Child, the mentor of every parent : Mallika, mine

I have been deferring writing for some time. Every day brings forth so much, worth penning an article a day. Lazy or I can say misplaced priorities, I must say about myself.

Yesterday was a very eventful and memorable day for me! All thanks to our lovely daughter Mallika. She was awarded the scholarship in school for her meritorious work and excellence in Music, through her middle-school, classes 6-8, at Sardar Patel Vidyalaya, her school. Music is one of those intelligence that is not so common as maths and sciences, still we usually look down upon. Thankfully at our home, it is appreciated. The right brain enriches the left brain effectiveness and we invest significant time to facilitate the right.

Collecting the scholarship from eminent public servant, Mr. Lakhan Mehrotra formerly Secretary in the Department of Foreign Affairs, Government of India

Here are a couple of favourite compositions of the school. The school has many a music album to its credit. Mallika features in the choir..

Yes, over the last six months there has been a concern with her performance in other subjects, especially Maths and Sciences. Mallika is brilliant there too, but interest and passion is lacking. I have been running with her a little more purposefully to infuse the passion. I always feel bad if one does not perform to ones potential. I am sure she would realize hers soon.

What made me introspect more is one more episode that happened last night. We have been talking to Mallika about a great opportunity in a fellowship, Counter Speech Fellowship, that aims to expose a very young mind to a variety of perspectives, especially in the world that is getting influenced by the proliferation of Social Media. We have been having talks with Mallika about her inclinations and engaging interactions over Social Media, both overt and covert, in the last few months. We felt, some of them are not only unproductive but energy sapping and rendering her ineffective.

It was Oct 31st, the last date to fill the form for the Scholarship and time 8pm. When we went through the form, we realized it demands introspection and expression of oneself, not only in words but also she has to design a poster. Mallika was revising for her weekly test scheduled this morning. We spoke to Mallika, whether she would still like to fill the long form for the fellowship. She said she wants to. I just spoke to her broadly about the purpose of the questions and went to my room. She filled the form and did everything to be submitted before she called me to show. I said, if she is happy, just submit. It was almost 11pm.

And this morning I saw a copy of the form that came my way from the fellowship office. When I went through, I felt so inspired by Mallika’s expression, I am still overwhelmed. CHILD IS A MENTOR OF PARENT, Mallika mine. I felt like expressing. Here insights into what our young darling is blossoming into.

What excites you about the Counter Speech Fellowship?

The mind of an adolescent is always a tumultuous one, the heart is one that is often unexpressed and the thoughts are always confused ones. Many feel alone, unsure and weak. Many around us , harm those weaker than themselves to feel powerful. Many seem to feel eyes judgemental eyes on them even in an empty corridor. We are surrounded by individuals who frequently use the term “depressed” to describe their state of mind. People think its a joke and that it is okay to put somebody under a term that is not a very friendly one, something that may be racist ,sexist ,casteist or any other term which makes one feel low and discouraged. A lot of our ideas are influenced by the internet, which may or may not be giving our thoughts the right shape and direction. One always feels the need to be guarded and protected.This is the time of discovering oneself and of self-realisation . People should realize that it is NOT okay to close your eyes and take it or see someone else take it. Your voice, can make a difference.

As I see it, the counter speech fellowship is an opportunity to voice my opinions and engage with others who are my age and who believe that these same set of problems should be tackled. I want to know more about Bullying, Body Positivity, Mental Well being, Embracing Diversity, Safe Spaces Online and Violent Extremism and learn better ways of making people aware of these issues .
This is why the Counter speech fellowship excites me.

Have you held any leadership position at school or outside of it? Tell us about some life lessons from that experience.

Yes, I have held a leadership position before. I have been elected as the representative of my class at school (Sardar Patel Vidyalaya) quite a few times.
Something I learnt while I was a class representative was that, all people are very very different. We all have our own set of likes and dislikes. You cannot control somebody ( it makes them rebel) and you should not take such condescending behaviour either . Everybody’s idea of an ideal individual differs. It is important to respect other’s thoughts as well as have your own opinions which one should have the courage to express. This is what, in my opinion , can make us better. I also think that one can be a good leader only when one listens to other opinions and learns to accommodate others.

The themes for the 2017 Fellowship are: Bullying, Body Positivity, Mental Wellbeing, Embracing Diversity, Creating Safe Spaces Online and Countering Violent Extremism. Tell us about a personal experience that makes you passionate about one or more of these themes.

I come from a modest middle class family. Ever since I was young, I have been taught to share, to include people , to always be open to learning. As a family we travel widely and try to experience and interact with new places and people.

