Matters of the mind

Do you know what is the most intriguing aspect of human beings? If  you’re thinking – the mind, you’ve got it right! As captivating as the mind is, it is equally confusing, conflicting, imaginative and curious. Though the mind has existed since life started on this planet, the attempt to understand it has been made only a few centuries ago. Wonder why? Because it is intangible, unlike our physical problems which can be diagnosed and detected through a series of tests. But fortunately, recent studies and researches have given enough and more evidence on the importance of mental health. 

Though the conversation has begun, did you know one of the key elements of mental health is the fact that it presents itself differently in different age groups? Well… if you didn’t, we are glad you are here to read about it! 

The most imperative time to build the mental health framework is during childhood.  The brain is still developing, schemas are still being formed – it is the most impressionable age. Hence, we bring you ways to keep a check on the mental health of the young minds who are going to shape our tomorrow. Now, we are no experts but hey, dealing with children did teach us a thing or two about their well-being. So, here’s our two cents: 

Have continuous check-ins: As mentors/teachers we check-in with our students regularly at Claylab. This way they have an outlet and a safe space where they can share anything and everything that is bothering them. Not just that, children can help themselves by writing down everything that happened during the week. This way they too can keep a track of their moods, events and growth. 

Create a buddy system: In this virtual world it is a task to form real connections and this impacts how a child perceives the world. So, partner up students or form a group where the children have the simple task of getting to know each other beyond the world of reels, looks and likes. 

Introduce activity and exercise as a daily task: Remember: The body and the mind are connected. Therefore, engage children into some sort of physical movement; it could be anything from dance to sports. 

To all the kids out there, running amidst nature is much more fun than Subway surfers or PubG. 

Never say NO to sleep: This is even for the adults –  the easiest way to give your mind some rest is to take a nap. Trust us, you will function much better and that 8 hour magic sleep can literally do wonders. 

There are a million other things we all could do to assure that the mental quotient of our young ones can be at its best. And to the leaders of tomorrow, the above applies to you too. It is your duty to maintain your mental as well as physical health. Being a child or a student is all about being carefree and being ready to take on the world but to do that – the mind must be in the right place. 

Life will have its ups and downs but remember this while you go through them: ‘The mind is a great servant but a terrible master.’

Friendship for a Lifetime

Do you remember the first time you met your best friend or how you started talking? On revisiting that memory, some of you will realize that it is was an instant connection while some of you will recollect it to have taken a few days to form the bond. Well, the story is no different when it comes to books and reading. 

Though some find it effortless to drown in a book to escape from reality, others still struggle to stay afloat. But does it mean one should stop swimming? Definitely not! All you’ve to do is find a book that can be your anchor. Then there is no looking back. If you’re wondering ‘How’? Here’s your answer – Like all other friendships, this equation also starts off with taking the first step – getting acquainted and putting in effort to build it. Simply put, you just need to give reading a chance. 

By this point, you might have the thought of giving this a shot, right? But again, don’t know where to start? We have got you covered. If you are a new reader wanting to get blown away by the magic of reading or a seasoned reader wanting another miracle in your life, you’re at the right place.

Even though they might be underrated by many, there’s always a book that can help you deal with every struggle, situation, feeling and mood. Books are works of literary excellence created by revered souls for our consumption and growth. 

However, from a galaxy of stars, we’ve managed to pick some that are sure to make you look at life in a different light: 

  • Find your calling with – ‘The Alchemist’

An inspiring tale of self-discovery that encourages a young boy to listen to his heart and follow his dreams. This gem is sure to inspire you to brave the path of pursuing your dreams. 

  • Believe in the unbelievable with – ‘Life of Pi’

A book that will surely make you realise the importance of believing in something – be it God, Mother Nature, or your own strength.

  • Break the barriers with – ‘I Know Why The Caged Birds Sing’ 

A must read for our generation that is stuck on social media. This autobiography shows how love for literature can help you overcome just about anything. 

  • Embrace your teenage with – ‘The Catcher in the Rye’

Learning to cope with his teenage angst, a young boy finds himself trying to deal with his transition from teenage to adulthood  and the difficulties that come with it. A book that each one of us will surely resonate with. 

