CLAYLAB EDUCATION FOUNDATION

Audacity of Hope!

I still remember the 15 year old me opening my textbook and uttering the words, ”The principles of justice and equality aim at ending discrimination in social status such as superior or inferior on the basis of caste, religion, language and gender, place of birth, race, property and giving equality of opportunity for development to every individual.”


I was reading about the fundamental rights of the citizens and the significance of equality,
But when I looked around me,
I saw a world which was far away from what reality should be.


With every passing day,
I find myself striving to make it to the day’s end,
With gloomy dusks and lamenting dawns,
Concealing millions of enigmas inside this soul,
I felt that this catastrophic world was trying to put me in a box.
A box of their aged ideologies demarcating my deeds,
A box of their expectations which were unexecuted, unaccomplished and unfinished  by me,
A box of a their anticipations being denied by me,
A box of toxic masculinity and gender stereotypes being propagated on every corner of this world with none to critique them.

The only way I could seek happiness from this brutal world was in the world of my imagination,
A world where people are given the absolute freedom to be who they are,
A world where bonds are filled with kindness, understanding and empathy,
A world where happiness is given more importance than money,
A world that is equitable, liberal, inclusive and compassionate.
But I could only find this world in my imagination,

Whereas reality is a world where words end up being trapped on paper but aren’t implemented.

Nelson Mandela once said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
We are currently living in a state where education is denied to many,

But those with access still take it for granted.


It’s time that we start reimagining the educational system by redefining the purpose of education.
It’s time that we emphasize on inclusivity and adaptability over rigidity and inculpation.

I set off on a journey of decoding the norms,
With the armour of leadership and a sword of hope.
In this world of inequalities,
The problems have been tougher than ever before,
As the conditions have been severe than ever before
So we need more action than ever before
For which we need more student leadership than ever before.


When I think about the future
And about what can lead us to an India that we envision,
The answer to that is leadership.
For which we need true leaders –
Leaders who seek endless opportunities in every challenge,
Leaders who strive towards perfection by not getting off their vision,
Leaders who value the quality of impact over the quantity,
Leaders who believe in solidarity rather than complaining about diversity by building bonds of understanding and love,
Leaders who believe in humanitarianism over all the other differences,
Leaders who believe in inclusivity and value equity over equality,
Leaders who believe that democracy and criticism can go hand in hand,
Leaders who critically analyse and critique on things around them,
Leaders who leverage and foster safe spaces for others around them,
Leaders who are able maintain a balance between the academics and extracurriculars,
Leaders who wish towards making a difference and measure their success not through materialistic desires but with the impact that they’ve created,
Leaders who can give us the India that all of us have envisioned – free of poverty and filled with love,
Leaders who are able to adapt to the changing circumstances,
Leaders who enact deeds by inculcating kindness, empathy, love and compassion,
Leaders who believe in the power of hope…
Hope that has been leading us since the past 18 months,
Hope that lifts us up in the darkest times of our life,
Hope that empowers us to work harder for a change,
Hope that binds all of together,
Hope for a reimagined world,
Hope for things to be better.

As Malala says, ”Let us remember: One book, one pen, one child, and one teacher, can change the world.” Change only comes when we wish to make it and work tirelessly towards making that difference. Today I want to leave all of you with the question that I ask myself every single day:
What is the kind of leader I have been and what kind of leader do I look up to be?
How am I making a difference in this world by creating an impact through my existence?
Am I able to fulfill my role in this society? If not then how can I do so?
How can we make the India that we envision a reality?

– Rupesh Chaurasia, Grade 11 Student at Claylab

First Time in History..

First time in history,

We the people of 2020,

Suffered a lot with due to less money,

ran here and there for food, clothes and shelter,

But everything happened for the better.

We struggled,cried,fell apart

But took some steps with a hope in our hearts.

People were helped by well-wishers and strangers,

In monsoon, summer, spring and all turbulent weathers.

Teachers taught online

While doctors were our front line.

In this war against misery

The only way out was to pray in a hurry.

Life seemed like a movie,

What was lost, is the popcorn,Ice-cream and cookie.

Just the way humans didn’t step out,

There was absolute silence, without any scream or shout.

Students tried learning,

Thriving while starving.

