Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Tagore and Shantiniketan Education – Part 3 - Activites, Schools and Student Experience

 Activities at the Shantiniketan

Sahitya Sabhas -  These were literary and musical evening that took place every Tuesday. Students would present their own literary work, dance, music and short skits among themselves and the community. They were also given a chance to perform these plays at the annual Rabindra Saptaho event with all other bodies of the Visva Bharati University. The other activities were...

Importance to extra-curricular activities – Students engaged in lots of physical activities in their time there. There were annual competitions in the areas of music, dance and recitation held there.

Lectures by professionals – Various professionals in the fields of sciences were invited to the school and university. Evening discussions of contemporary scientific and social issues where held along with the students.

Travel – Excursions and trips were organized to parts of West Bengal including Bardhaman, Malda, Purulia and Chittaranjan. There was a yearly picnic (Barshik Bonobhojan) as well.

Student Committees – The school had several student run communities that make and govern decisions related to student body. These committess teach students to take their own decisions and take self-responsibility for themselves.  Some committees were:-
-Environment Committee ("Paribesh Bibhag"),
-Health Committee ("Swastho Bibhag"),
-Justice Committee ("Bichar bibhag")
-Food Committee ("Ahar Bibhag")
-Literary Committee ("Sahitya Bibhag") etc. that govern and make decisions on matters related to student body.

Student Publication – Students were allowed to express their opinions through a quarterly news-paper, “Resonance”, which is planned and exceuted by senior students

Tagore and Shantiniketan Education – Part 2 - Students from Shantiniketan

1.  Satyajit RaySatyajit Ray is an Indian Filmaker and winner of over 32 national Film awards and an Academy award. Satyajit Ray went to Shantiniketan after completing his BA in Economics from the Presidency College, Calcutta. He was very influence by the artist Benode Behari Mukherjee that he met at Shantiniketan and even made a documentary movie on him titled the Inner Eye. He also came to appreciate oriental art at Shantiniketan. His time there is described as such:- “ During this period, he discovered the oriental art- Indian sculpture and miniature painting, Japanese woodcuts and Chinese landscapes... Till then, his exposure to art had been limited to only the western masters. He also undertook a long tour of places of artistic interests in India along with three friends. For the first time, he had begun to appreciate qualities of Indian art. The tour drew his attention to use of small details in Indian art to signify a bigger meaning. A quality that his films would later demonstrate.” www.satyajitray.org  (http://www.satyajitray.org/bio/at_shantiniketan.htm). The other students were...

What Education can Learn from Music?

I was listening to some music at a literature festival in 2013, when a thought struck me.

The evolution of music is an interesting idea to discuss and has several useful lessons for Education and how it is normally done.

Ken Robinson described how the rock and roll did not come about as a result of some planned government strategy. It just emerged. Listening to those musical performance every morning, I thought about what lessons music could offer to Education and reflected on my personal relationship to the music of the world. These were some of the thoughts that came across my mind.

What can Educational Institutes learn from Music?

What Education can learn from Business?

Okay let us say, you as an individual are a well established company or a well established brand. Everything you are involved in is like a business transaction. This includes your personal life, family, work life and most importantly your education. Because you need immediate profit you cannot waste time on unnecessary transactions or unnecessary meetings. This includes the education you have received:-

So what can Educational Institutes Learn from Business?

What Education can learn from Travel?

Let us go back to the first day of the Jaipur Literature Festival 2014 again. I attended a session titled, ‘women Uniterrupted’ where Cheryl Staryed and Robyn Davidson described how they used travel to find a part of themselves they thought they had lost. Cheryl Strayed is the best selling author of the book ‘Wild’, where she described her experience walking alone eleven hundred miles of the west coast of America. She did this after her mother’s death from cancer, resulting in her family losing touch with each other. Her marriage also crumbled as a result of this. She thought it was the only way out.

Travel Writers and their stories

Cheryl also described how she always wanted to be a writer and did not want to write something until she knew she had something to say. Robyn Davidson described how at the age of 27, she set of from Alice Springs for the west coast of Australia with a dog and four camels. She faced several difficulties along the way but completed the journey eventually.

Robyn described how nine months on her own had changed her consciousness completely. It was like she became a completely different person. As two travel writers described their adventurous journeys, I reflected on the lessons travel had for me and I think may have for the self-directed learner.