  • Indulge in Nostalgia with – ‘Malgudi Days’

A compilation of short stories that will melt your heart with its relevance in the life of an Indian household and the problems that come with it. 

While the number of great books at our disposal are insurmountable, these picks are a great start to build a lifetime of association with reading! Irrespective of the timeline, books have rightfully managed to secure the title of being called one’s best friend. Even if you find yourself lost in a book, remember that it’s probably where you’ll find yourself too. 

So what are you waiting for? Pick one or all of tye above books and let us know which one you loved the most or introduce us to your best friend that did not make this list! 

A better country will look like this..

One fact about India as a country is that people here belong to different religions, regions and castes. Despite belonging to a unified nation, people of India still fight over different regions, castes, communities, religions, languages, etc. These are the main obstacles for our country and the reason why we still lag in many fields across industries.

These days the news is filled with updates about domestic violence, kidnapping, murder, theft, riots due to communalism and a lot more. We rarely get to see about new inventions that are made by India because our main focus is on all the negativity instead of focusing on the positives.

One of the pressing reasons for this is poverty which stems from people in the villages migrating to cities and settling in slums with sub-par facilities and means. India’s urban infrastructure has worsened over the years due to this. We see slums in almost all the major cities which have become the cause of diseases, poor facilities, improper drainage systems, fights, difficulties living conditions, lack of jobs,crime, etc.

Trust me, things would be very normal and our country would progress if – ‘We the people of India’ begin to understand each other’s language, religion, cast, views, opinions and perspectives. This would help us not only to know each other well but also build strong relationships within and even outside our country. It’s this basic understanding that needs to be popularized to make sure that our future doesn’t remain in the same state as how it is now. The only means for it is to educate people. Education creates an understanding that we all are equal and removes the idea of discrimination by bringing the feeling of oneness. It gives an inspiration to focus on the good aspects which will prove to be helpful for all.

For example, ‘Teach for India’ is an organisation which aims at providing excellent education to all the children. They have a slogan called ‘one day all the children will attain excellent education’. This means that they are not only providing education in terms of teaching the subjects but they are also providing important skills to children like critical thinking, analysing, hypothesis, thinking out of the box and learning circles which teaches that we all are equal.

Even though we are getting dragged down by the illiteracy and poverty prevalent in our country, a well-educated country is our doorway to progress. Despite being pulled a year back because of the global pandemic, a country that is working on their growth, skills and development will never face another challenge again.

The secret behind the Golden boy of India

One swift powerful throw at the Tokyo Olympics 2020, was all it took for Neeraj Chopra to become a
household hero in India. Within minutes he became the talk of the town, the centre of every conversation
and the Pride of India. Every Indian celebrated his golden victory as if it was their own. Whilst basking in the
glory of numerous victories, every Indian heart secretly hoped, wished and prayed for the success of all the
other athletes that represented India. This is the beauty of playing a sport. Not only does it cause millions of
hearts to dance with you when you win but also ignites innumerable dreams. Above all, it unites people
despite their differences – Isn’t that wonderful? The power of sports goes beyond just winning a medal or a
title; be it Cricket, Kabadi or Hockey, the roar of success or the cry of failure is heard across the country.
Aren’t sportsmen and women legends? They manage to unite a diverse nation like India for one common
purpose (A task no politician has achieved till date!). The athletes and sportsmen/women of India are the
ones who are etched in our history and minds forever. Though no single day can ever do justice to the
revolution they create but to commemorate our legends, India celebrates 29th August as the National
Sports Day every year – a celebration that marks the birth of a revered hockey player – Dhyan Chand Singh,
who has left behind the legacy of three consecutive Olympic wins!