I have attended various workshops on a variety of topics and am interested in the performing arts (I am trained Bharatanatyam dancer, a Carnatic music vocalist and a theatre person).

All my experiences have given me memories which I will cherish forever. But would it have been as memorable if it weren’t for the people? Would it possible to learn so many new things from new places and to gather such experiences randomly?
The beauty of life is in differences. In different cultures, traditions, thoughts , ideas and lives. Differences make our life more exciting , they give us something new to learn, to behold, to try , to explore.
It is funny , that one would feel more at home with their warm and friendly neighbour than a relative who appears to be cold. Relations are made not pre-decided. Diversity should be celebrated. A canvas is more beautiful when it has many colours. 🙂

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What a clarity in the young mind. So much we can facilitate to help her blossom. I shall commit more of myself to facilitate both Mallika and Svwara, along with Indira. God bless every young mind. Love.

Will add videos to this, as and when I find time.

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Encouraging fitness and Fostering collaboration : CL Srijan – Olympics 2017

Health, fitness, stamina, endurance, speed, alacrity are paramount for any individual’s excellence and fostering of team spirit, belonging, oneness, collaboration in the process of realizing the greater vision is the key to organizational excellence.

The Annual Olympic Srijan holds a mirror to each one to take stock of personal health and team health parameters. Here, I managed to capture a few glimpses to stitch into one short film. Enjoy.

“Empowering to Excel,” Season 2, creates more magic at Dibrugrah University, Sept 17

Endeavaours at the Dibrugarh university are adding more magic to the students and the university, empowering them to excel in life. Post my last visit in August, I had shared a short write up, here is the next post. The Videos here share what a human being can gain, how one can transform in life, in just a matter of four days. It is all about the awakening that one goes through, discovering the purposefulness in life and with determination moves in the direction that he or she ought to move.

Enjoy listening to their reflections and sharing of their delightful transformations…

Here is a video that strings together short captures of many participants making their presentations, and engaging in public speaking, for the very first time in life. Look at their confidence.

Every presenter has worked in a group of complete strangers, from other departments of the university, to study an alien topic (the topics they never ever read or studied about – due to poor reading habits), discuss, engage, share and then create a presentation to engage larger public of aliens (other groups).

I gain a lot more inspiration from the whole exercise, as it reinforces my belief that it is possible to bring the transformation in a very short span of time. I believe, I can.

SPIC MACAY : An inward transformational journey; A Cultural Immersion – Convention 2017

I am very fortunate to undertake the soulful inward journeys laced with the culture pilgrimage of SPIC MACAY every year, all through. For every ambassador of Indian and world culture it has been a very enriching one as always. Here I captured the essence of the pilgrimage 2017, SPIC MACAY international convention 2017 held at IIT Delhi recently. You can check the visual captures, in still form, at my FLICKR stream

The Prime Minister of India, Sri Narendra Modi, inaugurating the International convention 2017, in his inimitable style of eloquence, pays tribute to the movement of SPIC MACAY and also to the founder of the movement, Dr. Kiran Seth. Beseeches the youth to embrace the spirit and purpose of the movement.

The following short video documentary, in five parts, captures the essence of the conventions, the daily schedule followed, the spirit of volunteerism, the passionate facilitation by gurus who have dedicated their lives for the cause of artforms, the earnest desire of every participant to assimilate, imbibe and live the spirit as well as the art forms, as much as they can.

The week long convention is an endeavour to instill the discipline and have a sublime control of ones own life and expose every participant to the mysticism of arts and culture.

The days start at 4am with YOGA, then shramdan to keep our environment clean and tidy, then after a break of an hour for morning ablutions, commences with the intensives. Every participant will undergo an intensive to gain deeper understanding of an art form works with a Guru for seven days, four hours a day. The afternoons after the lunch is devoted the exposing every participant to a variety of genre like not limited to music and dance but also theatre, choir music, folk music and dance, puppetry etc. The evenings are devoted to classical music and dance performances.
Enjoy watching!



The last day is all about sharing the learning during the week gone by, in every art form. .Here are a few of the showcasing I have been able to capture at a couple of venues. I apologize for not being able to cover all the five centres of performances.


Come participate and contribute to the propagation of art forms and the spread of the spirit of brotherhood and composite culture. UNITY in Diversity.

