Unlike other things that children are exposed to today, which provide instant gratification, classical forms of art make one understand that you have to work to get something right and build upon it,” says Paralkar
On a Thursday evening at the Lewis Foundation of Classical Ballet in Ulsoor , Bengaluru, 12-year-old Maya is getting ready for her weekly jazz class, her hair pulled back in a tight bun. She has been studying ballet at the same academy since she was six, and is part of the foundation’sjunior dance company.
“I knew I wanted to be a dancer since I was 10,” she says confidently, before rushing off to class. In addition to ballet and jazz, she learns the harmonium, the tabla, Hindustani classical music (vocals), craft and embroidery, and swimming. “We ask her every year if she wants to go, but she says no,” says her mother, Shilpa Paralkar, a writer and former advertising executive.
Shilpa Paralkar + Haridas, Bengaluru“We wanted to keep her away from the computer and video games as a means of entertainment, which is unfortunately how urban living is these days” – Shilpa ParalkarCHILDREN: Maya*, 12 ACTIVITIES: Hindustani vocals, harmonium, tabla, craft and embroidery, swimming, ballet, jazz dance ANNUAL SPEND: Rs 1.17 lakh
The activities have thus been chosen with care. “We thought learning a classical art form is an extremely strong foundation for her growth as a person. The arts, she believes, will also teach their daughter empathy.
Astha Jain + Rishab Jain, NoidaCHILDREN: Arya & Avika, 5 ACTIVITIES: Ballet, piano, western dance ANNUAL SPEND: Rs 2.4 lakh“I’m a strong believer in the importance of these activities. It helps them broaden their horizons and pick up other skills” – Astha Jain
Mahadevan shares similar views. “Music classes are a vivid demonstration of what perseverance can bring, which is hard to teach in the real world otherwise. She also believes a child has to have avenues to express themselves in different ways, hence the multiple activities.
In Noida, Astha and Rishab Jain have enrolled their twin 5-year-old daughters, Arya and Avika, at Elan Ballet and Think Right classes, billed as “India’s first right-brain education programme”. Their piano and Western dance classes were put on hold when they joined school this year. “I’m a strong believer in the importance of these activities. It helps broaden their horizons and pick up other skills,” says Astha Jain, a company secretary.
CHILDREN: Dhruv Alva, 16; Diya Alva ACTIVITIES: Football, piano, swimming, rock climbing ANNUAL SPEND: Rs 30 lakh for Dhruv’s football training at Intersoccer Madrid; more than Rs 3.5 lakh a year before that on football, piano and other activities.
“Dhruv had a real affinity for sports from the very beginning. If you have that kind of kid in your family, you should go the extra mile to encourage them” Prashanth Alva
Ritika Chandra, who runs Elan Ballet, says today’s parents are well-travelled, very aware and hence very encouraging of these pursuits. “They are willing to support their children’s training as long as they are enjoying it.” Professional ballet classes for children over eight years comes up to around Rs 70,000 a year on training alone. But as they grow older, parents prefer that their children focus on fewer activities over a longer period of time so that they achieve some level of expertise in those, says Rekha Krishnan, head of senior school at New Delhi’s Vasant Valley School.
These days, so many things are easy to come by,” says the 40-year-old
Bonus: Admissions Cred And if a student is applying to universities abroad, it helps to show achievements outside academics, say experts. “It’s competitive out there to get into colleges, as we are well aware.