Saturday, December 7, 2013

One of those moments...

It was a dialogue session with the Tarangs (age 12-14) and Viju was in Chennai, making me the only adult in the group that day. At one point a squabble broke out and one of the children pointed to another: 'Sreejata aunty, he is disturbing me.'
'Have you told him that? Then why are you complaining to me? Do you think my telling him will change anything?'
'But you are the adult here. He would listen to you.'
'That is his problem ... that he is making an authority out of me. But do you realize when you complain to me, you too are making an authority out of me?'
I could see the stunned pause in both the children's eyes. They had never thought of it that way. It was a Eureka moment for me too ...
Since then, I must say, I have noticed very little complaining to me. I do not know if it is because they have given up on me, as a worthless adult (:-)), or if it is because there has been some seeing there!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Lets fix it!

For many weeks now, when you turn off the Somanahalli main road into the mud road that leads you the gate for Shibumi, there is a horrible stretch of road. About 10 meters of slush and clayey mud that makes it really tough for the vans to come in. Venki (our driver) always takes a deep breath and a measured pause before he drives through this patch. So yesterday morning while Venki was driving us (a group of children between the ages of 5 and 9 and two adults) to a lake… we had a sudden idea! LETS FIX THE ROAD!! So we turned back into Shibumi, walked to the patch with a tool in our hand and the energy to fix it. We rolled up our sleeves and trousers and got to ‘work’. Scooping all the water out and trying to level the mud on all sides.
The excitement took us through the first quarter hour, the motivation to fix in the next fifteen minutes and somehow for an hour and a half we managed to work hard. Then we stopped! Exhausted. It was a mammoth task, we gave all our energy and had not made the tiniest improvement to the road.
We walked back, soaked in the muddy water with plans for the road!
‘We should get a tractor load of gravel.’
‘If Sharad bhaiya and Sagar (18 year old student) came, they would do it super fast!’
‘We should pay taxes to the government, and they should fix it.’
‘If everyone at school came and worked, we’d surely fix it.’
Let’s see what happens now…

Friday, September 20, 2013

Playing with yoga

Each time I start this class , I never really know what is going to happen and I am truly reminded of K's question, "Can you look at something afresh, like you are doing it for the very first time in your life?"

This is the very attitude I am constantly trying to bring to the older different ways. It is a complete mystery to me what brings this movement about, yet on the days this shift happens it is palpable. I know from the young faces around me that something different happened.

With the younger children, the challenge is different, how does one keep interest alive in a sustained physical movement without bringing word/ thought into it? And with a group of chatterboxes dying to see/ compare with the neighbours' body, push without bringing about resistance? Here it is definitely more playful, and stories  are important as the class unfolds.

As in no other space in my life, I see that one never steps into the same river twice.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Dark and Light harmony


Notan is a term used in Japanese art, meaning ‘dark – light harmony’. Notan art is characterised by the interplay of light and dark, white and black, positive and negative, in which these opposites create a harmonious and balanced composition.

Before the kids and i started out on making our own art work, i showed them a collection of Notan art work that really struck me and which could be used as launching pads into our art work.

Each child was given an A4 sheet of black paper, one half of an A4 sheet of white paper , a pair of scissors and a glue stick. They were asked to cut out a series of shapes from one of the sides of their white paper.When they had finished cutting, I asked them to glue their strip of white paper on one side of the black paper, with the cut-out edge facing the middle. The children then put back the shapes they had cut-out, as if they were completing a jigsaw puzzle. I showed them how to flip each shape over, along the central axis, so that each ‘positive’ cut-out shape perfectly mirrored the ‘negative’ space that was left behind.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Ways of thinking in Math.

Kabir: Well, the area of the lawn is 635 sq. metres and each bag of grass seed can be used for 25 sq. metres how many bags will you buy?
Sidh: 25
Kabir: think Sidh think. how many square metres will 25 bags cover
Sidh: 25 times 25 which is 625 sq. metres
Kabir:Then won't you need more than 25 bags?
Sidh: Well I do not want to buy more bags because they will get wasted