Arjit Bali, 11
“I didn’t know I was such a good actor,” says 11-year-old Arjit Bali. The realization that he’s good at histrionics hit the young lad during a workshop called Discovery through Theatre, at Mumbai’s suburban Prithvi Theatre. During the course of the 12-day camp, the kids were introduced to various aspects of dramatics such as improvisation; they were also asked to draw up a full-fledged play for the last day of the camp. “We came up with a Hindi play called Kiraydar Chahiye,” says Arjit. “I played a little boy who’s always complaining.” Despite the fact that it was a children’s theatre workshop, Arjit says he learned lessons that were at once adult and useful in daily life. “The most important thing you learn is the importance of concentration and compromise.If you do not cooperate, then you cannot act, and you need to listen to others to know when your turn is up.” The Maneckji Cooper student is looking forward to taking part in school plays so that he can practise the art he picked up this summer.
Diksha and Anadya Sahni, 10 and 5
The sisters are on their way to becoming mathematicians after nine classes at Dr Maths (drmaths.com), says their mother Suparna Sahni, who herself was never good at the subject. “My classmate Seher, at Amity International, had been attending this workshop every year, and this summer my mother decided my sister and I could attend too,” says Diksha Sahni, a Class 5 student who loves the way the classes are structured. “We do lots of activities and then learn mathematical concepts through games which help us to understand them better. I am sure I will score 100 on 100 in all maths exams at school from now on.”Diksha’s mother feels that the classes have wrought a positive change in her younger daughter Anadya too; she has become faster at mental calculations in the last few months. “My younger daughter, who is studying in Class 1, seems more confident and has started applying a logical approach to problems given to her. I am sure she will benefit more from this workshop, because she took these classes early in life.”
Though Eshan Mukherjee is scheduled to leave for a month’s holiday in Kenya, he’s not exactly jumping with joy. “I will be missing out on playing fairy godfather in the adaptation of Cinderella.” For three weeks this summer, starting 14 May, this Don Bosco student has been part of the annual Young Learner Summer Intensive programme at the British Council, New Delhi, which culminated on 1 June with a theatrical performance by each group. Mukherjee’s team, which comprised 10- to 12-year olds, did an adaptation of Cinderella, for which they wrote the script and made the props, too. A second timer at this programme, Mukherjee says he had loads of fun, but also learnt to read fairy tales “with relish; give weird endings to stories” and “improve my English pronunciation”. But the best thing this summer workshop has taught him is “to work in a group, which never really happens at school. I helped to write the play and now feel more confident as far as English assignments at school are concerned, too.” Another lesson that Mukherjee is going back to school with is: “To let my imagination take over and to think out of the box. Now I am sure I will have many creative solutions to my regular schoolwork.”
It’s easy to figure out what Jahnavi Sheriff has gotten good at after 29 days away at the Shivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre in Thiruvananthapuram. “We used to wake up at 5.30am every morning, and sit for a satsang at 6.30am and chant kirtans,” she says. The camps also taught students the importance of karmayog; every participant was ordained with different duties to be performed every day, including cleaning dormitories, making beds and rolling mats. With yoga lessons for two hours everyday, instruction in the Bhagvad Gita, chanting, and vipassana lectures, Jahnavi has come back far more introspective and intent on practising what she learned. “When I do yoga, I become more disciplined in everything I do, and being away from your parents also teaches you a lot,” says the Thakur Public School student, who plans to practise yoga every day after school.
Sumehr Gwalani, 15
A tour of Milan or an AC Milan game? For 10 days this summer, Sumehr Gwalani faced choices like that on a visit to Vittorio Veneto, a soccer haven on the outskirts of Milan. Over the course of the camp, which was organized by the Mumbai-based Premier India Football Academy, Sumehr picked up the basics of 4-4-2 formations and cover positions, and played mini league football with local teams in the city. But the best part of the camp, says this Bombay International School 10th grader, was how the kids learned to perform together. “My game is way better. And now I have more awareness about the importance of playing as a team.”