Shiksha - Inspire camp @ Jnaanam (26th May - 29th May): Though this was not my first Jnaanam camp, it was the first official Shiksha camp that I have attended. I travelled with Chachu, Subodh sir and Gowri in a car from Cherthala near Allepey to Kannur. Though the road journey was little tiresome and added were the pains which I had due to the previous day's Badminton training. But, all these pains and tiredness have vanished surprisingly, once I entered Naduvil. I felt refreshing with the welcoming path and trees of Naduvil. As the car pulled over in the Jnaanam premises, the cool breeze rubbed my cheeks to offer a gentle welcome.
As the sun woke up on the east side, pushing the dark clouds towards western world, the students started pouring in at Jnaanam. The first task of the day for us was to find out the dwelling places of the people whose names were given to us by Chachu. The condition here was that we need to talk to at least 20 people and also know about them in order to finish our assignment. Though I was little skeptical in the beginning as to how the people might react, all my doubts have vanished at once after meeting the wonderful people of the village, who were very much welcoming. This particular assignment has helped us improve our communication skills, and also social skills. The change which I have observed in me was, I generally sit reading a book while travelling and avoid speaking to strangers, whereas, after the camp while I was travelling back in the flight, I stuck a conversation with a lady who was sitting beside me, who was travelling with her two small kids and I offered my help in managing the kids and she was very happy. This became possible only because of the learning which I got during the camp from Chachu..
The other activities on this day were, students were asked to write 15 points on what they expect to learn from the camp and present it. Also, we were asked to translate Chachu's poems into other languages of our choice. This translation exercise helped me to understand that I have got a good command on Telugu language too, as I was easily able to translate his poem into Telugu, which is my mother tongue. As the night crept in, we all have reluctantly retired for the day.
As the sun woke up from the slumber, so did we, to set on the learning journey for the day. Started the day with a peaceful meditation which helped us to become aware of our breathe. Thanks to you Chachu, for teaching us this simple, yet productive meditation technique. The entire day was filled with various activities like learning Countries and Capitals - which enhanced the GK Levels, dividing into two groups and performing dramas - which made the wildest of imaginations come live and creativity to come in place, presenting report on the previous day learnings - which helped to structure the thoughts and articulate them in a presentable manner, the activity of placing the stones one on another in Tibetan style - which was test to the patience. Then everyone set on walk around the village to witness a stream. As the sun's light became dim, we were given an assignment to chant various slokas, keerthans, verses, bhajans etc, where everyone participated with great enthusiasm. These were not pertaining to any one religion, that was the beauty. Chachu's Sanskrit teacher, Kesavan Master was the guest for the evening and we enjoyed listening to his poems and a hearty talk with him. Chachu presented us with the Yearbooks and made Kesavan master distribute them to us. With the book, came the free gift of an assignment to decide on a topic which everyone(diff topics by everyone) would be presenting the next day. As the night grew, everyone drew their books close and started preparing for the next day's assignment.
With the sunrise, we too rose from our deep sleep to witness the formal session which Chachu had got to deliver in the Naduvil High School for the 10th class students. Everyone were excited and attended the session at the school, and the motivation levels which Chachu was giving to these students gave goosebumps to us. All our camp kids were asked to speak in the school, which has helped in increasing their confidence levels. The guest for this afternoon at Jnaanam camp was Prof. T P Sreedharan, Chachu's elder brother. He shared with us his experience in various fields and also gave us a detailed knowledge on various fields in which he worked. I got to know about the Kerala politics and various government schemes etc that are available etc. We had a good learning time with him. Chachu gave various assignments such as forming meaningful words from a particular word - which helped us understand how many words we knew, rating ourselves on a scale of hundred taking into account how much our parents would rate and how much our siblings, teachers etc would rate, and to write down the improvements which we think we must do in order to improve our rating - this was a self assessment which helped us understand ourselves better and to think how to improve ourselves to make all around us happy, to rate other students in the camp and to give their positive and negative points - which was a peer group evaluation - which made everyone understand what and how others thought about them and the steps to improve themselves, presenting different topics from the Yearbook - everyone presenting one topic, helped to add many topics to one's knowledgebase, Chachu also taught the effective way of learning the Yearbook, also students were made into groups and asked to present on a particular subject - this helped students to learn about the practical applications of various subjects. There was a queries round, where students asked various queries to Chachu, and he explained them very lucidly. Again the Sun was mean and it ran away paving the way to Moon to takeover the sky and hence reluctantly everyone had to slip into sleep.
As the day began, our hearts ached, as this was the final day of the camp. The day started with Chachu teaching us how to read newspaper, and how newspaper is a great source of knowledge which helps us in learning new words, countries and capitals, locations, current affairs, static GK, also which helps in improving our writing ability. All these usages from one newspaper, Chachu perfectly nailed it. After this exercise, everyone enjoyed reading newspaper. He also explained how to maintain books from newspaper learnings. I enjoyed this session thoroughly. After sometime, the clouds started crying in the form of rain as the day had come for us to leave, and Chachu gave us umbrellas and asked us to take a walk in the shower. Once we were back, everyone were asked to present their experience about the camp and then, the pictures of the camp were on display for the parents to get a feel of it. The final event was certificate distribution by Dr. P V Radhadevi, Space Scientist (Chachu's wife).
Special Thanks to Subodh sir and Priya mam for their love and care throughout, also Subodh sir for clarifying most of the queries of students regarding various career options. The special mention here is about the pure satwik and tasty food which we had on all days, thanks to Mansoor bhaiyya and others, who were very prompt and punctual in delivering the food. Thanks to all Chachu's relatives who were very very friendly and sweet.
Pranams to the greatest soul, the loving and caring Guru, without whom I would have been nothing but a mere person without any goal or motive in life, and would have lead an insignificant life. The sessions/camps of Chachu, gives me hope that all my knowledge will become perfect someday, all my work noble, and the true significance of my life will at length will be revealed soon. The lights that shine in the path of learning, through which Chachu takes are like chaplets of stars in the darkness in the night, which shows the light of hope that nothing in life is impossible. Thank u so much Chachu for this and every opportunity of learning you have given me
Thus, ended our learning camp.