Ayush was not shy exactly but he was reluctant to ask the question publicly. Jey had just made an offer to the kids that they can ask him anything.
Ayush came to him and took him to the stairs and asked the pertinent question going on in almost every kid’s mind, ‘How to tackle the pressure from parents in terms of career selection?’
This question has a background. In Bihar or anywhere, parents want a secure career for their children and put immense pressure.
Almost all the schools are under pressure to produce more engineers and doctors and Vidya Vihar residential school in purnea is no exception though they promote art and other activities in a massive way.
Jey asked other assembled kids whether they also have that question in their mind. Everyone kept quite which meant it was an important question.
Then we explained that one can follow his/her dreams even if they become doctor or engineer. We gave the example of Steve jobs (co-founder of apple who never completed his college), Atul gawande (a well known surgeon who also write books) and many more.
We asked kids to imaging beyond the obvious and think of newer ways of tackling pressure. One of them was taking a teacher into confidence and talk to parents with an alternative career plan.
The point of having an alternative plan excited everyone. We asked them to enjoy the paintings being made on the walls by other students who were interested in the painting.
In the school, we almost painted ten walls. Nine small walls by kids and One big wall ( 15×15 ft) by Meenakshi.
We asked kids to paint something they haven’t seen yet. After the initial hesitation they came up with ideas such as….a man on a shuttlecock travelling in the sky……a bird giving birth to hand prints…..pink duck and a peacock together….green sea with a lighthouse and a scenery of night with trees in silhouettes.
Quite extraordinary imagination..I would say….though few kids made an apple and a butterfly on their designated walls as they couldn’t create what they imagined. Nevertheless they enjoyed.
In two days of painting, we involved the administrative staff and teachers as well. They reacted very positively towards our request but the best reaction came from bablooji who took care of us with constant supply of tea, coffee and snacks.
On second day when Meenakshi was finalizing the big painting, Bablooji came and said, ‘Madam, yesterday I thought you guys are messing up the wall but today it is looking so good. I don’t know what it is but it looks soothing and beautiful.’
With that memorable reaction we ended our work in the school. It was time to move to a village to learn something new.
We will write about that learning soon.