TT Epaper
The Telegraph
CIMA Gallary

Befriend books, kids told

- Two-day Junior CALM festival opens in Shillong

Dreams, books, are each a world; and books, we know,

Are a substantial world, both pure and good:

Round these, with tendrils strong as flesh and blood,

Our pastime and our happiness will grow — William Wordsworth

Shillong, Dec. 13: Far from their school texts, television sets and computers, children of diverse age groups were today introduced to a different world of creativity: the magic of music and the unfailing lure of broad-spectrum books.

With Christmas less than a fortnight away, the sound of music — Oh Holy Night! — emanating from a children’s choir warmed hearts and the chilly surroundings.

These attractions, along with others like photography group work, art and craft fiesta and a panel discussion on career guidance and counselling were the highlights of the first Junior CALM (Creative Arts, Literature and Music) festival. It was organised by Sahaki Society in collaboration with the Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan and State Education Mission Authority of Meghalaya.

The two-day festival, which will conclude tomorrow, is being held at U Soso Tham auditorium here.

It was also a befitting occasion for Meghalaya governor Krishan Kant Paul to exhort children to substitute the world of television for books as he lamented the decline of the reading habit with the domination of new media.

“The reading habit has become obsolete as children are getting hooked to the television and video games. But there is a need to regenerate the reading habit as the depth you acquire from reading is incomparable to what you gather from television and others,” Paul, an avid reader, said. Publication houses should ensure that quality books are sold at affordable prices, he added.

Paul also touched upon the talent that is available here in terms of the ability of the people to have a good command over the English language and music.

“There are many boys and girls who work in call centres in Gurgaon and Noida because of their ability to speak English fluently. They have a natural advantage of language. Why can’t we have the BPOs here in Meghalaya itself?” he asked.

Music, he said, should be “commercially exploited” as there was a lot of “originality”. Indeed, these hills are alive with the sound of music!