The Sanghumugham Beach in Thiruvananthapuram is nearly always full of people – day and night, irrespective of the new malls in the city. But on Sunday, even by Sanghumugham standards, the crowd was too much – tens of thousands, as Dr Ajit Kumar speaks. He is the director of the newly opened art museum on the other side of the road. He and others with him, dejected by the lesser number of visitors to the museum that the corporation had opened with a lot of expectations, decided to spice up the beach life –bringing lights, activities, sports, cultural shows – and create a carnival out of it.
“The main idea of the carnival was to work as a promotion for the museum, so that people, who come to the beach for no specific reason but just to be at the beach, may be attracted to the art world across the street,” says Dr Ajit Kumar. It is not just the museum, there is also the Vyloppilly Samskrithi Bhavan and the District Tourism Promotion Council, jointly working together for the carnival.
You know it is a carnival when it is evening and the sun has set and the lights, that cinematographer Sinu Siddharth has painstakingly erected through the beach, are switched on. The sand, with the impressions of thousands of footsteps, turns violet one minute, green another. “Sinu spent a lot of time to make it perfect,” Ajit says.
Scattered across this lit up part of the beach are glass platforms, lighted from below. Families sit around the platforms that look like mini teapoys and make art with sand. It’s nice to see age not becoming a bar here, when mothers draw more enthusiastically than their young kids, making beautiful patterns with their fingers. “This is one space where everyone could come and sit just to enjoy, to celebrate like a festival but without the religious boundaries of one. It is a secular space, more than anything else,” Ajit says.
In another corner is a make-shift ground made ready for the local sports teams to play a different game every day – beach football, beach volleyball, beach vadamvali and so on. Next to the sports ground is a stage for the cultural shows that happen every evening at 7. It began with folk songs on February 22, followed by plays and dance shows and music band performances. Thursday – February 28 – when the carnival ends, it would be musician Job Kurian and his band, performing in the company of new singer Anne Amie.
First time, watching Theyyam. This was held as part of the Beach Carnival at the Sanghumugham Beach in Thiruvananthapuram. And on a stage, it seemed different from the on-the-ground, among-the-people performances you hear about. pic.twitter.com/IsrynGLmDx— Cris (@cristweets) February 27, 2019
There is also a temporary food court, with a menu containing the state’s favourite fish specials and the more popular fast food items. Outside the food court, on one side is the DC book fair. On the other side, a step away from the art museum, there is a space for Fine Arts College students to draw portraits of those who wish to have them made.
The carnival ends on Thursday.