Down the Memory Lane
It has been over eight years since I graduated from Prakriya. This isn't an insignificant period of time (especially when you're 23), and several memories of school life now lurk in the fog of my memory. That said, several images of Prakriya continue to hit me with great clarity - it occasionally seems like just yesterday my biggest fear in the world was the 10th grade board exam. Looking back, it would be fair to say Prakriya provided me a supportive nurturing ground to think analytically, rather rare in the 'learn-by-rote' system all too prevalent in Indian education today, and took many of my concerns - read tantrums - quite seriously. Not everything was perfect (though I'd be hard-pressed to name a school capable of ticking that box), but the relative freedom of Prakriya followed by the regimented life of Christ Junior College certainly provided me a unique opportunity to move ahead; the ability to think critically coupled with the ability to navigate the 'system'. I have little to complain about.
What memories remain of my seven-year sojourn in school? The earliest include 'circle time' discussions, yoga classes and - oddly enough digging in the sand to form small canals at Prakriya's first 'campus', a small, cute house in Koramangala. Moving on to the bigger (and current) campus, I quite clearly remember Thursday's nature walks down to the lake, always with me hoping (rather futilely) that we would walk up to the nearby railway line in time to watch the morning train from Salem pass by. Also easy to remember are many outdoor activities before most of the current buildings came up; traipsing around to build small huts in corners of the campus; planting trees that've hopefully grown by now; sports days (which, being extremely lazy, I hated); school plays in the amphitheatre; and ‘garba’ nights. Moving into the classroom, I remember numerous 'trick' questions in geography class, arguing about silly things in English and history class (though I must admit the latter was taught brilliantly in 9th and 10th; 1 still retain a keen interest in contemporary Indian history), and dreading language classes because I never used to do well in either Hindi or Kannada. Last, but not least, several field trips; from one ages ago to a beautiful small stream near Bangalore to a leech-ridden trek in the Western Ghats in my final year. Come to think of it, the fog of my Prakriya memories lifts far quicker than I thought.
Would I like to be a primary or secondary school student again? Probably not, I have no desire to repeat all the exams those students will have to take in their passage to a Master's degree. But would I like to swap my primary and secondary school experience for a different one? Almost definitely not.