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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 @claylab.education 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.’

Virtue of The Wise

Out of all the subjects that we have studied in school, each one of us surely has a personal favourite. What was yours? If at all the answer to this question is History, then you must be proud of the rich heritage of our country and how we have battled against all odds to reach where we are today. However, knowing about the journey might have opened your eyes to the atrocities we faced and the wars we fought for this independence. Despite the bloodshed, the sacrifices and the wars, we are still known as the ‘Land of non-violence’. Do you know why? The credit for this goes to the man whose peaceful and non-violent ways brought us a step closer to independence – Mahatma Gandhi. He truly practiced what he preached and laid the foundation for ‘Peace’ as a means to achieve the desired outcome.

Years after his departure, his teachings are still relevant but the essence has been lost over the years. Are we really following the footsteps of the man who revolutionized the struggle for independence? Even though the intensity is not the same as before, the world is still fighting wars – some externally and others internally. The reason for this is simply the detachment from our foundation.

So, how do we find our way back to our foundation? Firstly, by attempting to reconnect with the Virtue of the Wise i.e. Peace and here’s how we can go about it:

  1. Be empathetic: Understanding someone’s feelings without judgement can go a long way.
  2. Be accepting: Welcome people despite the differences you may have with them.
  3. Be respectful: Even in disagreement, be dignified. Remember: The only way up isn’t by putting others down.
  4. Be connected: Value people and their emotions. Love conquers all.
  5. Be united: Before anything, remind yourself that we all are human beings and humanity is our primary religion and duty.

These might sound super idealistic but these are things we have been taught since we were in kindergarten and it is time that we follow through our basic virtues to not just ensure peace but also a more loving, tolerant and hopeful tomorrow. Because at the end of the day, all we want is a peaceful sleep with nothing to worry about!

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

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.

Inspiration

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!

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

Fatherhood

A good father is one of the most unsung, unappreciated, unnoticed, and yet one of the most valuable assets in our society.                                                                                                         – Billy Graham

As human beings, we are habitual to defining things by certain criteria. For instance, fatherhood is always associated with certain duties or moments such as – teaching a child to ride a bike or helping a toddler walk. Our cliché understanding of relationships has been a major obstacle in experiencing them to their fullest. Similarly, our understanding of fatherhood must not be as to what qualities make a good father rather – ‘Who is a father?’ Is this a title that is imperatively just biological or does it transcend all the societal norms that define this relationship?

Theoretically speaking, we assume that our biological male parent would be fulfilling the duties of what entails fatherhood. But isn’t this a limited understanding of a relationship that is so vast and bountiful? Innumerable tales through history have defined fatherhood beyond biology. If we look around, this role has been fulfilled for eons by single mothers, elder siblings, grandparents, a favourite relative, or just a neighbour who made us feel safe and protected consistently, throughout our lives. This does not in any way mean that anyone can be a father but it does take someone extraordinary to fulfill the duties of fatherhood.

Like all roles, being a father is not about being perfect or right. It is more about providing a safe space, showing up, and putting the welfare of the child first. As warm and fuzzy as fatherhood is, it is equally challenging, exhausting, and demanding. When we celebrate an entire day dedicated to this relationship every year on the third Sunday of June, it goes beyond simply celebrating fathers. It is to celebrate every single person who has stepped up and embraced the perks and duties of fatherhood irrespective of a biological angle. A day isn’t enough to celebrate the sacrifice and unconditional dedication of this role. Yet, it is a reminder that fatherhood is not just about a role or a title but a feeling and an emotion that has the power to shape or break a person. It is like a shield that protects you from the worst or like a cup of hot coffee on a rainy day. Fatherhood is all things that make a child feel comfortable and strong enough to be anything that they want to be.

It is time we understand that no relationship can be limited to or be defined by biology. Biology most certainly makes things easy to understand but the ground rules remain the same. We as a society must stop stereotyping roles to evolve in the truest sense. Be it any relationship we must be equally accepting and loving to receive the same. As for fatherhood, E.E. Cummings has aptly described this in his poem – My Father moved through dooms of Love. Here’s an excerpt from this wonderful poem that defines all that fatherhood stands for:

‘And nothing quite so least as truth

— I say though hate were why men breathe —

Because my Father lived his soul

Love is the whole and more than all.’

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