Tapping young talent

As they live on the margins of society, children in the slums can easily develop self-defeating habits. A voluntary organisation that works with these children uses sports to prevent this. Called ‘Slum Children Sports Talent and Education Development Society' (SCSTEDS), this NGO has many success stories. The most spectacular of them is 14-year-old M. Dhilipan's — for the last four years, this boy from Vysarpadi has been the mainstay of junior football teams from Tamil Nadu and is presently the captain of the State's Under-16 team; he has also represented India in junior football. “The boy has lost his father and his mother runs a petty shop and supports him with her meagre earnings,” says N. Thangaraj of SCSTEDS.

Since he has achieved great heights as a footballer despite battling overwhelming odds, POGO included him in the sports category of its annual POGO Amazing Kids Awards contest. The young midfielder is now within striking distance of the top honour in the category. He is also one of three children from Chennai to be short-listed for the highest prizes in three different categories.

In the musician category, Vishnu Ramprasad (14) has managed to reach the finals. The lead guitarist and vocalist of The Karmic Blues, Vishnu and his teammates have fused Carnatic elements with their essentially Blues style. The band that includes Pramodh Raghav (drums and percussion), Kartik (synthesiser and keyboard) and Shashank Manohar (bass guitar) has got out a demo CD and is in the process of making its first album. Also a member of two other bands, Crimsons and Spitfire, Vishnu has performed at many events in Chennai and Bangalore.

The third kid to make to the short list is Aharika Bhaskar (12) in the artist category. Her entry into the world of art was rather exceptional. To deal with her boisterousness, Aharika's father would give her a paper and a pencil to draw. As Aharika drew well during these disciplinary sessions, her mother decided the girl deserved an art instructor. Aharika has two exhibitions to her credit. “In 2006, for an upcoming exhibition of his works at Lalit Kala Akademi, my art master R. Rajendran was painting in our house. He was using a variety of mediums, while I had not graduated beyond crayons. I protested and the next year I got to hold an exhibition of my works — paintings in multiple mediums — at Lalit Kala Academi.” She exhibited her works again this year.

This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Apr 22, 2021 7:08:43 AM |

Next Story