Where is that imaginative, creative, energetic, vivacious child lost?

Smita, a teacher from one of the sought after schools in Dwarka, N K Bagrodia public school, has been chasing me for the last couple of months to visit her school. She confessed that, ever since she heard me speak at an education leaders conference conducted by ITIHAAS, she wanted to invite me to her school. She would call me to grace one function or other, as a guest. Most of the times, I was on the move. One thing about Smita I always felt when she spoke to me, is her energy and enthusiasm; that transcended the medium of phone. Last week when she called, I acquiesced to be the guest for their annual festival of creativity – Trishna, wherein about 30+ schools from across Delhi were participating.

The real pleasure being in a school lies in the children’s space.  On arrival, I was ushered into the Principal, Dr. Rajee N, Kumar’s room to meet her and a few more school leaders were called too. Dr. Rajee was sharing her experience of watching the children pushing boundaries since morning, in one creative activity or the other. Here I was, so keen to see the children in action, more than distributing the prizes, I was feeling incarcerated, though the interaction with the leadership was invaluable. The real learning is in experiencing the process, not in seeing the final product. I insisted on watching the children in action. The principal was graceful in facilitating me to watch a couple of activities.

Albeit it was at the fag end of the day, I could experience the theatre / acting performance, wherein the students were given 30 minutes to conjure a scene, write a script, select the performers, prepare and present. The students were from classes 7-9 and it was a delight to watch how they went about presenting. Children observe everything, absorb like a sponge and synthesize making meaning out of every action around them. This activity gave me one more opportunity to watch their thought process; how well they could project their learning. Needless to say, I really enjoyed every presentation, reinforcing my beliefs about children and their infinite capabilities.

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Post the event, I was now keen to interact with the school leadership. Thanks to Dr. Rajee, she too was keen to. I was sharing that the ingenuity of children that we witnessed in the activities of the event can be stoked every day, in every class and home; and who are we to restrict to one event or two in a year.

Very unfortunate that in most of the schools in India, in general, the child comes last. Schools need to exist for the child; she must be the center of all activities that schools plan. It is far from being so, the way we operate – the curriculum designed, the courses offered, the syllabus, the pedagogy, the planning to finish syllabus….. the list is endless. Everything is designed to help the school and the teachers to have peace of mind and to enable ease of execution. An imaginative, creative, energetic, vivacious child, bubbling with ideas ends up being a morose, thoughtless, aimless, fearful youth devoid of confidence and self-belief by the time he or she ends schooling.

If only each one of us, every adult – teachers, parents, schools, universities, educational leaders – can believe in every child, put the child first, acknowledge the needs of the child, really bring the openness to create exciting learning environments at schools, universities and home, I think the world will be a far, far better place to live in. The children and youth will be keen to solve the problems that the society in their neighborhood is facing. Every education institution can be at the fore-front of transformation of the society. Alas!

I am a culprit too. It takes immense effort to be open and facilitating. I am trying and have been on that journey for quite some time. Still short-comings come to the fore. I still need to keep my EGO aside. Working on being humble, pleasant, purposeful is still a huge ask, even with all good intentions and awareness of the outcomes.

My personal endeavour has been to be conscious and work towards making every child’s space an exciting one. To this effect, we, leadership at CL Educate, have been proactive to work with schools, institutions, universities to stoke jigyasa (curiosity, inquisitiveness) among children and youth; create an environment to help them explore, research in areas or subjects of their interest; have belief in their capabilities. Over the years the outcomes have been rewarding as we see the Ananda (joy) among children and youth. This facilitates the institutions and families to also realize where the inclinations of the child is and this has lead to remarkable breakthroughs for the progress of children and youth ahead in their careers and life. Many a child has presented his research and innovations in the global conferences, got her work published in prestigious journals; has had confidence to present oneself for an interview to reach the portals of a world class institution or university. The quest is to enable every child, irrespective of the outcome, gain a great deal of belief in oneself for one’s life. The process makes them so.

I welcome anyone who is keen to facilitate his child or children in schools, and youth in college, to write to me. We will be more than happy to facilitate.

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Introspective notes for self, Inspiration for everyone else – June 2013

On Setting goals and Chasing them

DO NOT JUST THINK IT – INK IT! If you have a goal to achieve, write it down. Written goals transform wishes into wants, thoughts into action, cant’s into cans; dreams into plans; and plans into reality. WRITE IT DOWN in as many posters as you want, paste them all over your home, vehicle, especially places where you spend most of your time. Create a song and make it into your mobile tune… Every element around you should be talking to you. JUST DO EVERYTHING POSSIBLE TO PUSH YOURSELF TO REALIZE YOUR GOAL.