I thought about the trips I was fortunate to go on in my life and what I had learned from them. There was plenty and it went as follows:-

How to Lifeschool? - Films

Watch Films to Explore the World

Pico Iyer, who is one of the world’s best travel writers and who writes for TIME Magazine. He spent many days of his youth at local cultural halls and learning centers in his city. Here he would watch many of the academy award nominated foreign films that would be screened at these places. Anurag Kashyap is an Indian director. As a youngster, he attended the Goa Film Festival where he saw over 55 films over the ten days of the festival. He then started making his own movies and now is one of Indian Cinema’s biggest directors.

Why I Love The Movies?

How to Lifeschool? - People

What is a Double Learning Model?

“When you find a writer who really is saying something to you, read everything that writer has written and you will get more education and depth of understanding out of that than reading a scrap here and a scrap there and elsewhere. Then go to people who influenced that writer, or those who were related to him, and your world builds together in an organic way that is really marvelous.”
Joseph Campbell, The Hero's Journey: Joseph Campbell on His Life & Work

This approach to learning has really influenced my thinking and learning approach. If I found an author whose books really spoke to something deep within me, I would then read the other books written by this author.

I would then find out who inspired this author and read the books of the people that inspired him as well. I would then finally read articles by the person and go through the person's website online. I would also watch videos of the person's talk online.

This way you get an idea of how the person thinks and not only how he writes one book or prepares one talk. This is the same with a speaker or subject expert that you really connected with. Find out about all the other work done by that person and study everything you can about the person’s work.

Why did you connect with this person?

How to Lifeschool? - Videos

Story of Usman Riaz

Usman Riaz learned how to play the classical piano when he was six and taught himself to play a variety of instruments using the internet. He was a teenager when he fell in love with the guitar. He lived in Pakistan and wanted to learn how to play the guitar from the best teachers in the world. This is when he started watching guitar lesson videos online.

He started watching videos of some of the people who he admired. One such person was Preston Reed.  He loved watching Preston Reed’s videos. Watching these videos he soon became a guitar maestro himself. He started uploading videos of himself playing the guitar online. He applied for the TED Fellowship and his talk was approved. The TED Conference is a renowned annual Technology, Entertainment and Design event

He got to play with his hero Preston Reed at the TED Conference in California in front of some of the most influential thinkers in the world. It all started with his drive to teach himself his craft watching videos online.

Why use Videos?

How to Lifeschool? - Using Videos to Learn

Using Videos to Learn?

1)  Flipped Classroom – It is pointless doing the same lecture 10,000 times by 10,000 different professors at 10,000 different colleges around the world. It is a colossal waste of time and money. You can rather let one subject expert do a high quality, high visual, high intensity talk and then upload the video of this talk online. This should be available for students all around the world. Personally I knew I could not change the system but I could change the way I reacted to this issue. So I developed a flipped classroom learning model. For my subjects at college, I would watch the best lectures and talks related to my subject, available online and then come to class with my questions ready for discussion. I would also use class time to complete projects and assignments. This helped me understand the subject matter so much better though I had to maneuver through the system.

Lifeschooling - Using Books to Learn

Using Books to Learn

1) Read at Bookstores – Tell your family and friends that you are going to the mall or a shopping center to visit friends and then spend the whole day reading books there. There was a bookstore near my college. The shop had a coffee shop attached to the store. So after college everyday, I would order something from the café and take a book from the stand and read it late into the evenings. College would get over at 3 pm and on some days I would get back home at around 9 pm in the night, reading for at least three-four hours at bookstores. In Bahrain two of my very close friends worked at the bookstore at the mall. They would allow me to sit at the bookstore and read throughout the day.  I would go to the mall at 12 pm and come back home at around 9 pm in the night. I would also speak to some of the customers at the store in this time and made lots of new friends here. And...

How to Lifeschool? - Books

“When you find a writer who really is saying something to you, read everything that writer has written and you will get more education and depth of understanding out of that than reading a scrap here and a scrap there and elsewhere. Then go to people who influenced that writer, or those who were related to him, and your world builds together in an organic way that is really marvelous.”
Joseph Campbell, The Hero's Journey: Joseph Campbell on His Life & Work

Noam Chomsky described his childhood in a documentary about his work titled, ‘Manufacturing Consent’. He said that he remembered a normal day, growing up, curled in a sofa, with twelve borrowed books from the library.

Growing up the only books, I read were comics and picture books. I never saw the need to read novels as the education system, I was in never gave too much importance to it.

Why I love Books?

How to Lifeschool? - Design

Why design?

