‘Ishan Awasthi’ and the art teacher ‘Ram’ from the movie ‘Taare Zameen Par’ are real.
Exactly Chandrashekar’s journey of 27 years gets summed up in these two characters- hence, introducing before you his transitional voyage from Ishan to Ram.
THE ISOLATED CHILDHOOD
Chandrashekar hails from the family of a farmer and has grown up in the lap of nature, about 40 km away from the hustle and bustle of the Silicon city of the country. As far as his memory goes, he remembers his toddler days were full of fun and was a carefree life. But, for the first time, he started taking ‘care’ of his identity when others started showing ‘least care’ about him – it was during his primary school days when he first started finding difficulties in fitting himself in the ‘normalized system of education ‘. He was unable to recognize letters or write long answers or do the simple addition or subtraction and the consequences of these had always been ‘dark red imprint of hard bamboo sticks on the tender skin of his back’. He was baffled, his innocent heart failed to understand how just a school admission could change the known world around him.
“You are the poorest student of the class Chandrashekar” the echo of this sentence still reverberates in his ears. The shadow of loneliness and isolation slowly started gulping him up but at that moment his inner ears heard the beckoning of a magical world-‘THE WORLD OF COLOURS’. The more he was criticized in the school or in-home, his creative spree started becoming more powerful. Making handicrafts from wastes, sketching, making sculptures from clay and mud became his favorite mates to lighten his days of isolation. In this way, he completed his school education with an unsatiated hunger of establishing art as the medium of expression, in the ‘mainstream education’. It was during his college days that he started gaining a little recognition of his creative endeavor, but he realized that merely getting recognition is not the purpose of his life.
The quest of searching for his life’s purpose led him to explore different paths of the society; sometimes as a social activist, while some other time as a student in a gender class debating about Gender inequality, while sometimes in the streets of the capital city of the country lulling a street child and wondering about the economic inequality, but the most significant eye-opener was when he saw a 9-year-old Dalit girl in Rajasthan was brutally beaten up because she mistakenly entered a brahmin house. It shooked his existence and took him back to the days of his childhood traumas, he understood that the only way to bring parity in this despaired world more specifically our country is through a generation change and that is only possible through education- which imparts values, which cater a child according to his/her needs and which makes a child prepares for LIFE. But, alas! the true picture of our country’s education was once again unveiled before him when he found that (during his fellowship days) the children in the interior villages of Rajasthan were not even taken proper care by the teachers and thus they were failing to even spell their name at the age of 16!
THE BIG LEAP FOR THE LITTLE ONE
Chandrashekar came back to Bangalore, and the transition happened with the transformation of self by embracing the qualities of ‘Ram’ from ‘Tare Zameen Par’, he joined ‘Dream A Dream’ as a ‘life skill facilitator ‘ and started sharing with the kids the secret of mastering their life with creative arts. He found that there are hundreds of young people like ‘little Chandrasekar’ struggling every day with an identity crisis, there are students who are facing exclusion on a day to day basis, there are students who need empathy and compassion but in turn, is badly bullied by their friends and teachers and parents too, the students who have become aggressive and out of aggression either harming the self or harming others, the student who is an amazing writer but has fear to speak in public, and all these are affecting harshly not only their personal well-being but also acting as a toll to their future professional life. He decided to open his own organization called ‘A Aa E Ee’( ಅ ಆ ಇ ಈ ) with a vision “to create a sky of independence for every young people from challenging background by nurturing them with skill, value, and need-based learning according to the requirement of 21st century”.
A Aa E Ee is now working with 5 government schools of Bangalore, Karnataka through – Skill and Value learning Programs and Career Guidance programs with the children and the youth. It has been able to reach 1533 students in one year directly and 5,500 students indirectly. It is currently engaged in designing innovative solutions for making skill, value, and need-based learning possible during the COVID -19 era. Chandrashekar dream is to make’ A Aa E Ee ‘a landmark in the Indian System of Education which would be able to celebrate every child and would become a ‘creche of human making ‘ rather than ‘machine manufacturing’.
The story is presented to you by Ajit Kumar, Author, and Editorial Advisor, Scientific Nation. You can contact him through the contact page or through his profile to more about Scientific Nation and its collaboration with other organizations. Stay updated because a citizen of the multiverse has a story