Saturday, December 26, 2009

Talk at Aksharanandan High School, Pune

A student sharing an interesting anecdote

Gauri watching on as her students interact
When I met Gauri last month in Mumbai we decided that if possible I could address the children at her school, Aksharanandan, in Pune. This was a school that Gauri started along with her friend in a quiet residential colony off Senapathy Bapat Road some twenty odd years ago. Her two sons Malay and Kalpak went to the same school, Kalpak did his entire schooling from the school while Malay did most of his schooling from here.
Gauri has definite ideas in education, has great intentions and backs it with lots of good work. I always liked her approach to life, she has what I call that learning attitude which adds value. And she is a pleasure to talk to.
So when she confirmed my talk on 24th, I made up my mind to come to Pune on the 23rd. I decided that I will address the children - need more schools to address. On the 24th I prepared for the talk and got ready by 1230. Gauri drove me to the school and we spoke about the children, the education system and what I would be speaking to them about.
The school is on a dead end, with no big banner proclaiming its existence, just a small board on the road, in a corner of the colony and opens out into a football sized ground. On the right of the ground is the main school building where it all started and on the left of the ground is where the secondary school, a temporary structure that the PMC renews lease for every year is located.
We headed straight to the secondary section and after a cup of tea with the Principal started off the talk to the 10th, 9th and 8th classes, a total of eighty students who sat in a disciplined maneer on the ground, girls to the left and boys to the right. the challenge to mE was thaT the medium of instruction was Marathi.
Gauri introduced me to the class. I introduced myself again and told them of my journey and why I wrote the book. I asked them that if they were faced with a situation where their school grounds was in danger and they have to win the championship, would they, a bad team be able to do it. There was a weak okay but they finally agreed that it was doable. I gave another example and asked them that if they all got 100% in the next exam then PMC would not destroy the building - is that possible? Yes.
Anythning is possible. If you can see your dream you can achieve it - the design has been proven many times over. People have done it all. I asked them what their dreams are. They put forth a few - IAS, IPS, artist, engineer, singer, actor - and I told them to see their dream clearly and aim for it. That is the secret to achieving dreams - to be able to see it clearly. An IPS officer is a clear dream whereas 'I want to be successful' is not because it does not mean anything (I want to be the MD of my own company making toys is a clear dream again). I told them that anything can be achieved provided we start acting on it, and improving the process to the best that we can, until we push all our limits and say YES. The key is to improve constantly and not just work 24 hours with no improvement which is what most people do. So to get 100% one must start looking at improving each day - 10% or 20 %. Once you achieve a a level of competence or perfection you will start enjoying it so much that other things will open up for you.
I told them that they are full of potential, they represent potential, and that I had faith in their abilities. Did they have faith? They must put their talents to better use and dream and achieve bigger things. But first, they must start doing small things to make a difference in their world. The must do one thing that the normally would not do otherwise that day and every other day.
One student asked me what if their parents did not allow them to pursue their dreams. I explained that if she wants to be the best in the world, why would anyone stop her?
Unless they start giving their 100% they won't know how good they are. And if they are not achieving anything it is because thy are not giving 100%. They heard me out patiently and even asked several questions. I overshot the time by 15 minutes.
One group of boys called me back to class and asked more questions. Two other boys, one whose speech was impaired and another, his friend came and asked me more questions about cricket.
Thanks Gauri for giving me the opportunity to speak and to share. I somehow get a feeling that this talk will have a bigger impact that what I thought.

1 comment:

malay deshmukh said...

Hmm, discipline? It seems to be much better than when I was in school! We used to ask the guest lecturer to go on n on so that we would miss rest of our boring maths/physics lectures!
Clear dream.....lets see if I can be more specific from now on!