Because when you appreciate good design, you naturally want to create things that have good design. It will help you create great products and services in fields of your interest. It will also ensure you appreciate well-designed products.

Developing basic design skills?

How to Lifeschool? - Mentors

Finding Mentors to Guide You

Having a good mentor is a very valuable asset if you want to get places in your particular field. It is even better if this mentor is somebody who has achieved a lot in the field you are passionate about or want to work.

We must remember that mentors will not always come to us, but sometimes we must go to our mentors and show them we are capable of their guidance.

From the second book, ‘101 Habits to Greatness’ a few useful tips to finding a good mentor are:-

How to Lifeschool? - News Mediums

Stay Informed with New Mediums

Keeping yourself informed about the world is a useful habit to have. Johnny Carson the famed TV Show host, would get up in the morning and scan the newspapers for content for his talk show. He would circle the things that he could use. For years people, were amazed by how Johnny’s shows were so relevant and up to date to what was happening in their lives. It is a great resource for ideas as well.

Why stay informed?

How to Lifeschool - Learning to Write

 How Writing Helps You Learn about yourselves and the world?

a) Keep a Journal You cannot always type your thoughts on a computer as you cannot carry it wherever you go. That is why keeping a journal or notebook is a useful habit to write down your thoughts, ideas and stories. The most important reason you do this, is because you never know when a good idea comes into your mind. It is good to keep a journal to note it down when it comes up. Evernote does a good too. And...

How to Lifeschool? - Taking Notes

 Take Notes to Keep Track of your World Changing Ideas


In school, whenever I had to note something down, I would find a sheet of paper and write on it. Unfortunately, I would misplace many of these sheets eventually. So I started taking notes in the journal I maintained. This was fine at home, but I could not carry this book everywhere

That is when I found Evernote. It is a mobile application that allows you to take notes on your phone and with a reasonable internet connection these notes are directly transferred to your account on the Evernote Website online.

Why I take notes?

How to Lifeschool? - Attend Public Talks and Gatherings

Why I Love Public Lectures?

I got the seminar bug growing up in Bahrain. I attended four full day training programs by speakers like Robin Sharma, Ron Kauffman, Bob Ulrich, Wes Brown during high school. They were world class professional speakers and I learned a lot attending these events. I also attended a week long stock market investing workshop in my last year of high school.

When I shifted to Mumbai to do my undergraduate course I started looking for workshops, seminars and conferences that I could attend in and around Mumbai. I found plenty. There was some event or the other happening in some corner of the city almost every week of the day. On the weekends I would have to choose between events.

Most of them were open to the public and free of cost. Some had minimal charges. I would then register for as many of them as possible. At many of the events, I attended I was not familiar with the content being discussed. But I just wanted to learn and be open to as many fields as possible. I knew that every new thing I got to learn about, created a new neural network in my mind. This helped me further develop my thinking and connect unrelated fields.

But students have college in the morning and many of us have jobs. Do you suggest giving these up and taking days off to attend such events?

No, That is not what anybody should do. Many of these events are organized in the afternoons or in the evenings. You can plan your days and attend them as such.

Learning Experiment – 3 Different Seminars in One Day

How to Lifeschool? - Solitude

Solitude to Self-Explore

At a festival, I recently attended, one of the speakers gave the members of the audience an interesting exercise. It was an exercise in solitude. The speaker told us to close our eyes, and to take in long deep breaths. He told us to focus on our breathing and to do this for one minutes. I closed my eyes and started the exercise. After a few seconds, I got restless. My thoughts wandered and I started thinking about the following things:-

·     When will the speaker tell us to open our eyes?
·     If I open my eyes now they see me?
·     What if I open my eyes and the person next to me open his eyes as well and then we see each other?
·     What will I get out of this activity?

After the activity the speaker told us to think about the past one minute of our life and to think about how it felt.

That is when it struck me that I could not close my eyes and be at peace for even a minute. I was uncomfortable being on my own. I was uncomfortable with solitude.

Why spend quality time with yourself alone?

How to Lifeschool? - Connect with the Mavens of your Field

Who was Robert Dunbar?

Robert Dunbar, the British anthropologist declared that most people have about 150 people in their immediate networks. It is very hard to manage a network larger than that. This number came to known as the Dunbar’s Number.

