There were deadly snakes hissing inside a classroom at Government Central High School, Attakkulangara, but no one was shrieking with fear. The snakes were in fact esteemed guests at Sargolsavam 2015, a camp for the upper primary and high school students.
With snakes, folk music, magic, poetry- the camp proved to be very exciting. It is not often that government schools get to host such camps, according to school headmaster Sureshbabu R S. “ The higher secondary schools do have camps for NSS volunteers and SPC cadets. But those camps are compulsory, because its participants are awarded grace marks. The only purpose of the camp at our school is to motivate our students,” he said.
The session with the snakes was led by Vava Suresh. He had lugged Russell’s viper, cobra, python and rat snake into the classroom, to remove the children’s fear of snakes. He told the children that the tales heard about snakes are merely tales.
Citing the example of rat snakes hissing into one’s ears, Vava Suresh said that these were all made up stories.
Some of the students were worried about how much time it takes for a snake’s bite to kill a person. Vava Suresh told them that instead of looking at the snake venom as something which would kill, it should be seen as source of proteins.
He told them to never walk on bare foot, for the snake’s ‘ears’ are on its belly. The morning’s session was all about poetry and poets. Tirumala Sivankutty, a city-based poet, spoke about the messages poets share through their poetry. He made the children recite Kunjunni Master’s ‘Onnayal Nannayi’. The works of Chemmanam, Kunchan Nambiar, and the three great poets of Malayalam- which until the day were study materials- were recited. The last session was led by folk singer Kavalam Sajeev. The children thoroughly enjoyed singing ‘Kummatti’ a folk song. Government Central High School, Attakkulangara, which had only a little over 50 students, last year, has been attracting more students because of the various extra-curricular activities organised at the school. The school had launched a documentary project called ‘Punarjani’, and several initiatives. The school has around 135 students. School authorities hope to increase the number of students, in the next academic year as well.