Manjakudi is a tiny village on the banks of the river , KAVERI ,in Thiruvarur district hallowed by Swami Dayananda Saraswathi the great seer of modern era.
About three years ago on a visit to pay homage to Swamiji I sang a few devotional songs. I saw several children watching and listening intently when I was singing in the school campus and was not very sure whether and how much they understood what I sang. Then I decided to sing exclusively to the student audience an idea which was blessed by the Swamiji. Along with a group of my disciples, I started a small experiment with about sixty students of SWAMI DAYANANADA educational trust , School, with some singing sessions. But a spirit of joy and wonderment was seen in their eyes.
Along with singing, there were also games related to music. I noticed a spark in the eyes of the little children when they hesitantly started to follow my songs and they seemed to enjoy the same. This created an idea in my mind. Is it possible to engage these students in something similar, more frequently, and consistently?
The reason or impetus for this idea were the students themselves. Innocent, and inspired, uninformed, yet creative, eager, curious, and everwilling to learn something new.
What began as an experiment, has now continued for three years. On every Friday, One of my disciples, or myself, are at Manjakudi, engaging them with music, sharing with them musical knowledge, teaching them songs, all of this to attempt and ignite their kindred spirit. It has been a fulfilling journey, for us as well as for them.
The children learn to sing, from Bharathiyar to Andal, Tulsidas to Tyagaraja, with equal fervor. Art sensitises, art enriches, music elevates, and all of this were truly seen in the children of Manjakudi last Saturday(21st Jan 2017) when I had one of the usual sessions with them.
Catch them young, as they say.