As proud as we are of the achievements of our Indian athletes, more often than not Indian parents are
skeptical about the future of their child in sports. Ever asked yourself why does that happen? Besides our
stringent beliefs, our education system has given more emphasis on academics (Thank you, East India
Company!) and somehow we assumed that this is the best way to go about education. Whereas, the
foundation of sports in India can be traced back to the Vedic era (Much before the Brits came, guys!). Over
the years, millions of dreams have been crushed citing that being a sportsman isn;t dignified or serious
enough. Well… we can change this narrative and celebrate not just the victories but the contribution and
necessity of sports in our lives. The future of sports lies in our hands. The next Sachin Tendulkar, Mary Kom
or Neeraj Chopra can be discovered in any lane of our country. However, what makes these athletes
invincible is not pure talent but a combination of skill, determination, hours of practice and tons of support,
training and guidance.

If you are wondering – how do we do this? Here’s where we can start:Equal if not more emphasis should be
given to physical education in schools.The burden of good grades has retracted the attention from indulging
in a sport – this is the first step towards creating this change followed by support from parents. When there
are more children taking up sports the government will have no choice but to invest in better facilities,
provisions and training. Even if not to reach global levels, an hour in the court or under the Sun is all that it
takes to charge up one’s body and rejuvenate one’s mind.
So this National Sports Day, let’s vow to celebrate sports and its many achievements not just on the 29th of
August but every single day by engaging in a sport of some kind. This isn’t for the medals but instead, it is
for a healthier, fitter and a more determined nation.
And don’t forget: Sports not only build better athletes but also better people!

A student’s letter to online class

Dear Online class,
You came in the life of students at a critical point. We were under a lockdown but you were traveling the entire world helping people do what they do in the middle of a pandemic. One of the people who you were very kind to was – Me. When I met you, you were the one-stop solution for all my problems.

I remember the day when I saw Zoom. He has helped me alot with my Online classes though sometimes it did hurt as a I would struggle to ask my doubts in class, thanks to our common enemy – POOR NETWORK! Sometimes I wonder if the network was jealous of our bond and growing friendship.

Dear, you have so many qualities like – a camera, microphone and the my favourite: CHATTING. I can easily talk to my friends and get all the information from them. Your emojis help me to express my feelings and emotions without using any words or sentences in my message.

One day I met my school teacher and she was talking about you. She was telling me that with the help of your support she was able to stay connected with her new students of 10th grade. Because of your family member – Google classroom, she was able to collect all the homework from her students and easily review it.
But just like me, she too suffers a lot to due to the network.

All things aside, we are all so grateful to you that you came into our selfish world and helped us without asking for anything in return.

For everyone who is reading this, jus think: What would happen if my friend didn’t exist in this world? How would we have managed our work, school and most importantly, check- up on our loved ones during the covid situation?

See you soon!

~ by Aayush Sharma, G12 student at Claylab

Curiosity doesn’t always kill the cat!

Contrary to popular belief, curiosity doesn’t always kill the cat but a lack of it might kill us someday. Wondering what that means? Well… that is a great place to begin because this wonder is exactly what we call curiosity.

Have you ever observed a child and how they question the simplest of things? Characterised by their innate inquisitiveness, kids between the age of 1 to 5 are bound to throw a stream of countless questions at adults. Questions such as:

‘Why is the Earth round?’

‘What is a leap year?’

‘When exactly did Dinosaurs go extinct?’

‘Why do we have to go to school?’

‘Who is God?’

The list goes on. The non-stop questioning is often brushed off as innocent enthusiasm. Even though the queries are often random, some of them can even get adults to scratch their heads. While most of us let these questions slide past us, some people go the extra mile and decode them. This itch to know more about things, even in a world that is overwhelmed with information, is known as curiosity. As children we too were unafraid to repeatedly question what we couldn’t comprehend – a quality that seems to fade away as we grow up. We start accepting facts at face value without making an effort to know the story behind it.

However, many life changing inventions and discoveries such as electricity, internet, air travel, etc. are the products of a curious mind. Had timeless inventors and great scholars let their curiosity sink, we would be deprived of what we consider as some of the most basic necessities today. It is paramount to acknowledge the power of curiosity. Curiosity must be harnessed daily to reap the benefits in the quest to excel.

While curiosity comes naturally to some, it can also be developed. Curious to know how? Read on and try some of the many ways by which we can heighten our curiosity:

Ask Why, How, When : Make it a habit to ask questions. If a thought crosses your mind, investigate it.

