Sulthan Bathery: Fourteen tribal students had their rare foray into places far away from their forest dwellings as they arrived for the 59th Kerala State School Arts Festival, Kalolsavam, held in Alappuzha. They came from the forests where the soul of folk songs lies and took on the folk songs of the land with their tribal songs. They belong to the Kattunayakan tribe of Wayanad
Manusha, Nithya, Meera, Manikandan and others are students of Rajiv Gandhi Memorial Model Residential School at Noolpuzha near Sulthan Bathery in Wayanad district. They nurtured a dream to travel in a train and they realised it as they proceeded to Alappuzha. They purchased tickets in Jan Shatabdi for their maiden train journey.
The journey was similar to the one in buses, noted the students as the popular inter-city train has only chair cars.
The students were even eager to experience how to lie down in a train as they have seen in films. The tribal welfare department representative, Vijayan Malayil, who came to know about their wish in this regard, got them get down at Ernakulam Junction station. From there they boarded the Shalimar Express which had vacant sleeper berths which enabled them to stretch themselves for the rest of their trip.
En route too they spoke about the tales of the forests. They are children of people who climb huge trees to collect and sell honey, kalpasham (black stone flower) and wild gooseberries to eke out a living. The instruments they use for the orchestra are from their backyard and the songs were the ones sung by their grandmoms.
The tribal students were trained by Prajod Urulam and Prasad Chulliyod.