Most people have the people in their workplace, schools, neighbourhood, state and country in their network. Mavens are the people who are well connected with the people in their industry or with the top people in various industries. Malcolm Gladwell spoke about the Maven Concept in his book, ‘Tipping Point’. The people on the Maven’s 150 List are very influential and have their own network of 150 more influential people. This starts a chain reaction of sorts

In my second book, ‘101 Habits to Greatness’, I spoke about the concept of ‘Networking Like a Millionaire. The people that are well networked get the benefit of individual Maven networks of several top people in various industries. As you become more influential in your field, you know where to go and who to contact for different things. You know how to fasten the whole process of getting things done.

The Mark Zuckerberg & Justin Bieber Maven Story

How to Lifeschool? - Build a Community and Network

Connecting with Like Minded People

There is always another person who is passionate about similar things as you. There is always some body that thinks about the same things as you do. It is your responsibility to connect with such like minded people.

In the 1920’s in Paris, a group of writers were all present in the same city and benefitted from each other’s experience. This included Ernest Hemmingway, Gertrude Stein, F. Scott Fitzgerald, James Joyce, Ezra Pound and Pablo Picasso. Similarly lots of the internet and technology entrepreneurs in the world get together in Silicon Valley where they can get benefit from the vast network of resources and like minded technology entrepreneurs.

You learn from the varied experiences of each person that has the same interest. You also find people that complement the skills you have. You can collaborate on projects together. For instance you are a good business person and writer. But you need an IT and technology head for a company you want to start. You will not hire another person with the same skills as you. Rather you will find a person with complementary skills but with a similar long term vision.

Two of the most important things you need to keep in mind for this are:-

Brainstorming a Dream School

Every second of the day is a learning experience. You are learning throughout the day and not just learning at school or at the office. Every individual you meet is a teacher.

For a long time, education was focused on giving information, curriculum and content to the students. The difference in LifeSchool is that we make the students give the world what they already have. The potential they have within is infinite. We just have to create an environment and give them the tools to light the learning spark in them.

As a famous quote goes, ‘School is not preparation for life, School is life itself.’ Here are a few ideas I noted down in a recent brainstorming sessions about a learning environment I would like to be part of.

How to Lifeschool? - Research

Research Process for Education Project.

I am passionate about research on education and learning. So last year,  I took up a few research projects related to education recently. I used the internet and other resources available to study the educational models in over 150 different countries. Countries like Finland, Shanghai and Singapore came out on top and I was interested in how they did so.

I also was interested in various alternate models of education, that included homeschooling, Democratic schools, Montessori, unschooling, exchange programs and more. What was education like before the advent of the formal schooling institution? For example how would hunter gatherer cultures educate themselves. Finally I studied how educational psychology and philosophy had evolved over the years.

I was passionate about a field and decided to do a research project on it. It did not need to be acknowledge by an institution. I could share it with the world on a blog.

Innovation Wing -The City Montessori School, Lucknow

The City Montessori School in Lucknow is one of the biggest schools in the world, with regards to the number of students enrolled in the institution. It is progressive in its teaching methodology. There was a presentation by a member of the innovation wing of the school at a recent conference I attended.

 Yes, the school has an innovation wing named QAID. Their main responsibilities are the following:-

How to Lifeschool? - World Cultures

Certain cultures dominate world thinking because they are projected more by the media platforms you are part of. For instance I was mostly exposed to Indian culture because I was born in India. In addition to this I had lots of exposure to Western Culture (American) because of my constant exposure to their products through the internet and other mediums.

But the world was much bigger than my perspective of it through the eyes of these two cultures. What do the Latin American countries have to offer the world? What do South East Asian countries have to offer the world? What about the cultural offerings of the African nations?

Why was I limited to culture from only these limited perspectives? I wanted to find out!

Ways to get a truly global education are:-

A Normal Lifeschooling Day - Sixteen Hours of Joyful Learning

A College Day

We normally had classes in the afternoon from 11am to 3 pm. Traveling to and from college would take me another hour. I had the mornings and evenings free which I decided to use more productively.

At college though the course was reasonably interesting, I always longed for more. I wanted to learn more and experience more. I wanted to meet new people, read more books, watch great movies, attend seminars. I wanted to work on community project and start a mini-business venture, I wanted to create something that would leave the world better than I found it.

Learning Adventures - TED Talks

TED is short for technology, entertainment and design. It is a platform for creative people to share their ideas with the world, in the above three fields.

