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editorjpn / August 01, 2018 Posted by :

A best friend is someone who makes you laugh… even when you think you will never smile again.

There are many people who come into your life but only a special few make a place in your heart. They leave their imprints deep within you and make memories that last forever. They create special moments with you and paradoxically make fun of you like no one else. They are your one-point source for honest opinions and advice… even when you don’t ask for it! Unfortunately, you still can’t imagine life without them. They are ‘God’s gift that annoys you ad infinitum’ aka best friends. Best friends are the ones closest to you. They know every single thing about you whether it’s bad, good or silly. They always support you and are the most amazing cheerleaders that you can ever find. The best part is that they are completely FREE! I’m joking, they are the most valuable people you could ever find in your life. Just their presence can light up your day.



I feel best friends are like yarn: together they create the warmest space and even when they are far apart, they are still connected to you. It isn’t about how well off the person is or how good they look, it’s about the connection you make with them after spending time together. It is about how they make you feel… happy, relevant, strong and enough for this disheartening world. Their love and support is what gets you through the hardest times in your life. They are your favourite “Hello” and your hardest “Goodbye”! They are a part of you and the chosen family you thank God for every single day. There isn’t a single exchange that goes by without an extraordinary memory being made. From all the inside jokes to all the madness, they make life slightly more bearable. And this isn’t a phase-only experienced in school, it is one thing that will last your entire life. No matter what age you are at, you always have that one person you share EVERY SINGLE thing with. Best friends don’t have a perfect age, time or place; they are always there, thankfully.

Many a time, while conversing with my best friend, I realise that we sound completely crazy. We talk about everything and nothing. We start with a simple topic and end up talking about something completely different. But there is something that always happens, we lose track of time and solve all our problems. There is no end to our conversations. None of us stop to think about topics, it just flows out effortlessly and that is the best thing in the entire world.

Lastly, I would like to say that no matter what happens, keep such people close to you. They are like your personal sounding board… one that listens, gives advice if required and stops you from doing things you will regret. Not only do you need them, they too need you. We often don’t realise their value until we lose them. They are the ones who celebrate when you are at your best and are still there with you during your worst times. They are the treasures of life; NEVER EVER LET THEM GO…


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editorjpn / April 03, 2024

The Power of Learning with Intent: A Guide to Purposeful Education

In a world brimming with information, the art of learning has evolved beyond the mere acquisition of facts. Learning with intent, a deliberate approach to education emphasises quality over quantity, depth over breadth, and purpose over passive absorption. It’s about cultivating a mindset that transforms knowledge into meaningful action and empowers individuals to navigate the complexities of the modern age effectively.

At its core, learning with intent involves setting clear objectives and actively engaging with the subject matter. Whether exploring a new language, delving into scientific principles, or honing a creative skill, intentionality infuses each learning endeavour with purpose and direction. As Albert Einstein aptly said, "The only source of knowledge is experience." This quote amplifies the importance of active participation and hands-on learning, highlighting that true understanding arises from deliberate engagement with the material.

Furthermore, engaging actively with the material is paramount. Embrace challenges and embrace mistakes as opportunities for growth. This proactive approach not only deepens your understanding but also cultivates critical thinking and problem-solving skills essential for success in any field.

Moreover, learning with intent emphasises relevance and applicability. Seek out opportunities to apply newfound knowledge in real-world scenarios, bridging the gap between theory and practice. By contextualising learning within your personal or professional sphere, you enhance its significance and utility, making it more likely to stick.

In conclusion, learning with intent is a transformative approach that transcends traditional notions of education. By setting clear objectives, engaging actively, prioritising relevance, and fostering a growth mindset, individuals can harness the full potential of learning to achieve their goals and thrive in an ever-changing world. So, embark on your learning journey with purpose, and let each lesson propel you towards a brighter, more fulfilling future.

By Sweta Pradeep Rao

Senior English Educator

Ekya School JP Nagar

editorjpn / April 02, 2024

Gadget-free Summer Break

With summer vacation around, I urge parents to explore various ways to facilitate children to make healthy choices during their vacation time.

Last week, when we asked our Early Years to visualise their characters and create a story, most of them came up with stories about ghosts and monsters attacking others.  When we had conversations about what gave them this idea, we understood that these story ideas emanated from their online games. While gaming per se develops specific skills and requires focus, it also stifles the imagination of young children. Since it is visually appealing, children tend to remember those images in their heads all the time.

I often see parents providing very young children (1 year to 3 year olds)  with gadgets as the means to keep children engaged and entertained. I see children watching phones in the waiting areas of clinics, hospitals, school lobbies and banks.

