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Jawahar Bal Bhavan (Cultural Venue)

Jawahar Bal Bhavan (Cultural Venue)
Aishwarya Subramanyam / fullhyd.com
What can you get for Rs. 12 in these days of rupee devaluation and rapidly increasing cost of living, not to mention autowallahs with tampered meters and noisy neighbourhood kids now more empowered thanks to technology? You can get a membership to the Jawahar Bal Bhavan, is what.

Meant mainly for children from underprivileged backgrounds, the Bal Bhavan has classes for everything under the sun. And we do mean everything - from painting, clay modelling and art and craft to instrumental and vocal music, Kuchipudi, Bharatnatyam and Kathak, from karate to carroms and chess, and even science classes.

There's an auditorium, now being renovated (this is being written in August 2004), where performances by the children are sometimes held. The International Children's Film Festival screened movies here as well. The Bhavan gives out awards every year for excellence in creative art, creative writing, creative performance and scientific innovation. In 2003, a kid from here won the national award for creative writing. We are so proud.

Inside the center, there are random scenes set up from everyday life. There's the set-up of a street, for example, where a policeman sometimes visits to teach the kids about traffic rules (though adults in this city of road rage need the lessons more). The class usually ends most undignifiedly, as the kids clamour around the hapless cop and take away his lathi.

The bunches of brats are what really liven the place up. By itself, the Bal Bhavan is an unabashed example of dustiness, in desperate need of fresh blood and buckets of enthusiasm. Not that the children are complaining. After all, there's so much you can do with tons of space, crayons and clay, other kids, and a slide in the playground. The mind simply boggles.
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