Sasneham, an Orkut community of fans of playback singer G. Venugopal, celebrated its fourth anniversary

Four years ago when playback singer G. Venugopal met his Orkut family of fans at an informal function in Thiruvananthapuram, they wanted to come up with a programme that went beyond meetings. The occasion was to felicitate him for completing 25 years in the film music industry.

During the course of the three-and-a-half hour meeting that day, Venugopal mentioned an unforgettable visit to the children’s ward in the Regional Cancer Centre (RCC). His suggestion to do something to bring a smile to the faces of the patients’ in the children’s ward was accepted unanimously by the 80 members who were present there. “These are children who have, at least for some time, lost the opportunity to go to school, play and have fun like other children of their age. So we wanted to do something that would give them a chance to enjoy a little of the experience of school and art, something that would touch their hearts,” says Venugopal.

Thus was born ‘Sasneham Venugopal’, an organisation without a hierarchy of functionaries. Every Saturday, members of the community would go to RCC and spend time with the children, teaching them to draw, sketch, sing, perform magic and mimicry and other activities too. “Now, there are many other organisations and volunteers doing the same. So members of the community go there once in a fortnight and so on. But we continue to foster close links with the children’s ward there,” adds Venugopal.

On February 27, when the members met at the RCC for the fourth anniversary of ‘Sasneham…’, their chief guest was none other than K.J. Yesudas. “Das ettan was kind enough to agree to be the chief guest. On the way to RCC, he telephoned me to ask if he should get sweets. When we said we had already bought the sweets, he wanted to know if he could meet the children before attending the meeting. So, right after he arrived, he visited the children’s ward and spoke to them. Das ettan was visibly moved by the experience,” recalls Venugopal. Moreover, it was Yesudas’ granddaughter Ameya’s birthday and that was one of the reasons why he was in the city, adds Venugopal.

Yesudas was pleased that Sasneham was a democratic organisation without a president, a secretary and so on. “What was really thrilling was both Das ettan and Vijay [Yesudas], who had accompanied him became members of the community,” says an elated Venugopal.