Indian Education Congress 2017 : The Digital Transformation in Education & Training

Session Highlights:

  • Is Digital Transformation only for the big institutions
  • Should we transform a Training Organisation in totality or only the skill learning component
  • Are schools ready for MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses)
  • Should we integrate Student Management with LMS in Higher Education

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Session Moderator: Mr. Aditya Malik, CEO & MD-Talent Edge & Senior Partner-Lumis Partners

  • Dr. Antriksh Johri, Director-IT & CISO, Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE)
  • Prof. Dr. Dwarika Uniyal, Assistant Dean, & Executive-Education, IIM Kashipur
  • Mr. Gopal Devanahalli, Senior Vice President, Manipal Global Education
  • Mr. Sreenivasan Ramakrishnan, Co-Founder, CL Educate (Career Launcher)

As an introduction to the session, a short film about a toddler playing with an IPad thrown among a few print magazines, was shown; and naturally the toddler liked the response of the icons on the IPAD that open new windows when pressed upon and not the print media that was passive and did nothing on pressing the photos on it! And was told that child of future will naturally make his choices….

I was not in consonance to this way of looking at digitization of education. It is very important to really understand a human being first, to know where to introduce, what to introduce and when to…

About a decade or two, children were branded as couch potatoes addicted to television. A family had one television and every one fought for the remote. Circa 2017, there are as many personalized entertainment gadgets in hand, as as many people in the home !! Children do not want to move out to play….. on the other hand, a young doctor of 24 complains about 72 hours of non-stop duty in the hospital. Imagine the fitness needed from a young doctor ! Will you get that if you thrust the Ipad to a 7-month old?

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The human being is the most creative and intelligent being that has ever been created by the almighty. A child has so many intelligences and we intend to confine the child to playing with icons? One of the popular theory of Multiple intelligences propounded by Mr. Howard Gardener, talks about eight of them that a human being is naturally born with –

  • musical-rhythmic,
  • visual-spatial,
  • verbal-linguistic,
  • logical-mathematical,
  • bodily-kinesthetic,
  • naturalistic
  • interpersonal,
  • intrapersonal

Unless we do not facilitate the child to blossom in all these intelligences, we lose out on of the greatest creation that god has bestowed on this world – creative, thinking human being.

Of course, digitization can help in personalization of learning, but we should know when we should introduce and what quantum and which features.

A FEW FUNDAMENTAL QUESTIONS you need to ask yourself, to understand underlying principles of learning-

  • What percent of what we have been taught we apply? What do we apply?
    • The audience responded …less than 20%
    • We apply more of what we learnt in the playgrounds and other arenas where we were involved in action and learnt a great deal.
  • What percentage we learnt from teacher, what percentage we learn from friends?
    • Here again, majority of what we learnt is from discussions and interactions, not from a lecture that is made boring by most teachers. Of course, there are brilliant exceptions
  • How many teachers do we remember fondly and why?
    • We were very good in those subjects where teacher showed affection and compassion.
    • We naturally want to perform well in those subjects and took interest

And HOW MUCH do we retain or recall of what we have been exposed to?

  • What we hear….10% retained
  • What we read….30% retained
  • What we see…..40% retained
  • What we do……70-80% retained

So whatever we create in the learning process, we need to lay emphasis on hard-core hands-on experience that the learner will retain for his life-time.

Why do we need Digitization of Education?

  1. To learn at your own TIME and SPACE
  2. To reach the best of the faculty and learning process to the remotest learner
  3. Revisiting the important or to understand, as many times as you want
  4. Engaging the learner enough to help him understand and imbibe
  5. Ability to create a variety of resources at the learners disposal

As CL Educate what has been your experience?

  • 2000 AD: compasscom : The supplementary and complementary web-based facilitation for school education beyond class VI
  • synchronous and asynchronous modes
  • 2001 AD Facilitated Live sessions on various subjects . …even biology, with a lot of animation and graphical representation of processes was used then
  • engaging content, desktop/laptop

In 2005 created even a virtual chemistry lab – catering to the US schools under no child left behind program

Over the years mobility has come to play a central role

  • Over the last two decades the digitization processes in CL Educate has helped to
    • Create enough resources online to engage every learner
      • conceptual learning, demonstrating the concept
      • applying to understand
      • practice to master
      • engaging with fellow learners to feel good and also share and learn
        – discussion rooms, forums,
        – gaming!
    • Ability to facilitate upward of 3000 students in a single session, at times
    • Enough Success stories created
      – across the segments
      – study at home students CAT/ LST…
      – schools …using

What is the Role of a teacher in the digitized world? One has to be a
– An eager learner all the time;
– courage to fail as he pushes his boundaries
– Have humility to unlearn and learn, even from students
– Ability to be an ideator, generate ideas and implement them
– Of course a facilitator to even those who are learning from huge geographical distances
– Create MOOCs
What sort of Impact on learners in CL Educate endeavours
– test prep … Night classes, huge numbers attend to these classes every day from comfort of home
– any time anywhere… having mobile resident modules as well as ability to log into live sessions even while on the move

What Future trends do you see…..

