10-year-old excels in Hindi, playing the tabla, harmonium

Ayush Sankar sings bhajans while playing the harmonium at the Churkoo Village Mandir. -
Ayush Sankar sings bhajans while playing the harmonium at the Churkoo Village Mandir. -


Ten-year-old Ayush Sankar of Cedar Hill Village, Princes Town, started playing the harmonium, tabla and violin from the age of six.

What made him take this path? "My mum," he told Newsday Kids.

His mother, Nirmala Sankar explained. "We wanted him to be involved in his culture."

She added that his grandfather, Brigmohan Boochoon, also played a huge part in his love for music, as Boochoon would often take him to temples from age three, and even bought all the instruments he plays today. When Ayush started playing, his grandfather would often practise the harmonium and tabla with him.

Ayush said he wanted to do this instead of only being interested in smart phones and video games.

He added, "It's fun to play, because I get a lot of compliments."

Ayush, a standard four student of the Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha (SDMS) Palmyra Hindu School, said he has been trying to encourage his friends to learn to play the tabla as well.

He also has a distinction in Hindi – theory and practical ­– from Bharatiya Vidya Sansthhaan (BVS), an educational institute geared towards teaching East Indian culture. He attends the Carlton Centre, High Street, San Fernando branch, where he learns, practises and furthers these skills.

Ayush Sankar practising on the harmonium at his home in Princes Town. -

He said he is excited for school this time around since he can practise singing and playing the instruments for the Baal Vikaas competition.

This annual competition gives all SDMS schools an opportunity to compete in seven categories, which include singing Hindi bhajans and instrumental performances in the same genre. This year, schools will be able to perform with no judging system, in comparison to previous years, since the students had little time to practise owing to the covid19 pandemic.

With Indian Arrival Day being celebrated on Monday, Sankar said he has decided to keep his celebrations to a minimum by just singing bhajans while playing the harmonium at the Churkoo Village Mandir, Princes Town.

His mother added that some of his performances are even aired on TV Jaagriti.

TT recognises Indian Arrival Day every May 30 as the day Indian indentured labourers first arrived in Trinidad in 1845.

Ayush said when he isn't immersed in the arts, he enjoys playing football and Monopoly. That is his favourite board game because, "It's long, I get to buy properties and make my parents pay."

Ayush Sankar plays the tabla at the Churkoo Village Mandir. - Photos courtesy Nirmala Sankar

He hopes to pass the SEA for his first choice, Naparima College, because "a lot of scholars come from there."

He sees himself being an astrophysicist, "for now," but warned he changes his mind about this frequently. His reasons for choosing astrophysics is because of his fascination with outer space, stars and the planets. But with the school year coming to an end, his focus will be to teach his parents Hindi, though he has not decided how as yet.

Ayush urged people interested in learning these skills to "follow your dreams, heart and always be persistent."


"10-year-old excels in Hindi, playing the tabla, harmonium"

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