Engage in curiosity imbibing games : Occupy any spare time by playing games that spike your curiosity such as guessing games, imaginative games, puzzles, etc.

Connect with new people : Always be welcoming towards interactions that lay out an opportunity to learn something new.

Unleash the reader in you : Books, articles or a simple google search is enough to transport you to a new world of possibilities.

Embrace new experiences : Go on that trek you’ve been cancelling on forever. Seek experiences and opportunities that you’ve been longing for and go for it! Not only will it give exposure and answers but will reignite your curiosity.

Employ any of the above tips or explore more and find your own way to rekindle your curiosity. You never know what you might discover in the process and don’t forget to share with us what you discover. Start your journey on this curve of curiosity and create a story that will be quoted in the years to come.


As we grow old, we begin to notice people and the things they do. Eventually, we start imitating their behavior, values, and beliefs. We are mesmerized by their persona and achievements. These people who we admire become our inspiration or role models. 

We are in awe of the things they do and the way they do it. Whenever we are stuck in a situation, we think what the person we idolize would do if he/she were in the same situation. Our role models are our constant source of motivation and energy. We try to learn as much as we can from them. Most of us have role models that famous figures and never end up meeting them. Yet, through our lives, we are constantly guided by and thereby we choose to live the life we live.

Inspiration is not just found in other people but also situations. Any act ordinary from the usual being is often inspired by a certain moment or situation. For instance, seeing someone help another person who is in need inspires us to reflect on it and do the same. Though faith in oneself is the most important thing, it is inspiration that fuels faith. 

As human beings we shouldn’t just be inspired by the materialistic byproduct but the values, virtues and thought process that is behind all that success. We have infinite potential to learn from each other and remain inspired every day after today. Beautiful, isn’t it?

The only Change we must Fight!

The pitter-patter of raindrops bring back memories of making paper boats, jumping in the puddle, taking a warm bath after getting drenched in the rain and of course relishing all the bhajiyas (fritters) in the world with a hot cup of chai. But hey, we forgot the most exciting part of this season – the rainbows and the greenery. It’s almost magical, isn’t it? As beautiful as the monsoon season is, lately it has been a cause of destruction and loss!
The coming of rains is always associated with prosperity, joy, and growth. Yet, in the past few years, it has been a cause of immense worry. The 2006 Mumbai floods, the Kedarnath tragedy, and the very recent cloudburst in Dharamshala – are just few of the instances. Curious to what led to the monsoon season being a cause of panic now-a-days?
If y’all are thinking, it is US, human beings: You’ve nailed it. While man was progressing, he completely forgot and abandoned nature. We took our resources for granted and never thoroughly sat down and understand the repercussions of our actions. Though there is a brighter side to this: It is not too late!
We are no climate change experts but here are some things all of us can do to avoid the further depletion of resources and thereby, climate change; so we can go back to enjoying rains and all other seasons to their fullest! And the best part is that these changes and practices are easily possible in the comfort of our homes.
Discard the paper: Yes, y’all read that right… but not completely! (Got y’all there!) Repurpose old clothes, tablecloths to use as kitchen towels, napkins instead of using paper tissues or paper towels.
Let’s compost: Did y’all know half of our waste in the trash can be composted? There are several ways by which we can get started. We can either start at our own home or through the the city municipality compost programs that allow residents to throw fruit and vegetable scarps in the green bin for yard cuttings.
Pull the plug: Don’t worry this isn’t what y’all are thinking. But it is definitely something all of us can and must do as a step towards a better tomorrow. Therefore, we must habitually unplug electronic devices once they are used as quarter of all residential energy comes from devices on idle power mode that is- sleeping mode which costs about $19 billion in electricity bills. (Imagine the money we’d save!)
Last but not the least –
Obsess over water usage: Want to help cities save energy and become more resilient in the face of natural calamities? Pay attention to water management. Reuse, reduce, and recycle water at all times. This is the most detrimental aspect to reverse climate change.
We are sure that if we do our bit, there is nothing stopping us. The only way to ensure that we enjoy our bhajiyas in any season for the years to come is by changing our ways and thinking about the nature too!