And a lot of sacrifice,

Lives were lost, in the game of life.

Life is short,

So let’s jump and hop

Do not knock just be welcomed by life,

Enjoy lifes’s moments as they are as flavourful as sweet and spice.

Because life begins with you,

Hold on to it tightly because it’s yours,

We are the lucky few,

Who are to rejoice and grow…

At the end of the day, live a good life because it is show that should be a worthy watch from the front row.

— Aliza Sheikh, Claylab Student Alumni

Get, Set, Go!

Being a student of Teach for India is delighting when I reflect back on it, as a student. It reminds me of writing my first essay about “Myself”. I can see all the achievements I have made since then. I have gained academic excellence but more than that, I have observed my way of assimilating and perceiving things has changed drastically. My critical thinking skills made me very strong and helped me deal with any situation that stood before me. My thoughts have made me explore numerous ideas and made me aware about different things that drew me towards blogging.

Today, I can have effective conversations with my parents on various topics and can counter question every time I have a doubt. I help my mom whenever she gets stuck with any particular topic and also my brother with his math problems. I’ve learnt as a student, that I have a crucial role towards my family members, peers, or neighbours around me as they also require help and I can become a resource to them, which is good deed.

I have a different approach towards life, unlike others; not to say that I am special but this a distinctive change I have noticed within me. Now, I make decisions with the required maturity and apply them to solve a particular problem or deal with a situation. I have not only achieved new heights, but also overcome many obstacles on the way. I remember I didn’t have a pencil to write when I was in kindergarten school and I was still a happy girl but it never deterred me from learning. I always tried to make the most of what I have and just get on with life. I am a go-getter that way!

Being a student for me hasn’t just been about academics but also my entire journey till now.

I believe that we must never stop learning. If we lack something in terms of skill or resource, we must continue to learn, as it is the only way to grow! I lacked a lot of resources but still continued to study and promised myself to never give up on my dreams and only then will I be able to help others to achieve their dreams.

– Aliza Shaikh, Student at Clay

Survivors

Hello and a big shout out to all the survivors. We all are blessed with one life, so why do we keep grudges against people. Why not PAUSE, REWIND, THINK. We all have only one golden opportunity, to take the best glance. I want to address one thing, in my early childhood, I used to find this world the best place. A place full of love, kindness, and gratitude, but wait…my perspective began to change as I grew up. I could see vast changes in my thoughts, in society, and people’s behaviour, which made me question myself that why am I seeing this change? I used to have a different perspective when I was a child and now it has changed. How can I find this world good and bad at the same time, and this made me feel perturbed. I had this fixed question in my mind… WILL I BE ABLE TO SURVIVE? Will I survive or sink? But as I told, we have a golden chance and we should use it to take the best glance. Yes, it did take me a lot of time to adjust with the changes and to always look forward. I learnt one thing that life can be good or bad but it does give opportunities to all. Yes, I agree that not everyone in this world is rich and privileged to enjoy the renowned luxury, but we are also not to so poor to enjoy the best luxury of life that is by living and enjoying every moment. Nothing should hold us back, remember that sky is the limit. Even now as we all can see that covid-19 has taken the lives of many. Here, I would want to mention a theory by Darwin which is SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST. We all must stay fit physically and mentally and adapt to the changes in Nature. I used to feel so unlucky that I don’t have all the luxury that other kids have, but then I looked at those kids who are deprived of basic education right, I saw an old man begging, people who have lost their hands and legs yet they still ain’t giving up, they all became my inspiration. If they can, we all can!! No matter how tough the situation gets, we all must survive and become the best warriors.

– Kulsum Shaikh, Student at Clay

Ray of positivity

       Life = a recipe! Just like a recipe, life is made up of different components which make it tasty and jovial to live! The taste consistency would disbalance if we miss out a component! Interaction is a component that we miss in our recipe of life these days. People started doubting how long they would survive!  And we all found our lives to be so derailed! Social distancing made us so possessive about ourselves that we wanted to be together but the pandemic came into the way. 

       Here social media makes its entry like a hero of an action film! Social media filled up that gap which was getting our life to an extent where it was seeming to be challenging to live! It was a form of pipe that connects places on a wide range and water like communication and virtual interaction could flow freely through it! Teenagers and adolescents being so eager to spend quality time with their loved ones are now able to do so at least virtually. But the most important thing in this is, IT’S SAFE.

