personality Development, Spoken English and 26 other subjects await children. The maximum lineup is for Keyboard and Guitar classes. In fact, the principal started an additional batch for Keyboard lessons because of the demand. Now the new batch is also full and she has no option but to disappoint the rest of the city’s young music enthusiasts.
Why the rush when a summer holiday could have been two fleeting months of lazing around? “They won’t stop watching cartoons, if they stay home. Here they will be doing something creative,” says Smita, mother of two first-timers at the Balbhavan.
Many children love the experience so much that they enrol every year. It is Shamhana’s second summer vacation at the Balbhavan. The seven-year-old likes music lessons the most. Then there are children who joined only because their parents are working. Five-year-old Anjima was bawling on the first day, as her mother Meena dropped her at the Balbhavan. The little girl has now found out that this ‘school’ is different and looks forward to the classes. An ayah service at the school takes care of her as she waits for her mother who works in Kesavadasapuram. Come evening, and she is full of stories.
Science lessons, which are normally loathed and feared, are popular at the Balbhavan. Several students enrol for Electronics classes to learn about ac-dc circuits and other basic physics concepts. Many also learn flying theory, through Aerodynamics classes.
By May end, Balbhavan organises a programme for all its students to showcase their newly acquired skills. There will be dance and music recitals; exhibitions of sculptures and aeroplane models. One gets an inkling of that from the buzz around. However, there’s more to come, as admissions are still open.