Light up the sky!

Light up the sky,

With a blink of an eye. 

You say bye,

I say hi! 

Unparallel thoughts always lead 

To parallel roads. 

About time, 

My roads were in line. 

Sweet or sour, 

My memories glow

In a flow. 

Every hit makes me fit. 

I don’t know where to go 

Yet, I want to flow. 

I want both, the moon and the stars 

To fill mystery 

With some good history.

– By Arsalan Shaikh – G12 Science Student at Claylab

A step towards a greener life!

The uniqueness of our planet has been discussed for ages. Earth has been serving all kinds of life-forms since its very conception. It simply didn’t sustain life but in fact evolved over the years. Amongst the various life-forms, we, humans were given the most superior position in the ecosystem. We were given the onus to take care of this planet through our capabilities, mind power, and intelligence. The planet trusted us to be its guardian. The question is – are we doing the needful to live up to the responsibility endowed on us? Over the years, we have seen a steady decline of our beloved planet and yet, we haven’t really cared much about it. The supposedly, emotionally intelligent species is failing to understand the planet’s needs and requirements. Mother Nature has been kind to all of us in our tough times; now it is our chance to serve our highest responsibility and take care of our Earth.

This cannot be an event that is honoured or celebrated once a year on the 5th of June. Much like our planet, we have to be a conscious as global citizens. However, this might be a big responsibility to tackle all at once. Hence, we bring ya’ll a few things we all can do towards a better quality of life. These aren’t some complicated concepts but simple acts we can take up consciously to reduce our carbon footprint and protect our planet.
Low-flow showers: Well… do not be surprised but a ten minute shower uses up to 35 litres of water whereas, a bucket uses 50 litres… We just saved 15 litres of water by just being informed and educated about our appliances.
Cloth/Cane bags: Yes, this is an advice repeatedly given by governments and yet, we haven’t been able to change it. So, here’s the most common and helpful tip towards a greener planet.
Use containers: The easiest way to make a direct impact is via changing the way we store our food. Instead of one use plastic containers or zip-pouches, invest in Tupperware, metal or glass containers that are reusable. They are not only environment friendly but also keep perishable items fresh for a longer time.
Commute via public transport/Car-pooling: Pandemic being an exception, we must always opt for public transport or share our ride with our friends/colleagues. This directly leads to a reduction in the emission of harmful gases and usage of fuel. This is a cost effective solution as well.

Carry water bottles: Instead of purchasing mineral water every time we step out. We must make an aware decision by carrying our own bottles and refilling them through filters. The plastic used for mineral water bottles are of the cheapest quality and are non-biodegradable.
Buy less: Over the years, we have become hoarders. Where in the early stages of evolution man was always moving with absolutely no baggage; now we buy things we don’t need from the money might not have. This directly leads to an increase in the amount of eventual waste. Save time, money as well as the planet!

The list is a never-ending one. But let’s make these small changes for starters? Not just for the textbooks, but let us sincerely practice Reuse, Reduce and Recycle. Our Earth needs us now, more than ever!

5 tips to make Virtual learning easy! 

It is no secret that life has drastically changed post the pandemic. Truth be told, we all know that it will take a while for things to go back to normal. All spheres of life have been impacted by the pandemic; some being positive and the others not so much. Apart from the millions of lives lost due to the virus, it has also taken away the social aspect of human life. Human beings are primarily social animals. Though, we have accustomed ourselves to do so through a screen, inherently we aren’t designed for the same over a long period of time. One of the most affected sectors due to the pandemic is the education sector. 

Schools and colleges not only enable children to learn and grow but give them memories and opportunities of a lifetime. It is the first place where children form independent relationships and opinions. Apart from the education aspect, an educational institution plays a critical role in the overall development of a child. The pandemic has robbed away the social benefits of being a part of a school/college. But in these trying times we must remember that we ought to make the best of what we have. Of course it is a challenging situation, but hey, it is not the end of the world and we have the boon of social media. 

