THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: It was a rare beginning to the learning of a traditional art. Taking the first ‘beats’ of the percussion instrument ‘chenda’ through Skype, though sounding off the track when announced, turned into a reality on Sunday.
‘Chenda’ exponent Prakasan Pazhampalacode launched the online class, his new venture to teach the instrument to non-resident Malayalis, by coaching Manoj Warrier, an army officer in Singapore.
“Everything worked well. I felt no inconvenience in teaching online. The only difficulty was that I couldn’t punish him when he made mistakes,” said Prakasan with a smile.
Prakasan has fixed the time table for continuing the programme in the coming days. On Mondays, there will be two classes of one hour each for two students living in New York and two classes for those in Canada. On Tuesdays, there will be a class for Russia, two classes each for Keralites living in Delhi and Mumbai. Fridays are given for Gulf countries like Dubai, Qatar, Muscat, Kuwait and Riyadh. On Saturdays, there will be three classes for the pupils in Australia. Singapore and London find the place in the time table for Sundays. Four classes will be given for those in Singapore and two classes for those in London.
It was those Malayalis eager to learn to play the instrument who inspired Prakasan to start the online classes. The teaching is through Skype, a freemium voice-over-IP service and instant messaging client. Prakasan will visit the countries every four months to assess the progress of the studies, the expense of which will be borne by those who learn. The students are those who were unable to learn it, though they had a deep passion, owing to circumstances.
Prakasan, a 48-year-old, is a known figure in teaching the instrument. The artiste, who has given several memorable performances, taught chenda to the inmates of Central Prisons of Viyyur and Poojappura. He also taught chenda to the girls of Sri Chitra Poor Home and the students of the Government School for Visually Impaired at Vazhuthacaud. He is conducting the classes for the jail inmates and school students without charging any fee.