Disruptive technologies will bring huge shifts in the entire learning cycle. We will see the impact of a few of the following technologies very soon..
– virtual reality, augmented reality
– machine learning
– deep learning

H H Dalai Lama – ‘Love and Compassion make all the difference’

It has always been a pleasure contributing to the spaces where children observe, introspect, participate, engage, discuss, debate and learn. One such movement that I have been part of as a volunteer, contributor and advisor has been ITIHAAS, an endeavor by a team of strong-willed and highly capable youth lead by Smita Vats and Shivani, has been doing a yeoman service for over 15 years now, in the space of Heritage Education for children. The movement now addresses children and institutions in Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh while children from across the country travel to these states to soak in and also learn the heritage of our rich, composite nation.

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There are many initiatives by ITIHAAS, year around, that engage the children, schools and the entire education community not only through their walks but also through facilitation of research in literature, music, traditions, livelihoods that are integral to Heritage.

As part of the latest initiative, first in the series of Changemakers talk, His Holiness Dalai Lama delivered the ITIHAAS ANNUAL ADDRESS to the school fraternity… What an interaction, it was !!  Always a pleasure listening to His Holiness. It was a wonderful opportunity to interact with him too. Just observing him silently is good enough to absorb so much about purposefulness towards humanity…

As he was addressing the children, teachers and education community, laced with his inimitable humour, I made it point to tweet whatever I could gather. Here I collate my tweets and share for posterity. Each of the points that he shares are invaluable –

  • Every #child receiving #love, affection, hugs of #parents in #childhood, will grow to be a confident and compassionate adult
  • we, generation of 20th century created a lot of problems, your gen of 21st century, has to solve. Solve Disagreement by talking
  • Young generation, #brothers and #sisters, think how to build a happy and compassionate world, through education and learning
  • Through warm heartedness you will be able to resolve every issue in the world; love, forgiveness will help you to bring peace
  • Anger brings violence; conflicts need to be solved through dialogue; love others and respect them to facilitate. Create peace
  • Non violence, peaceful dialogue by you will create a peaceful and happy family, society and world228
  • #Secular #education needs to include moral #values, ethics; value of warm heartedness makes the difference to humanity
  • fear is part of human being; I train my mind through analytical #meditation; analyse the source of anger; you will solve
  • Positivity begets positivity, creates peace; work towards eliminating negativity; Ahimsa and Karuna can solve all problems
  • without inner #peace we cannot develop world peace? #Trust & #affection will beget happiness & peace at home and society
  • As an youngster, I can contribute to solving every problem with my small actions with awareness; environmental issues, example
  • People’s movement – I must think, I must talk, I must work – our vision, on sharing, can gather mass to bring change
  • All religions, all traditions talk of love, harmony. #India needs to take lead in promoting tolerance, forgiveness and peace
  • Different #religions may have different approaches for different people, but the final purpose is #oneness and #love
  • Be a kind-hearted and #compassionate person. #Education needs to just contribute for this one purpose. That is the basic value
  • I never saw my mother angry. Not just me, she cared for every child ….First teacher of love and compassion is my mother
  • Every teacher has responsibility towards every child.Yr love helps every child understand whatever U impart. Infuses Happiness
  • Secret of my youth. 9 hrs of sleep and rest of 15 hours with peaceful thoughts. Have healthy mind. Smile adds to handsomeness

He also interacted with students by taking their questions and responding. I shall get the complete video across soon…

I have not done justice to this event if I do not speak about the Live painting by Artist Vilas Nayak that mesmerized His Holiness The Dalai Lama Dalai Lama. I consciously did not do, as I felt I need to write a separate story on it. I shall.

 

Acceptance

I came across this beautiful note on acceptance, that reminded me of soulfulness.. thought of sharing and having in my notes here.

When we don’t accept an undesired event, it becomes *Anger*;
when we accept it, it becomes *Tolerance.*

When we don’t accept uncertainty,
it becomes *Fear*;
when we accept it,
it becomes *Adventure.*

When we don’t accept other’s bad behaviour towards us,
it becomes *Hatred;*
when we accept it,
it becomes *Forgiveness.*

When we don’t accept other’s Success, it becomes *Jealousy;* when we accept it,
it becomes *Inspiration.*

Acceptance is the key to handling life well.
……… Have a beautiful day.

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