Thiruvananthapuram: At 1:15 pm on Fridays, just as the lunch break comes to a close, Sarada Devi Sisu Vihar turns into a radio station of sorts. Step in to the premises at Vazhuthacaud and you will hear the headmistress calling the school to attention so that students and teachers may lend their ears to Sisuvani, the weekly radio show run by the students. Their ‘studio’ is the small ante-chamber outside the headmistress’s room. Their equipment comprise an announcer’s podium, a microphone and a small footstool to help the younger ones reach the mike.
This week, the show was hosted by a group of eight girl students from classes 3, 5, 6 and 7 with Devu Suresh of class 7 on the mantle of the anchor. Stating the date and day, she announced, “Sisuvani begins with Lekshmi Sunil bringing you the past week’s news.” The clear voice of the news reader was heard over the school ground and in the classrooms as she read out the headlines and then, like a professional news reader, went ahead to reel off ‘the news in detail.’
“Despite it being a Saturday, almost all the students were present for the extra working day last week,” she announced. No detail was too small to be omitted as she read out the week’s highlights - be it the arrival of the SSA worksheets, the news about the Farmers’ Club inauguration or the names of students who won prizes in various competitions.
At 1:15 pm on Fridays, just as the lunch break comes to a close, Sarada Devi Sisu Vihar turns into a radio station.
Following the news, it was time for the special programme. This being the Ramayana month according to Malayalam calendar, Rachita Mohan spoke on the significance of the epic, while Janaki P S read from the ‘Ayodhyakandam’ in a dulcet voice, with a flawless pronunciation and fluent rendering. Then came the piping voice of little Ananthara S who broadcast the story of the dacoit who eventually becomes Sage Valmiki.
A small group song put entertainment on the cards as well. The entire show was wrapped up in 15 mintues. A few announcements, like the commencement of unit tests, and their weekly lucky-draw question (Who is Bharat’s wife according to Ramayana?) were relayed in between. When asked who taught her to read the Ramayana so well, Janaki replied, “My teacher helped me practice.”
Three teachers are in charge of ensuring ‘Sisuvani’ goes ‘on air’ every week. “It takes about two days each week to prepare the students,” said teacher Neena R Nair. “Every week, a different group of students conduct the show so that every student gets his/her turn,,” she added.
Headmistress Sheila Kumari R feels that such programmes will serve to encourage the creativity of students and to boost their confidence. “Besides, it might promote the habit of listening to the radio,” she said. “In this age of television, I wonder how many children would have actually seen a radio.”