This brings us to a fundamental question “ Should children be engaged by parents all the time?” Not necessarily. What is likely to happen if children were not handed over gadgets at the waiting lounges? What would they do? Some of them may cry, some may throw a loud tantrum, and some may crib. If parents show resilience and allow children to settle down themselves, they will soon find ways to keep themselves engaged. Likewise, during summer vacation. What if this is a “no gadget” vacation and parents do not take up the responsibility to engage their children? What would children do? How can parents show resilience here and facilitate children to make healthy choices? I leave the readers with this thought for this summer vacation.

Mathangi R,

Head of School,

Ekya NICE Road.

editorjpn / April 02, 2024

The Eye of the Storm

In the hushed embrace of an Indian evening, our journey began, a symphony of anticipation orchestrated by the hum of jet engines and the flutter of boarding passes. The promise of adventure beckoned from distant shores as we boarded our flight bound for the United Kingdom, our hearts aflutter with dreams of far-off lands and newfound horizons. But as we soared through the velvet sky, a foreboding shadow loomed on the horizon, a harbinger of the chaos that was soon to unfold. In the blink of an eye, the tranquil serenity of our airborne sanctuary was shattered by a deafening crack, a burst of purple lightning that danced across the heavens with an otherworldly fervour. The air crackled with electricity as the plane shuddered beneath the force of the storm, its metal frame quivering in defiance against the tempestuous onslaught. And then, in a heart-stopping moment of sheer terror, the heavens unleashed their fury upon us, casting our fragile vessel into a maelstrom of chaos and uncertainty. The sky darkened to a shade of ominous charcoal as the winds howled with a primal ferocity, tearing at the wings of our faltering craft with savage intent. The cabin was awash with panicked cries and frantic prayers as we clung to our seats with white-knuckled desperation, each passing moment stretching into eternity.

And then, as if mocking our feeble attempts at control, the plane tilted almost 180 degrees, its nose plummeting towards the earth with a sickening lurch. Time seemed to stand still as we hurtled towards the ground, our fate hanging in the balance as the world spun wildly out of control. But just when all hope seemed lost, a glimmer of salvation emerged from the chaos, a beacon of light amidst the encroaching darkness. With a mighty roar, the engines surged to life once more, their thunderous symphony drowning out the cacophony of the storm as we clawed our way back from the brink of oblivion. As the storm clouds parted and the sun cast its golden rays upon the horizon, we emerged battered but unbroken, our spirits buoyed by the triumph of the human spirit in the face of adversity. And though our journey had been fraught with peril and uncertainty, we emerged from the crucible of the skies stronger and more resilient than ever before. For in the crucible of adversity, we discovered the true measure of our strength, our courage, and our unwavering determination to defy the odds and chart our course through the tempestuous seas of life. As we touched down on solid ground once more, I couldn't help but marvel at the beauty of the world around us, a testament to the indomitable spirit of the human soul.

Arjun Narasimhan Kuppuswamy

Grade 8C

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The ‘YES’ behind each ‘NO’ – Ms. Mathangi Rajasekaran, Teacher At Ekya School JP Nagar

How often have you received a NO for one or more of these questions or requests? Several times? What do we start feeling when the ‘door’ of ‘No’ is closed on us? Our feelings open up -- embarrassment, anger, sadness, irritation..! And that’s quite natural. And why do we feel what we do? Some of our needs are not met because of the NO. Let us look at all the four examples mentioned above.
  1. “Varun, May I skip that family function?” from wife to husband. For Varun’s wife, it was perhaps her need to rest.
  2. “Madam, May I use the washroom now?” from student to teacher. For the student, the need is to answer nature’s call.
  3. “Could I borrow the pencil from you?” from one student to the other. For this student, it was the need to finish his written work.
  4. “I need a week’s leave in December,” from one employee to the employer. The employee perhaps needed a holiday with the family or had to attend a religious ceremony.
Varun’s wife, the two students and the employee wanted to meet their own needs through a request to the other person. But they heard a NO. When their needs were not met, they might have felt one or more of the following emotions: Embarrassment, anger, sadness, irritation!! What next, then? How can these emotions be managed? How can the underlying needs be met? Before answers to these questions are sought, let’s pause and ask the following questions:
  1. What was Varun’s ‘need’ to say a  ‘No’ to his wife skipping the family function?
  2. What was the teacher’s need to have the student in the class rather than send her to the washroom?
  3. What was the student’s need to refuse to lend the pencil?
  4. What was the employer’s need to refuse the employee’s request for leave?
While they said ‘No’ to the requests, they said ‘Yes’ to something else. They said ‘Yes’ to their own needs.
  1. Varun probably wanted his wife to be with him; his need was perhaps for her company.
  2. The teacher probably wanted the student not to miss the class; her need was the student’s presence and hence the resultant learning.
  3. The student probably wanted to be sure the pencil did not get lost; his/her need was the  safety of the pencil
  4. The employer’s need was perhaps project completion before a deadline.
When you are able to think through the ‘Yes’ behind the ‘No’, you can work your way through situations. So what’s next... after identifying the ‘Yes’ behind the ‘No’?  What about our needs? What about our emotions?
For that, you need to wait for the sequel to this blog! Till then, keep journal-ing the “Yeses’ behind the ‘Nos’ you hear. Mathangi R Teacher Ekya J P Nagar. Credits: Subha Parthasarathy, Magichive, JP Nagar, for her course on ‘Non-violent Communication’ which opened up this perspective for me.