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There is nothing called failure, you actually give up. When you fall down and stay down, people say that you failed. Do not give up! Keep banging the door that you want to open. Open, it will. It depends on your passion and perseverance. As long as you do not give up, every door in this world can be opened. Just believe in yourself. Love.

An inspiring video of Mark Inglis, a native of New Zealand, who climbs mount Everest even after becoming a double amputee…

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Importance of execution, and the way you go about

You cannot escape the inevitable, why procrastinate….. Kaal karey so Aaaj Kar, Aaaj Karey so ab…. JUST DO IT!

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Always under-promise and over-deliver…. Over achieving your objectives / targets is the biggest boost of confidence you can give for yourselves and for those who are betting on you.

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Good Judgment comes from a bad experience and Good experience comes from a bad judgment! Why hesitate, just jump and swim…. yes, be prudent in whatever you do! Believe in yourself and your judgments… Enjoy the journey!

An inspiring video that talks about Initiative, Execution and Perseverance

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Out of the box thinking and being creative

Both optimists and pessimists contribute to our society. The optimist invents the Aeroplane, the pessimist, the parachute – Grg Bernard Shaw

A story about two shoe salesman who happened to travel deep into the rain forest and chance upon a primitive tribe. The first salesman messages his boss, “NO opportunities here. All the people go barefoot.” The second one also sent a message, “Everyone here barefoot. Huge opportunity! Send all the possible sizes and styles”….. a favourite story of Akio Morita, founder of SONY.

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Discovery and innovation come out of seeing what everybody sees, but thinking and doing what nobody has ever done before. Do not be afraid to fail, just do it!

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Believe in every individual, he / she can startle you

Accept that people think differently than you do; Do not waste your time trying to convert the diehards. Instead, work with them, live with them, respect their differences, be open to learning from them, and be thankful the world isn’t full of people exactly like you.

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Child is the father of man!

How true this statement is. The way Mallika Nethra Sreenivasan and Svwara go about their explorations, in fact make them the best teachers I have ever had in my life. I need to have more patience to explore and learn as much as I can. Thanks to Indira for making life more meaningful.

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Don’t Expect gratitude! You may get it but don’t expect it. Do whatever you do because it’s right, because it pleases you; Your reward should derive from the fruit of your labours, not the arbitrary whim of disinterested recipients. And when that infrequent expression of gratitude comes your way, humbly accept as it will be that much sweeter.

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If this posting is inspiring enough and has set some thoughts in you, kindly share with others; Leave your comments here, what more I could do to inspire you and others. You may wish to follow the blog for future postings. Thanks, Love and regards. Sreeni

God of creativity and imagination of our era…. Steve, have a wonderful journey!

God of imagination and creativity of this era, Steve Jobs, an epitome of the human potential! Always taken rapid strides on the path of INFINITY – knowing thyself (belief of infinite potential that a human has). Leaving a lasting legacy… what a contribution to the humanity!

I will miss you steve… you have been a great source of inspiration for scores of youth the world over…

I will strive to stay hungry and stay foolish…

Have a great journey..

Love.

One the greatest motivational speeches of all time. An example of what a human being can really strive for and achieve…

“Magic Mirror” and “Tikki Tikki Tambi” – Stories by Mallika

I always enjoyed being with children, observing and learning from them. They keep me wondering all the time. Their ability to create, innovate, think laterally amazes me.

I have always wanted to create a website with all the works of our daughter Mallika, as she is always in the mode of creating something new… she is restless to see her next creation. She has been voracious reader/listener. Indira, my better half, has been reading at least half a dozen books to her every day for the last six years. Mallika will insist. Incentive to Mallika for anything she does, has to be reading a book!! For the last fortnight we have been observing that Mallika’s interest has moved into creating her own stories and also giving shape to them as a theatre performance (looks like this has also been shaped by our weekly visits to theatre / music / dance performances)

The photos of the earliest readings with Mallika

The photos of the earliest readings with Mallika

Here are a couple of stores that she insisted that Indira write the moment she rushed from school last evening. Indira actually wrote two stories narrated. The moment I reached home, Mallika brings the notebook with these stories and insisted on my reading. These stories seem to have been influenced by discussions in her school. Yet, I was taken in and I thought I will blog it. So here it goes.

