I can’t help but feel like this is straight out of a story book. A vast property with small cottages where students practice with their gurus, the hot sun beating down along with a faint but cool breeze, music in different corners of the school as students practice their instruments, girls and boys running to class and giggling with each other – Kalamandalam seems like a happy environment where students are eager to devote their days to learning different dance forms, music and a lot more. The school takes great care in honing the students skills and teaching them.
There is an immense amount of discipline here and as I stroll through the school watching the students in practice, I realize this is my first real encounter with the cultural side of Kerala. Till now my focus has been on visiting places, discovering their food and meeting people. Here I hang back a bit and watch interestingly at girls and boys probably younger than me, attack their homework with such diligence.
You have to really love what you do or you wouldn’t fit in this school. There is no fancy air conditioned auditorium with surround sound or air conditioned classes or a plush canteen. Yet it has everything a student would need to learn and excel and like the rest of the people in Kerala, I realize everyone is very happy.
With such a trigger happy group and about 5 cameras being pointed at him during this time even he realized he’s the star of the evening and chuckled as he held my hand and posed with me. I got to witness a bit of Theyyam, pose for a photo op and get my blessing, I was a happy little taster – I think I made a friend 😉