Patna.6-10 January: The New Year saw the entire north India reeling under the intense cold waves, with the temperature fluctuating between 3-16 degrees Celsius. In the meantime, 25 Teachers from Pushp Niketan school Dhampur, Western U.P congregated at Tarumitra for a workshop on Art and Environment.
The workshop consisted of creative experiments of a fusion of art and education. The group worked on the mediums of soil, deadwood, waste materials; each of the teachers expressing their thoughts into remarkable visuals and installations.
Conceived by a widely discussed young artist Blaise Joseph the guiding team consisted of Ms Sugandha Upasani from Pune and Sheetal from Bangalore. Sugandha recalled, “The teachers were very co-operative, and participated with full involvement. They made songs, rhymes, stories. There were paintings and art installations! They enjoyed doing all these. I loved the Cosmic Walk organized by Ms Margaret through the Panchvati part of the Tarumitra Bio-reserve! It transported me to the world of mysteries. The story will always remain with me.”
Pushp Niketan School “Abode of flowers” is located in a semi urban town of Dhampur in the Dhampur Sugar Mills campus in Bijnor district of Uttar Pradesh State in India. It is visualized to be a world class model for progressive education with child centric education philosophy, pedagogies and processes. Here, the school is established a non hierarchical, alternative school system promoting excellence in learning and sound values in a safe, supporting and stimulating environment. Volunteers from other countries have come to add their mite to the Internationality of the school atmosphere. Six years old, the School is ably coordinated by Rtd. Major Rajesh Ranjit and his charming danseuse wife Nisha.
Among the teachers there was a whole pool of talents. Pushpendra Chauhan with his deep sonorous vocals, Vineet with his drum, Gautam with his artistic mastermind brought up so much of joy to the group. Rahul co-ordinated the event.
One of the participants recollected that the best part of the workshop was the daily gatherings around bonfires under the sunshade outside Uttarayan building at Tarumitra. The teachers shared their stories among themselves spiced with some good quality singing led by the teachers. One evening, a student of classical singing, Ms Sugandha created magic with a mellowed rendition of Raag Bihag.
Considered a super chef, Ms Margaret Molomoo delighted the gathering with her impromptu herbal soups right on the bonfires! She had a way of creating a scintillating fare with a wide array of medicinal herbs collected from the bio-reserve!
Green architect, Fr. Joe Parekattil S.J who was present for the entire camp commented positively on the creative contents of the workshop.
“We were forest dwellers for a week” said one of the teachers as she was leaving the camp, “my knapsack is bigger because I carry lot more great memories!”