Last weekend of July; I got to do something new. I got an invite from Amaatra Academy in Bangalore to attend their first literary festival, “Sahithya…The Literary Curve” and conduct a workshop on blogging for students as well as judge a few inter-school competitions. But, I was a bit apprehensive about the proposition, since I did not have prior experience of interacting with students in a forum like this. However, I was eager to understand the minds of students who were half my age. How they think, interact and see the world?
I am glad, that I made the decision to go ahead and take that leap of faith. It turned out to be a truly enriching experience for me. The children were energetic, proactive and curious. They grabbed every opportunity with both hands. The overwhelming participation both in competitions and the workshops testified that. My interaction with the students during the workshop gave me new insight and a fresh perspective on things. They asked very interesting questions thereby contributing towards making the workshop productive and interactive.
My endeavour during the workshop was to generate curiosity among the students towards blogging. So, that post the session they are motivated to make use of their talent and take the first steps towards starting a blog. I didn’t want them to fall into the trap of overthinking. The vibe that I got from the them was positive and many of them showed the zeal and imagination necessary to go on this creative journey.
However, there was another takeaway for me. One that was purely for my senses. When I walked through the corridors of Amaatra Academy, I couldn’t help but feel nostalgic. The experience kindled in me a longing to see my alma mater once again. Corridor was the favourite place of our principal, the late Father Boris D’Santos of St. Xavier’s Collegiate School, Kolkata. Very few would have gotten away without a caning from him, if seen loitering around in the corridor during classes. But then if you were inquisitive and had an interesting question to ask, he would also be the first one to engage you in a riveting conversation.
These and many more memories, of the “good old days” flashed before my eyes. As I walked up to the podium to make my speech, I silently thanked all the teachers who had taught me and helped shape my character. Their contribution in my life cannot be put into words.
Aristotle said, “Those who educate children well are more to be honoured than they who produce them; for these only gave them life, those the art of living well.”
I sincerely thank Amaatra Academy, the fabulous teachers, students and the organizing team for giving me the opportunity to interact with an energetic and inquisitive bunch of students. I learnt a lot from them, while sharing some of my experiences with them. The hospitality was great and the organizing team of “Sahithya” should be applauded for their efforts, for doing such a fantastic job. If the motive of “Sahithya” was to help students explore their artistic side and urge them to pay attention to that as well, I think the festival was a grand success. I wish Amaatra Academy and “Sahithya”, the very best!
(Photo credits: students of Amaatra Academy)