Most of the talks are eighteen minutes long, though there are shorter talks of ten and five minutes. I started watching these talks after a friend had send me a link to one of the popular video’s on the website. I became a fan of the platform after watching that first video. Here is a post about how TED helped me learn:-

Learning Adventures – Indian Merchants Chamber Events

The national headquarters of the Indian Merchants Chamber, near the Churchgate station in Mumbai. The college I was studying at in 2013, was situated a five minute walk away from the chamber. One day I decided to walk into this institute.

I then found out that the chamber often organized interesting events
1)  Lectures on Business, Investing and Finance
2)  Guest Speaker Series with prominent professionals
3)  Panel Discussions

Learning Adventures- Art Galleries and Museums

Kiran Rao, the film maker, in a panel discussion at the Think Festival (Tehelka) in Goa discussed how creating more spaces for art and culture could help strengthen the cultural creation and appreciation process of a nation.

Growing I was always intrigued by the world of art. Mumbai has vibrant art community. When I first came to Mumbai, I made it a point to visit every art gallery and cultural space in the city. At bookstores I would read books about the evolution of man and how art has evolved parallel to man’s thinking. I found so many!

How to Lifeschool? - Writing

Write in the language you dream in

At the Jaipur Literature Festival 2013 the renowned Bengali writer Mahasweta Devi made the following comment in her opening speech, “Write in the language you dream in.”

Jyoti Guptara and Suresh Guptara are twins based out of Switzerland. They were fascinated by the world of fantasy. At the age of 11, they finished the first draft of their novel, ‘Conspiracy of Calaspia’. By age 15, Jyoti was published in the Wall Street Journal. By age 17, the book became a best seller. They loved fantasy and were fascinated by this world. So they wrote in the language they dreamed in.

We all are fascinated by something why not write about it. We all dream about something why not write about it.
Monday, December 22, 2014

Jaipur Literature Festival – Part 7 – Experiments and Adding Value

Autobiographies and Thought Experiments at the Festival

Albert Einstein had an interesting thought experiment, where instead of conducting experiments in a lab or through words, he did them through pictures in his minds. He called it ‘Gedankenexperiment’.

Jaipur Literature Festival - Part 10 - Knowledge is Free and Abundant, Wisdom takes Effort and Time

Information is just content. Knowledge is when you attach emotional and subjective meaning to that content. Knowledge is when you understand the content from your perspective, from the perspective of your life. Wisdom is when you apply that knowledge in the real world through an enterprise, creative piece of work or more.

Cycle Rickshaw Person in Jaipur

At the end of the fourth day of the Jaipur International Literature Festival 2014, I sat in a cycle rickshaw to go back to my hotel. I got into a conversation with the man that was riding the cycle. He asked me if I was here for the Jaipur Literature Festival. I replied positively. He then told me this,

‘That is the big people’s festival. All educated people must have come for it.’

I was taken aback when he said this, because the Jaipur Literature Festival was a free and open festival and anybody could attend it. Your economic background did not matter at all. Then why did he think it was only for the educated people.

I wish I could tell him that it was not like that. Everyone had the right to learn, we just have to understand how to do it. Knowledge is free and abundant. Wisdom takes effort and time. And if you are ready to put in the effort, you can convert information to knowledge to wisdom in a field of your choice.

How do we give the masses access to a world class education?

Jaipur Literature Festival – Part 9- The Freedom of Expression

To Freely Express

Why Every Individual can Write with Effort

Two days at the festival. So much had happened already. So many discussions and thoughts moving around. It was beyond exciting. 

Jaipur Literature Festival – Part 8 – Nobel Prize Winner and Vikram Chandra's Work

Harold Vamus 

A nobel prize winning medical researcher delivered a talk on the art and politics of Science at the Charbagh hall then. He presented scenarios on global health. But he also mentioned how his curiosity for life and his prolonged adolescence led to his research work. He described how several non – practical things had to be done to make progress in Science.

Vikram Chandra's Love for Coding

Jaipur Literature Festival – Part 6 – Jhumpha Lahiri, Non Fiction Writers, Learning from Everyone

Jhumpha Lahiri, the Pulitzer prize winning short story and fiction writer, then delivered a session titled, ‘The Interpreter of Stories’ where she described her method of writing.

Celebrating Literature. What a great idea!

Jaipur Literature Festival - Part 5 - Who Will Rule the World?

The second session I got to attend on Day 2 of the Jaipur Literature Festival 2014, had panelists from several different countries. They were all authors who had written fiction and non-fiction books about countries like India, China and other places in Europe and Latin America.
The panelists were Sunil Khilnani, Oscar Guardiola-Rivera, Xiaolu Guo, Meghnad Desai, and Rana Mitter moderated by Dipankar Gupta

The discussion was about which country will emerge a superpower in the 21st century, with claims that India and China are fore-runner for that coveted place.

