After one year and one month on the fifth floor of a mission street building overlooking the sea(we did have a sea view), we decided that the time has come to upgrade to a bigger and better place. No sooner had we started our search, an interesting location was brought to our knowledge. A pre-school had recently closed down on Vysial street and we felt it may be worth inquiring. It did not take more than two days to make the important decision.
When I first walked through the gates of the house I was welcomed by Micky mouse, Pinnochio, Dora, Chota Beam and many more cartoon characters elaborately made by the previous tenants, and the house was thrice the size of our older place on Mission street (and psst.. lesser rent). And naturally a smile bloomed on my face, and in a few days we started packing.
It took us a few weeks and bit of expense to turn the old house to a modern chess club. We had an enormous space advantage, as I would term it, in this new place. Naturally, we had the time, space and resource to strike off one of our long dreamt projects from the tasks list – A creative play area for children.
We picked a room that was large enough for the play area, and began flooring and wall paper work. (Our Minions wall paper never materialized, thanks to the terrible team we hired to do the job)
THE LEGO WALL PROJECT:
It was easy to put the design on paper, but it was the most tricky job I’ve ever taken up. After finding a suitable space to put up the wooden plywood/low density fiber board, it was mostly a mathematical nightmare for a not-so-mathematical person. Putting up the board in the right place, and making sure all the 21 Lego base plates were in the right position was a nightmare.
I think I should have assembled everything before putting it up on the wall. It was a tug of war with powerful adhesives. The chemical gave me around two seconds to put it in the right spot, and a lot of glue was on my hands after the work. I had to rub them off with kerosene and later soap them off. I think this whole story is worth a separate blog post in itself.
In the end, the lego wall was put up, although with minor dimensional imperfections. In he picture below, imagine dozens of small minions on a wall paper above the board. That was the initial design. The project prolonged too much and then was cancelled. Then I ran out of budget before I could hire another team.
The Ball pool / Ball Pit:
The inflatable swimming poll took a dent when shifting from the old place. It took me ages to locate the hole. At one point of time, when I felt that the hole was too difficult to locate, I tried to fill up the top tube (There are three separate inflatable tubes) with Bean bag fillings. After three hours, and all sweaty with thermacol beans scattered everywhere in the room, I gave up the project. Well, one reason was that I only filled about maybe 20% after a few hours. And the second, when I was wresting with the beans, I figured out the location of the hole. SO, I started patching it up! And voila!
The sliding doors were an add-on. It was donated by our friends from Pondybucks, a local cafe. Installing the sliding door gave us more control, which we especially needed during tournaments and to set some rules for access. (example: Kids have to complete homework for access, lol)
The previous location was just a single hall, I could keep everything under my radar, but here, the spaces were all scattered. So, the logical conclusion was the need for a few security cameras.
The path ahead:
I would like to finish this blog post with our dreams for the times ahead. Our primary aim is for Aspire to provide Fun and effective Chess training for kids, and to cultivate the right atmosphere (competitive, creative) to sustain their growth from beginner to strong tournament players. From making the classes fun, to having fun between classes, to organizing strong practice tournaments, to providing the right learning tools, Aspire is set in motion again and as we write this… a children library is being made, and space for projector is being set up. It’s going to be a fun and busy time (months, years) ahead for us. I would like to thank everyone, especially our friends, students/parents, local chess enthusiasts/players/officials and family for helping grow this far and for your continuous support. Thank you!
~ Arun J