Indiantelevision.com's Kidology
 
 
FIRST TAKE
A fun school to be in...
 
By HETAL ADESARA
Indiantelevision.com Team
(Posted on 16 August 2006)
 

Kuch to mast baat hai, is jagah ki!
Galli galli mein baat hai, is jagah ki!

There's something special about this place... for sure!

Education for kids in India just got a fresh "fun face of learning" as Cartoon Network launched Galli Galli Sim Sim -- the Indian version of Sesame Street -- on 15 August. With a catchy foot-tapping title track, this one is a sure shot winner from the house of Turner Broadcasting Network India and Miditech.

The first thought that came to me when I saw the first episode of Galli Galli Sim Sim on Independence Day was - "Wow! I wish they had this thing when I was young!"

The 'Galli Galli Sim Sim' clan

That thought apart... Galli Galli Sim Sim is a fun-filled learning series for kids, which also focuses on the cultural diversity of our nation and cuts across rural and urban India.

The muppets somewhat remind me of the two muppets in yesteryears' UTV show on Zee TV - Junglee Toofan Tyre Puncture. But you can blame it on a sponge like memory or the fact that it was the only muppet show during my school days when there were not as many channels to watch.

Coming back to Galli Galli Sim Sim, so what's so great about the show, one would ask, and how is it different? A half hour show sans any ad breaks holds the attention of the viewer (adults and kids alike) due to several reasons. For one, the four vibrant characters - Boombah, Chamki, Googly and Aancho - are just too adorable. Secondly, the show has been interspersed with teaching kids the Hindi language alphabets and along with the meanings of words like 'zaruri' (important), 'chaukna' (startled) etc. While it is not the teaching lessons per se that catches the eye, but the difference lies in the way in which it is taught and put forth.

For example, the meaning of the basic Hindi words are enacted by the muppets in simple ways. It was adorable to see Chamki trying her level best to explain Boombah the meaning of 'chaukna.' Boombah, on the other hand, just wouldn't get what it meant despite Chamki's repeated efforts. It finally took Googly to startle the both of them for Boombah to realise what the word meant.

While the muppets explained the meaning of one word, the explanation of another word -- 'zaruri' -- was depicted through an animation clip.

In between the muppets' antics, a few other small animation clips with a special message were also shown. For example: one clip had an ant on a tree branch trying hard to move a cube of sugar towards its nest. However much she tried in every possible way, she couldn't move it even an inch. Finally, she licked and bit into the sugar cube to make it circular so as to roll it up the branch. Problem solving is what this depicted and showed kids a way to get around a hurdle.

Galli Galli Sim Sim also has a segment where kids are shown playing and dancing while learning alphabets. The song and dance routine makes learning a fun experience.

Road rules are also instilled into kids through the show. A segment was shown when the cap of a moppet, who was waiting on a pavement, flies away across the road due to strong winds. The moppet remembers what her mother told her about never crossing the road without an adult on her side. She then fetches her aunt from the nearby house, who assists her in crossing the road and fetching her cap.

Coming back to the muppets, Aanchoo is seen singing songs with the other muppets and kids, which of course have some learning element - be it about alphabets and the words beginning with them or be it about a simple thing like laughter.

A whole lot of messages are packed in half an hour and a particular sequence is not stretched beyond four - five minutes.

On the whole, Galli Galli Sim Sim aims at inspiring kids to explore, question and interact with adults, learn and experience life as equals. The series is also an attempt to build bridges between urban and rural India, making learning of Hindi fun, creating original songs, linking formal learning to informal settings such as identifying shapes in the environment, identifying sounds of alphabets in play and natural life spaces etc.

Kudos to the the Sesame India team of researchers and educationalists and kudos to the team spearheaded by Miditech president Niret Alva and Cartoon Network India for delivering a product as rich as this!

 
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