We can understand the plight of today’s kids and teachers who are coping with this change of learning virtually. Keeping that in mind, here are 5 tips to make virtual learning fun and easy for all children and teachers out there! 

  1. Form clubs: The idea of clubs isn’t new. Prior to the pandemic, various types of clubs like – book club, dance club, movie club and so on… were an integral part of school system. Well… this could be continued virtually as well. Children can create their own clubs and have activities for the same. This will not only act as a stress buster from all the virtual learning but also give all of them an opportunity to interact and stay in touch with their peers. 
  2. Lunch breaks: One of the most exciting times during school is the recess. During this break they love to meet and chat with their friends and classmates. This tradition could very well be continued virtually where the children should be allowed to interact and eat their food while chatting and catching up with peers. This will allow them to build relationships beyond commonality of simply being classmates. 
  3. Music: It has the power to change moods in a second. This one is a small but significant step towards making virtual learning fun. Teachers could start the day with a song. It could be a favourite song of each student on different days. This could change the atmosphere of the class and take the monotony away. 
  4. Talent shows: The most thrilling times in school were annual gatherings and talent shows. These should be continued as virtual shows as well, this will help the kid to broaden his/her horizon and showcase his/her talents. The inclusion and exhibition of extracurricular activities help children to express themselves. 
  5. Games and quizzes: Education is also about being in touch with all the latest happenings in the world. Usually, school competitions motivate kids to do so. This activity could be an effective tool in terms of providing a wholesome education without boredom. It would encourage them to go beyond books and they will look forward to attending virtual learning. 

We understand that it will never be the same, but come on; this is something, isn’t it? Desperate times call for desperate measures. We all need to just try to make the best of what we have in hand.

All of us at Claylab constantly strive to make our classes exciting. Besides academics we try to include as many activities as possible. We create an interactive session for everyone to be comfortable with the process. The most important aspect of our virtual learning and teaching sessions is our counselling sessions with our students. This helps us to identify and address any issue faced by the children. We hope to give our best and enable our children with all the tools required for the real world. 

The second wave of hope!

New Year, new challenges… that is what we thought when 2021 began. Three months into the year and we realized nothing is changing anytime soon. We are in another year for sure but the challenges remain the same. The pandemic tamed our minds last year but this year it is here to kick us in our gut. The second wave as many like to call it; was sudden, mutated and if that wasn’t enough, deadlier than before. Governments are at a loss in terms of the course of action hereon. Economies are struggling, people are being laid off, young kids are succumbing to depression; it is a choke block situation. Though the things do not look very promising, here’s a thought – all great comedies come out of tragedies.

The concept of humour arises from an incident/situation gone completely wrong. Humour is not independent of loss but is coping mechanism towards acceptance. When things do not pan out as planned every individual has two choices: 1. to mull over the situation, stress about it and wait for things to get better or 2. Understand that this is beyond my control, make fun of it and think about the next step. The second wave of pandemic puts us exactly in this premise, where we have two choices; either we give up or simply watch it as a spectator and understand that there is only this much we can control. Hence, the first step to survive the second wave of the pandemic is to understand that this situation is greater than us. So don’t forget to laugh a little louder!
All of us go through highs and lows in life. Some days are great and the others not so much; but the amazing part is – nothing is permanent. No feeling or emotion lasts forever. It is easy to give up on a situation and feel sorry for yourself but it takes immense courage to stand tall in an adverse situation and fight it. Though things may not look up right now, they soon will.

Remember: Hope is a good thing, maybe best of the things and no good thing ever dies. – Andy Dufresne (The Shawshank Redemption).
Last but not the least, let us strive to be better human beings and learn the art of gratitude. When a calamity occurs on a large scale like the Covid-19, it is often to teach humanity a thing or two. Though we are the most gifted species on the planet, there is no end to our greed and to satisfy it we disrupt nature by our actions. Times like these are here to remind us to count our blessings and be grateful for everything that we took for granted so far. Let’s stop cussing and sulking about things that we don’t have!

Lastly: ‘Let everything happen to you: beauty and terror. Just keep going. No feeling is final.’ – Rainer Maria Rilke

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