A Lesson On The Importance Of Self-Belief By Srijan Mahajan

This is a three-part story on self belief, one that began when I was still in school. I started playing the keyboard when I was about eight or nine-years-old, and spent the next five-seven years learning everything I could about the instrument. Then, when I got to class 9, a few of my musician friends and I wanted to form a band. You see, the school I attended had an annual Founder’s Day (School Birthday in our school) and we had wanted to perform at it for as long as I could remember. The only problem? We were missing a drummer. 

Till one day I saw that the same school where I’d been learning the keys also organised drum classes. On an absolute whim, I decided to give it a shot so we could complete the band. “How hard could it be?” I thought to myself without realising  that was the first day of the rest of my life. You see, the minute I held the drum sticks in my hand, I had already begun a journey that would take me around the world, playing gigs with many bands, including Parikrama. Needless to say, I also performed at the Founder’s Day. 

Act II

In 2012, I began accepting music production offers but there was a catch: I had no clue how to produce music. A fellow musician and friend, Arsh Sharma would sit in a little corner in his parent’s house learning and he would teach me how to make music. It was here that we went on to record bands and also produce some of our own songs, together as Fuzzculture, with Arsh guiding me the whole way. A few months later, another friend of mine, Nikhil Malik told me that someone he knew was making a movie and needed music for it that he was going to have to produce. Again, on a whim, I pitched the idea of the three of us getting together to do it, instead. By some chance, Nikhil agreed and that right there was the beginning of Studio Fuzz. Together, we worked on the background score for a full-length feature film, MCream when we didn’t have the slightest clue how we’d get it done. What we did know was how to say ‘yes’. 

Third time lucky? 

In 2015, I got curious about making photographs, and decided to make 365 great photographs, one for every day of 2016. This challenge led to me shooting constantly, getting better at photography and, eventually, even getting offered professional photography assignments and a music video–all of which, yep you guessed it, I said ‘yes’ to.

Back to the present

A few days ago, on a particularly rainy and grey morning (the ones that are perfect for a little bit of regression or a pause, if you may), I realised that the one thing that was common between my best work, over a 15-year period,  was that I had no idea how to do it at the time that I decided to do it. In retrospect, learning on the job has contributed entirely to my evolution as both a person and an artist. If I hadn’t said yes to any of those projects, I wouldn’t have learnt to do any of the things I do every day, and my life would’ve looked very, very different. 

So, say yes! I’m sure you’ll figure it out (whatever ‘it’ is)  as you go along. 


Is Alternative Education your ‘Next Thing’?

With regards to our school years, we often forget in the heady haze of nostalgia, the tedium of homework, the endless rambling of teachers and the red stamps on report cards – concentrating rather on the pranks, the disciplinary action for ‘talking in class’ and the strolls of disgrace in front of the class to read out the chit you were secretly attempting to pass across to your bestie.

Alternative education

However, once you remove those rose-tinted glasses, chances are, uncomfortable questions with respect to the educational system we experienced in childhood might rise, where it was alright to take such a large number of additional hours understanding why the periodic table worked the manner in which it did, while essay-writing was evidently a little treat.

There is no doubt that whenever we talk about education in India, everyone starts complaining about how bureaucratic the system is. However, the upcoming generation of the urban parents are evidently evolving and making an effort in enrolling their kids with ‘Alternative Education Academies’ that aim at providing a different environment of learning for students, depending on their capabilities and interests.

Also read: 5 habits that will assure your child’s financial success in future

Many religious and philosophical leaders of India like Swami Vivekananda, Jiddu Krishnamurti, Maharishi Yogananda, Satya Sai Baba have also set up schools across the nation with the objective to follow alternative ways of schooling.  As we all know, the Right to Education act has made education compulsory for all children below the age of 14. Having said that, we still don’t see many changes as such in the approach to our education system.

Parents now claim that alternative education brings out the true colors of their child. Jiddu Krishnamurti, a philosopher believes, “Education is not just to pass examinations, take a degree and a job, get married and settle down, but also to be able to listen to the birds, to see the sky, to see the extraordinary beauty of a tree, and the shape of the hills, and to feel with them, to be really, directly in touch with them.”

As per the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER), the only yearly annual source of data on kids’ learning results accessible in rustic India, only 25.1 pc of the understudies enlisted in standard III can read standard II level content and only 47.8 pc of the understudies selected in standard V can read standard II level content. The latest report concluded, “Many parents of school going children do not have any or much education. They understand the importance of schooling but often do not understand how they can support children’s learning. Hence, there is a need to de-mystify learning to involve parents.”

India is now gradually evolving towards a greater acceptance towards alternative education. Alternative schools have one very strong belief, ‘each child is unique’. Given that alternative schools are smaller in size, with smaller class sizes, children get a lot more individual attention and are free to move at their own pace. This is made possible because the educationists at such spaces don’t expect all children in a class to level up to one standard.  

Another strong aspect of the philosophy at alternative schools is that most educators appreciate that the future is largely unknown and that the best we can do is to ensure children can adapt, learn, un-learn and re-learn, as that will equip them with the skills and abilities to navigate a world which seems to be changing and evolving at warp speed. The future can never be ‘mastered’ by getting high grades, as most children are led to believe. It can only be ‘lived’, and therefore mindset is probably more important than anything else in navigating a future we can’t predict.

Speaking based on the facts, students in alternative schools end up doing better than the ones in regular schools.  Most alternative schools don’t follow textbooks except for languages and mathematics. Teachers are always encouraged to create their own learning material, sometimes involving children too; letting the child understand the process of learning is part of the overall educational process.

The belief is that adhering to textbooks could get the children into rote learning mode which is not encouraged and to make teachers more independent and creative to impart knowledge.

These are a list of alternative schools you can read about which are revolutionizing the education space:

  • Mirambika Free Progress School
  • Aarambh Waldorf School
  • The Hypnotherapy School of India
  • Edha Education Foundation
  • Manava Bharti International School
  • Indian Institute of Mass Communication

The List continues. This tells us that Peoples’ mindsets are truly evolving and people are positively moving towards the concept of Alternative Education. We at MyNT share the same ideas and beliefs. Browse our website if you want to learn more about out of the box education for your children.