       Ignoring the negative pandemic situations and people being deceased outrageously, now we learn to get in touch emotionally! Emotional touch becomes the source of maintaining relationships. Emotions having no limits is a wide range of connectivity source. We learn to let go of things, ignore negative thoughts and get relationships strong even virtually!   

       Taking ‘Health Ranks Higher than Wealth’ to priority, there were safe interactions which made the taste of life a little different but even better! Same taste all the time could be boring, a change could make life so exciting to live! So, that’s what we actually see happening in the world! Nature is healing itself and the world gave us a change in life!

       Observing all this, not only teenagers but each and every person learned to live with a RAY OF POSITIVITY. And this is the most vital impact that took place over humans! It gave us hopes with which we didn’t let the pandemic take hold of us. Doctors fought, policemen took care of people and learning continued. Today, I just take out a couple of minutes to thank that divine power (God) for blessing me with the power to survive out of the pandemic and also pray for the peaceful afterlife for the souls of deceased people. 

    Now life’s getting back to normal but the impact of living with a ‘Ray of Positivity’, making it a part of life will last forever because nature gave us time to make it a habit.

– Rugved Ande, Garde 11 student at Clay

An Autobiography Of A Car…

Tharrr….thar…ttthaatrrr…tttt…. “Throw it away in the junkyard or it will eat up all your income.” The last words, I heard from the mechanic and since months here, among hundreds of jalopies, waiting for someone to recreate me. I remember when those engineers worked so hard day- night and decided a model. It was experimented on one of my friends’, who was as sick and lone as I’m now! 

Thinking about the miracle with him gives me the hope, one day a lady or a gentleman would come with a model and redeem me. I remember, then I was just a metal piece with a weird- shiny figure. I was just so excited thinking about my colour, texture, master, model and everything I could think about. I could feel the current that was given to me for a good texture, I could feel new organs fitting within never knowing there were going to be my parts forever. This continued for a month and soon I was covered with polyester for the exposition and was waiting for a rich master to pay for me, take me at his grand parking. 

One day, my mistress comes by, takes me along and says I was her first earning; this makes me more radiant and prouder. She celebrates my presence with her family, friends, and colleagues. They came in ride with me. I love the everyday routine… running to drop her at the office place, then home again. Sometimes to the bars, airport parking, hospitals and alot of places. I meet a lot like me, some old and some brand new. But I feel more worth & special, although I was her first earning. She guarded me with a thick chain, gave me bath every weekend. I love the highways, the muddy roads, to splash water and mud on others and go vanish…..oh the fun!!                

 Suddenly, a wild- dirty monster with 4 giant wheels and heavy load crashes inot me….thussss…hhsshh….     Broken! I hear unbearable noise and soon when trying to figure out things, I feel wet…wet inside! Oh…it’s red and thick and warm… blood! My mistress doesn’t open her eyes, doesn’t move to see me if I’m fine. And just in few hours, I realize she’s dead…            Left me alone. 

Then I was driven & controlled by her brother. Raced and crashed, repaired and parked in not parking areas. A lot of pending penalties, took me under custody. Those mischievous boys scratch their girlfriend’s name to prove their romance. The dog peed, and a man spit too. Whereas, a legend proved his humanity by stealing the diesel and taking off my three stars. The angry brother kicks on my tires and my door and leaves me all alone, punctured. Years pass by, dust covered me with no air entering inside. 

Articulating, at last, a car hauler pulls my back; takes me to throw me away in an automobile graveyard where I wait for another messiah to take me with him. Or at least burn me so I’m not dying every day in this hot sun waiting for someone’ s arrival.

– Kanchan Singh (11th – Science student at Clay)

What Aliza learnt from the Pandemic

Hey everyone! I’m Aliza Shaikh from Mumbai.

As we all know that we are going through this pandemic, and it’s still not over. I remember last year in 2019 when I wrote in my diary, about how wonderful my 2020 would turn out to be. All of a sudden, though, 2020 just proved me to wrong.