Jaipur Literature Festival – Part 4 - Jerry Pinto on Writing

By consuming quality Literature you are actually creating more quality Literature

After the morning music performance I attend a  session of Mr Jerry Pinto, a Mumbai based indian writer of 14 books  as of January 2014. I had attended a workshop of Mr Jerry in Mumbai and was rather excited to meet him here again. He wrote in subjects as diverse as poetry, prose and children’s fiction.

Jerry thought me a lot about the craft of writing. I do not know him personally. But I cannot thank him enough for what he has done for me. His story and some learnings here:-

Jaipur Literature Festival – Part 3 - Franzen (Writing) and Steinam (Activism)

Jonathan Franzen Notes

He spoke about his journey as a writer and his thoughts on the modern literature. He mentioned how earlier before the rise of novels, people had to travel or go to different places to understand them. But now you could learn about life in a prison or in Australia, by reading a novel about it. He described how his upbringing had a role in the development of the characters of his book.

A festival like no other indeed
He spoke about his favorite novel, ‘The Man Who Loved Children’ by Christina Stead and how this book had three fully developed characters, while most books have just one developed character.

He also spoke about the books he liked to read and why it was important to keep the page clean, avoid clichés and not waste the reader’s time. All this was information directly from one of the best contemporary novelists of our time. It was like I was in a classroom and he was individually speaking to me.

Gloria Steinam Notes

I then attended a session by Gloria Steinem, a writer, journalist, feminist and key figure of the women’s liberation movement of the 1960’s.  She described how there was no subject in the world of which women were not a part. I saw lots of parallels with the women’s liberation movement and the learning revolution movement I write about in this blog. The homeschooling, unschooling, passion learning schools, project based schools have lit a spark. We need to re-define the idea of schooling and learning. We need more people to speak out about how we can make Learning Beautiful again.

The audience focused on the stage
Why I Write this Blog?

We live in a period of drastic change and the way education and learning is done, is going to change completely very soon. We need more examples of people that have taken an alternate path and done something valuable with that the learning they received on that path. When people get examples of several other successful ways to educate themselves, they will be more open to taking risks and taking control of their own learning.

We need to write about our experiences as auto-didacts. When more literature and culture through books, films, blogs come out more people will get access to information on how they can control their own learning.

Let us Learn Together
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Jaipur Literature Festival – Part 2 -The Greatest Writing Classroom in the World

Writers at the Festival

100+ Writers in one Event
The reason I came back to the Jaipur Literature Festival in 2014, was because of the amount of quality learning about writing, I could do in such an environment. This year writers like Antony Beevor, Jhumpha Lahir, Jonathan Frazen, William Darylmple were at the festival. By attending their sessions I got glimpse into their worlds and the way they worked and wrote.

After the morning keynote on Day one of the festival, I decided to attend the session of Jonathan Franzen. There were five separate sessions happening simultaneously at five different venues. It was very hard choosing between sessions at the festival. Sometimes I would attend half of one session and then run to the next venue to attend the latter half of another session.

Learning from the Best in the World

Jonathan Frazen at that point of time was one of the most well renowned American novelists. He was a recipient of the National Book Award in the United States of America and the best selling author of books titled, ‘The Corrections’ and ‘Perchance to Freedom’.

So many new interesting people to meet
I found the situation I was in, quite interesting from a learning perspective. Authors spend most of their time writing, which is very obvious. Not many of them come out regularly and speak to large audiences. There are several exceptions. The chance of a Pulitzer Prize winning novelist or Nobel Prize winner coming to my college or work place, was highly unlikely unless I worked at Google or for the government.

Why the Jaipur Literature Festival was such a Great Classroom?

This festival I was currently part of, was like a classroom I had created for myself. I don’t expect a renowned author or researcher to come too me. Rather I respect their time, study their schedule and go to places where they are scheduled to speak based on their own commitments.

It was surreal sitting in the audience, learning directly from a renowned contemporary novelist or writer of our time. This was possible, because I put in the effort to find my own teachers. These teachers were masters of the field. I went to them and did not expect them to find me and come to me. It was my responsibility to find them and learn as much as I could from their experience.

All of this was playing out for me at the Jaipur Literature Festival.

Let us Learn Together
Tweet @AbhishekShetty_