“Every child is an artist. The problem is staying an artist when you grow up”- Pablo Picasso.
Childhood is a beautiful phase of life, probably the happiest too. Almost all of you reading this article have had a pretty decent childhood. Some of us were painters, some were musicians, some were cricketers, swimmers, athletes and dancers. Oh, the list is endless! But most of us are now are post-grad students, pursuing our career. We all now follow the 9 am to 5 pm watch. Rush to work or run for the lectures, meet deadlines and submit assignments, attend a client meeting or sit for a compulsory guest lecture. Between all this, most of us have forgotten what it was like to relax. And by relax I don’t just mean physically, but also mentally.
Soon after joining my B-school, I began with my run for lectures, assignment submissions and guest lectures. For a while, I enjoyed this. It felt like I’m making the most of my time here. I realized this later, that all of this is leaving very little time for me. The work-load and monotonous schedule somewhat made me dull. But fortunately, I got the opportunity to join ANKUR-Experiential Learning Initiative by KJ SIMSR, an initiative in which we teach unprivileged students. And being a part of this has made me understand so much about life.
A day in ELI begins with a small lecture on the decided topic. We brief them on the basics and then help them do exercises. We take short breaks and also have activities like dancing, singing, drawing and painting. All this looks like an average day in school, but I believe that I’ve learnt more from them than I've taught. And it’s the simplest of things, things that I knew as a child but forgot in the race of growing up. It’s not just about teaching them English. It’s about the confidence they develop when they learn a new word. It’s about the smile they have on their innocent faces. And knowing that I gave them that smile is worth everything. Long lectures, submission deadlines, tests and presentations seem easier to handle because these kids act like a de-tox to a mind full of pressure throughout the week. I recently started teaching them origami. The naughtiest boy too sat patiently as he wanted to learn this “magic” of making paper kaleidoscope. And trust me if you can keep a child calmly engaged, you are no less than a magician!
ELI has not only given me the opportunity to play a part in giving back to society but it has also given me a dozen of little friends who have taught me that life is simple if you keep it that way. They have made me realize that at times, it’s important to distance yourself from all tensions and be a kid again, and not to give up on your hobbies. This initiative has helped me grow as a person by understanding the struggles of these kids in facing a world full of competitions. It has made me more empathetic towards the people around me. Despite all the hardships they face, these little kids come to school to learn. If they know the importance of not giving up, we as adults can surely learn this from them. I will miss teaching these kids for sure.