From the past 6 months of the pandemic I’ve realized that I have experienced something which I have never thought of. At the same time, I also got to learn a few basic things which we didn’t follow previously, when there was no pandemic. Simple hygienic things like using mask to protect ourselves from viruses, bacteria and pollution. Using sanitizer to protect ourselves from germs. I also learnt to follow new rules and regulations made to adopt in this modern period.

One thing that really touched me is that without luxurious things also we can still live life. John Keats says “A thing of beauty is a joy forever” and your family is itself a joy for you, so then why do we move around in search of joy. Joy is everywhere: it’s just that you need to be a aware about it. I learnt that even though there were many festivals that came and went I still learnt to manage myself by staying home and safe. I learnt the habit of controlling myself and that’s the best habit a “good human” can ever build in themselves.

I also learnt that basic things like education which was stopped by closing all the schools brought so many complications to children but I’M very thankful that there is online education which is still on…… there’s still hope alive in ourselves when we are still learning. Most importantly I learnt one that we are “learning to learn” even though there are schools all closed.

At the same time, I realised that interaction with teacher is the best communication then via online, because that’s our habit that we are carrying from so many years. One thing that I loved the most is that just a simple smile to your mom your dad or your neighbours gives you so much of pleasure that even though we are in the pandemic we are still happy and we don’t feel like pandemic exists.

Covid19 taught each one of us that wherever the problems take you, you must learn to live in that, adjust yourself in that without blaming yourself that that you were not meant to reach at this situation. It’s life and it takes us everywhere it wants to, to teach us a good lesson of what life really is. A lot of questions came into my mind during this pandemic but that was only because I was aware of the situation. So most importantly, I learnt to be aware, alert, grit and to ownership to take care of myself during this pandemic and focus towards my goals even during this pandemic: That whatever happens, I am still going to learn, it’s like learning to learn not only for the exams but to educate myself.

One thing that I would again and always repeat is we are learning to learn and we are going to learn each and every part throughout our lives, because “we are meant to learn”.

– Aliza Shaikh, Student at Clay

What’s in a Sound?

‘Aum’ or ‘Om’

‘Aum’ or ‘Om’ – The primordial Sanskrit sound (Pranav): the two secret sounds from which all words originate.

From childhood, my parents forced me to chant this word at least five times a day. Yes, they forced me because I was never interested in chanting it. I used to think that it is a superstition that a word of two or three letters can change my mind. But after some time I started believing in the thing that the word ‘Aum’ or ‘Om’ gives us mental peace and strength. Now, I strongly believe in the sentence that “Everything changes when you start to emit your frequency rather than absorbing the frequencies around you when you start imprinting your intent on the universe rather than receiving an imprint from existence.”

This word “Om” has changed my life. Changes were gradual but its impacts were powerful.

Aachhii…!

The sound ‘Aachhii…’ and its impact has changed a lot from the last few months. Earlier, while someone sneezed people used to say “God bless you!” to that person because when someone sneezes the heartbeat may get delayed for a second or two, before resuming its regular rhythm.

But now, the sound ‘Aachhii’ has become a harmful alarm! Sneezing has become no less than a crime. In some places, people got beaten when they sneezed in public places. The sound ‘Aachhii…’ has taught me that “Everything changes with time.”

Earlier people used to bless you and now they scold you for the same sound!

Piiii-Piii…

Mumbai is known as the ‘City of Dreams’ but it is also the city of too many vehicles and roads filled with traffic! Too many vehicles means too many horns and when they get stuck in a place which is (known as traffic) it leads to noise pollution. When I was in my 10th-grade, on Saturday we used to have two free lectures for self-study; but I never got the peace or silence to concentrate on my studies for that one hour in the whole year because of the noise of these horns.

It’s not just me but there are so many students struggling with noise pollution across the world! Someday, I want to find out a solution for the students of the future generations because I believe that even one hour of Saturday can make a huge difference!

– Shrutika Jankar (FYJC Science student at CLAY)

IT’S YOU WHO DEFINES YOURSELF, EVEN IF YOU ARE JUDGED BY OTHERS

Can We Just Stop Judging People? Can We Normalize Everything A Human Is Or Wants To Be? 

We Surely Can. 


For that, we need to do just 2 things: first is to try to adapt to / accept current situations or environment and second, is just considering others’ point of view or understand things with a different perspective. 