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“The Things Kids Say” – by Ms. Kavitha Mandana, Ekya Learning Centre

The best part about book readings at schools is the surprise element. No two readings are ever the same, and kids invariably pick up on things that we adults think of as totally unimportant. For an ‘Expert Talk’ a few weeks back, I was roped in to address Grade 3 (CMR NPS) on writing. I picked a short story I’d written for a textbook, about a puppy and a panther cub becoming momentary friends. And my picture book ‘A Pair of Twins’ (Karadi Tales). To give the children some background about how stories get written, I told them about growing up with dogs, which is why dogs somehow get into many of my stories. I told them that my first story for kids, “Bando, the Dog who led a Double Life” was about a lovable Labrador, who was a combination of all the dogs I’d loved as a kid. The point I was trying to make was how much our own lives influence our stories. In doing so, I told them about growing up in the hills, where panthers roamed and we had to be particularly careful about our dogs, who often got picked up by the cats. And it was all those memories that had inspired my story. What’s most interesting during a reading is how the story triggers a whole lot of conversations midway. In many ways, this is the best compliment to a writer… it means the kids are soaking in the story, enjoying it and feel completely free and confident to talk about what’s happening as we read along. The conversations ranged from wild cats they had seen on safaris, to dogs the kids owned or liked. After the story, I fielded questions about writing. “I want to write about my dreams, so is that okay?” I was asked. I reassured this very serious child that it was. Others asked me about stories they’d written or wanted to write. One child grumbled that she could start a story but struggled when trying to end it! That sounded like a problem I sometimes face, even now. I told the kids to leave that story aside for a day, and come back to it later. That works for me, but not all the kids looked convinced! But much later, when the kids were trooping out, one worried child  cornered me and asked, “But what about your parents?” I was flummoxed, wondering what he meant. “Are they still living in that place where the Panthers roam? Will they be okay if they’re alone in such a place?” he added. I hadn’t expected this! I had to convince him that they were fine, and far from where the big cats lived, before the worry lines on his forehead relaxed and he joined his friends! A couple of years back, while launching my young adult book ‘Trapped’, I visited schools. The book has a bunch of kids who turn their teen angst into verse and then set that to music, which they perform as the school band. So I would turn the reading session into a writers’ workshop, and get the kids to write on a wall, graffiti style, about what made them feel ‘trapped’ in the course of their lives. The interesting ideas could be turned into rap or verse. Sessions like these brought out their hopes, worries, some disturbing stories of bullying, but the one I remember vividly was one girl writing about being ‘Trapped by Gobi Masala’! It got a laugh out of the others in the audience. But when I asked her what she meant, her answer didn’t seem so funny. Apparently, every single day, the lunch packed for her was gobi masala – and she never could gather up the courage to ask for a change. It turned out that both her parents work, so it was the maid who packed her lunch and this girl was too scared to ask for a change or complain about the maid to the parents. That was disturbing, somehow. But it started a conversation amongst her peers...on how to tackle this unique problem. I guess that’s what books do. They help us make sense of our own lives. And they start important conversations.   
Kavitha Mandana As the Language and Reading Coordinator at Ekya, Ms. Kavitha aims to enliven the library, making it more inviting, link its resources more integrally into the every-day curriculum and use it to help our students become independent learners. A self-confessed bibliophile, Ms. Kavitha holds a graduate degree in English Literature from Coimbatore. Having written and illustrated for Deccan Herald and its supplement for over 20 years, Ms. Kavitha has also penned stories across genres – fiction and non-fiction, catering to a readership between six-year-olds to young adults. Her books have been published by Penguin/Puffin, Karadi Tales, Rupa and Pratham Books, and her short stories anthologized in many collections and English readers. Ms. Kavitha believes that the Indian education system is limiting as it curbs children rather than setting their minds free – emphasizing on rote-learning than the joys of exploration. Prior to joining Ekya, she worked full time with a tech-publisher, editing articles. She parents a high-maintenance Labrador and is fascinated by art and history.

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