The language typed in here is as is… ENJOY

Story 1 : Magic Mirror

Once there was a hunter, who lived in Africa. Once the hunter found a snake trying to eat an Antelope. The antelope said, ‘please save me,’ I will be of help to you. The snake said, ‘no no, do not listen to him. I can give you gold or precious treasures or exquisite jewels with stones that are rare.’ The hunter started thinking. He decided to help the snake. He took out the knife and cut off the Antelope’s head. Before dying the Antelope cursed the hunter – “Whatever you get will destroy you and your country!!”

“Give me my reward,” said the hunter to the snake. “Let me digest my food. After one week and take your reward” said the snake.

After one week, the hunter came and found the snake. “Give me my reward,” asked hunter. “Come and hold my tail and come to take your reward,” said the snake. The hunter held the snake’s tail and started following him. The snake led him to a small staircase. They started walking down the dark narrow path. Suddenly some light started emerging from the snake. He turned into a man. He told – “I am the snake king. I live like a human in my land and a snake on your land. I give you one day for thinking what you want.” The man went to his room and saw a nutcracker was cutting wood to make beautiful stones. The man asked – “How can you make wood into beautiful marbles and stones?” The nutcracker asked why he was there. The man told the nutcracker of what the snake king had said. The nutcracker replied, “Ask for Sipao, the magic mirror. He can grant you anything you wish for.”

The man asked for Sipao, then next day. The king gave Sipao to the man. “Sipao, Sipao take me to Africa.” The man became the king of Africa.

The English people wanted to wage a war on Africa because they had golden huts and the straw was as red as ruby. When they waged a war, they were surprised to see African strength. They sent a spy to see what is the small secret.

The hunter kept the magical mirror with his daughter, Jinglao. His daughter was a great friend of the spy. The spy asked her how the gold came to Africa. She told everything to the spy and even showed him the mirror and told him how to use it. He wanted to fool the girl. He told her that he wanted to drink some coconut water. The girl agreed. “Give me Sipao, I can make the coconut sweeter that way.” The girl agreed and gave Sipao to the man. The man climbed up and whispered to Sipao, “Sipao Sipao take me to my land.” Sipao went as he was bid.

The English and Africans waged a war on each other. “Please Please Jinglao, give me my mirror,” said the hunter. “I don’t have it,” told her daughter. The man was upset. That way the Africans lost and became a poor country.
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Mallika at Crafts Mela, Suraj Kund

Mallika at Crafts Mela, Suraj Kund

Story 2. Tikki Tikki Tambo

There was a man and a woman who had two sons. The elder one was Sam, the younger one was “Tikki Tikki Tambo No Sarimbo Hurry Kurri Bushy Perry Pem Do Hurri Kari Pom Pom Nikino Mino Dom Barrako”

One day sam fell in the well. The other boy went home and told his mother – “sam has fallen in the well.” Mother went to father – “your son has fallen in the well.” The man took it seriously. He got a ladder and sam came out.

They started playing again. This time, Tikki Tikki Tambo No Sarimbo Hurry Kurri Bushy Perry Pem Do Hurri Kari Pom Pom Nikino Mino Dom Barrako, fell in the well. So Sam went to his mother and said – “Tikki Tikki Tambo No Sarimbo Hurry Kurri Bushy Perry Pem Do Hurri Kari Pom Pom Nikino Mino Dom Barrako has fallen in the well.” Mother went to the father and said “Tikki Tikki Tambo No Sarimbo Hurry Kurri Bushy Perry Pem Do Hurri Kari Pom Pom Nikino Mino Dom Barrako has fallen in the well.” Father ran and got the ladder. When they reached the well, he had already died.

[Mallik said it was a sad story, the boy dies. He died because it to so much time every time to repeat his name. That is the reason Chineese do not keep long names for anyone]

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Mallika @ SPIC MACAY gotipua/odissi intensive performance, IIT Kanpur

Mallika @ SPIC MACAY gotipua/odissi intensive performance, IIT Kanpur

The day before I was wondering what she was writing on a note book from an Amar Chitra Katha, Shakuntala. I noticed that she was scribbling all the characters from the story book. Against one of the characters, Shakuntala, the main protagonist of the story, she had written her own name – Mallika. On asking, Mallika shared that she has already planned the drama, Shakuntala and she is going to play the main character, and she is on look out for other actors… Then she went on to narrate how the story will unveil on the stage.. One of the scenes “When Dushyant has to go on a chariot, do you know how it will go? Two of the characters, who do not have a role in that scene, will hide inside the chariot and hold it and run across the stage. Dushyant also will be inside the chariot with his bow and arrow, and he will run along with the ropes of the horses in his hand.. It will look as if Dushyant is riding the chariot.” and her production narration went on…

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Amazing how children can really imagine, relate and create…. If only we can facilitate their blossoming… I have to do a lot more..

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