Many a times people around us are misjudged about their style, character, gender, personality, sexuality, religion and the list go on. But my question is: Why judge someone we barely even know? Also, if you are judging someone you give yourself an authority; why, who the hell are you? 

I feel judging someone on the things I have mentioned above, is just being very insensitive and demotivating. So personally, when I was at my school level I use to judge people on what they wear but as I got older and understood that; ‘it’s our choice to do / wear anything we like and the opposite person is no one to judge you’. Then I asked myself self: I am not even friends with them I don’t know them, then why am I talking about them, sorry… not just talking but Judging them? 

This question hit me hard and for that moment my heart was heavy with guilt in it (I may sound like a hypocrite, but trust me it was almost like 5 years ago). 

I also feel these things are better understood with maturity and knowledge about different types of people around you. Lastly, I want to conclude by saying that ” it’s you who defines yourself even if you are judged by others.” Even if you are subjected to judgement, don’t ever go back and try to defend yourself (unless that person is someone important to you) because you didn’t ask them for their unnecessary opinions, right? So, forget about it! 


I would like to spread a message to everyone reading this: please be non-judgmental and empathetic towards others… because if you think good, you feel good! 😊

  • Surbhi Surwade, SYJC Arts Student at CLAY

Should one always say the truth, no matter what?

If you’d ask Nandeene this question,

Her answer would always be YES.

One should always and always say the truth,

No matter what!

.

Nandeene strongly agrees here.

“Don’t say anything if it is not more beautiful than silence.

If you can’t be honest; be silent.”

.

The more honest we will be,

The easier life will be for us;

because if we once choose to lie,

Then we get into the *loop* of lying…

You’ll have to come up with

a 100 lies more just to cover that one!

.

Another line that hits her hard is

“They say ‘actions speak louder than words’,

But guys; words can directly stab someone’s heart.”

Sometimes we may feel that by not telling the truth,

we aren’t hurting someone,

but we are actually hiding the reality from them…

which someday, will be in front of them.

You may think you didn’t hurt them by telling them then,

But if they know later; it would hurt more.

It’s never too late, to tell the truth.

You may pause, take your time but don’t hide it.

Tell them, no matter how hard it would be.

The earlier they know; the sooner they can recover and heal.

.

We all want to live in a world where honesty exists,

where we can trust each other,

where people are truly being themselves

without any mask on their faces.

How can this world be achieved?

Simply just by staying true to ourselves,

and to the people around us!

.

Be honest to yourself, and the people around you…

Your life would be much simpler;

And your people’s too 🙂

//say the truth, no matter what//

– Nandeene Surwade (Class XI Student of CLAY)
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A Race, A Dart, A Journey

In the hush, race and dart of life we all ignore the significant beauty that passes by through ever dreaming eyes!

Thoughts about the so required selfishness, keep pondering and pinching you like a thorn, to a slow little crawling ant trying to hurry!

In the quest of growing for oneself we forget to keep up the ones who rely on us!

In the lust of being perfect, some loose their identity, while some create the unreal ones.

This dangerous dart leads us to the drowning dare, the seek for Culprit capital, which holds the perception of being the “organizer” of the hurtful hushes.

At last, when we can’t match the pace, we try to fall the ace, when we also are left behind at this stage, we find ourselves in our cages, cages of self-doubt, self-discouragement and existence. In this very moments we are done making space for us at last we are done “fitting in”!

But wait, we all are taught that there are sides to everything! Sides to the over top leaves, sides to the dreary deserted sand, sides to hindered water dam and sides to the mud in the forest!

Yes there are sides, the unreal reality is that you can choose your own side! 

The long life is not a race , dart, hurry  and a hush it is what we make this journey look like, yes it is a journey.

A journey  that is  meant especially for you to be you, Yes auspiciously for you to rise not by leaving others behind, but in fact to walk with them through the journey.

Help is not a favour to offer here, it is a selfless asset, that pays you back while you are unaware.

The real quest for life lies in you to inculcate the art of listening to others more than you advise them.

Life is a fun journey: here you rise by not letting people down but by lifting the unlifted.

And the more you do it, the happier it becomes! 


– Raghvendra Yadav

(Member of our Student Advisory Council at CLAY)

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