Tinkering Lab, Chess and Hindi
Thud, thud, thud. The periodic hammering was audible throughout the open structure, also known as the tinkering lab. The children were seated in clusters of two and three, working decisively on constructing wooden frames. While one hammered, the other demarcated the nailing spots into which the nails were going to be placed. The constant chattering lingered on, allowing the work to be pleasant and joyous for everyone, including the vigilant facilitators present there. Previous exasperation of not wanting to participate in the activity was replaced by zeal to learn and know more due to the prodigy, Shivaji Sir.
One and a half hours was meager for this task that required equal measures of patience and diligence. At the end, the student’s toil resulted in symmetrical squares, with thirty or so nails on opposite sides. Work deemed fit for a carpenter, was completed by mere fourteen year olds in a short time span, proving to be a feat in itself.
When the period was over, the children begrudgingly trudged back to class, not favoring a math lecture just after a terrific lesson. Fortuitously, math had been cancelled and the class was going to have a chess lesson! Most students thought chess lessons were complicated and brain-racking, but after Ajinkya Sir taught them canny tactics and astute moves, they haven’t been more indulged and focused in the lessons.
They took to it, with keen interest, and have been pursuing Ajinkya in their available self study periods, to learn more and to triumph past their peers. Chess has trained them to think broader and has bred their minds to think strategically. The one-hour sessions have proved to be inadequate for the students’ ever-increasing hunger to grasp the complexities of chess. The next few hours passed in a whiz, consisting of complex equations, fictitious literature and experimental techniques.
Not long after, was Hindi theatre class–a compulsion. For most, this was a redundant period, which only provoked them and made them despise the language. This was, however, owing to the tedious manners in which they had learnt Hindi before joining DLRC. Rote method was usually how it was presented to students in conventional schools, which didn’t allow them to appreciate the language. DLRC has to undo a lot of this cumulative damage. Namita ma’am has begun this process of unlearning through characterization and leisure-reading. Gradually, most of us, have recognized a unique and different way of understanding and even begun enjoying Hindi.
It isn’t about what can be learnt in a day, it is about how much you can fit in.
Written by: Avishi Dalmia (JHS)
Photographs by: Animesh Sharma (JHS)