Category Archives: Events

Shiksha Power Creative Writing Programmes

SP Poetry Workshop Group Photo

When I used to write ads, working as a copywriter for India’s oldest advertising agency and even when I wrote my book, I always felt that I could have done with technical training in writing. While the west is choc-a-bloc with writing courses offered by individuals, institutes and universities, India is sorely lacking in them. Most established English writers in the country who have had any training in writing, seem to be trained in the west.

As with everything Shiksha Power aims to do, to fill gaps in education is a major goal. From teaching people how to communicate for growth in the corporate, to teaching children to express themselves effectively, we try to teach people things that will make their life more fulfilling and sometimes, even easier. When a lot of people started asking us to teach them to write, we came up our Creative Writing Programmes.

Creative writing is a vast area of expertise. It takes years and years for people to hone their talent and create their masterpiece. Yet, it is not a skill that is meant only for a few gifted ones. The advertising industry taught me that writing, like management skills, physical skills, can indeed be taught and sharpened. When I met Sunita and saw the way she taught kids to be natural at expressing themselves through the written word, through poems, stories and essays, we thought, why can’t we bring this to adults?

Our first venture into this area was our extremely restorative Residential Creative Writing Power Camp at Igatpuri (Check the photos here). The sun, mountains, chilly mornings, starlit skies and a lot of writing even by people who had never written earlier made sure we were going to continue with our creative writing programmes for adults as well as children.

When a lot of people who could not attend the residential camp asked us to have something in the city, we came up with the One Day Poetry Writing Workshop. We held the workshop in V.G. Vaze College, Mulund, Mumbai on July 7. Many college students and professionals participated in the workshop enthusiastically. It helped them learn the tricks of poetry writing and gain confidence as well.

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We plan to have more such programmes in the future. If you want to organise one for your college/institution, please let us know. We also have a twelve session Poetry Workshop Pogramme called Poetry Sundays for 10 to 14 year kids at JustBooks Library at Hiranandani Meadows, Thane.

Ice Master – Short Story (Creative Writing Camp, May 2013)

This is a story written during The Residential Creative Writing Power Camp that was held at Igatpuri between the 24th and 26th of May, 2013. Hope you like it.

A quick note. Barf (pronounced to rhyme like Turf or Surf and not as Scarf) in Hindi means Ice.

It was only those few seconds when they unloaded him from his personal fridge to move him into the ice-cream godown that had left half his left ear looking eaten up. And he made no qualms showing his displeasure! He squinted his black button eyes in a way that made the trolley workers look at each other and wonder whether they were dealing with a cute snowman or an abominable one.

All of four feet and three fat globes of snow, including the smallest one on top for his head, Barf Master, as the new kids in Mumbai called him, was the least favourite of his master, back in the more comfortable climes of Greenland. A comfortable minus four degrees on warmer days and nippier on cooler ones, Mumbai in May was not Greenland at all! All he had got for coming here was a name he didn’t like, a melted ear and probably a heat boil on his bum.

His master, although he didn’t quite like him, had been a rich spoilt brat. He had made about a hundred snowmen last year and Barf Master was one of the earlier ones. While the newer snowmen had custom made noses and human looking eyes complete with the white of the eye and irises in various hues and colours, Barf Master was the old school kinds. Cucumber nose, old coat button eyes and three ping-pong balls for buttons on his trunk. When his master’s father’s company had decided to send snowmen for children in hotter climates to play with, Barf Master had been one of the first ones to be given away.

The children in Mumbai had loved him! Scrawny, dirty and so dark, Barf Master had never seen children like these! He had cringed the first time they came to look at him and when the naughty ones had tried to touch him. He still cringed each time. He now lived in an old and huge refrigerator that had once been used as an ice-cream godown. It was situated in the middle of a huge slum complex and the children swarmed from all over it to look at Barf Master. They had seen so much snow for the first time in their lives!

>May and June had turned out to be when the most number of kids visited him. While he cribbed and complained and cringed, he reveled in the attention he was getting. He didn’t like the kids touching him and leaving brown finger stains on his once spotless white body, but he loved the “Ah!”s and “Ooh!”s he inspired. That is why when July and August saw less of them because rains had flooded the storehouse in which the refrigerator was, Barf Master had been almost heartbroken. So imagine his relief when the kids started coming back to see him in September! He had thought, he would never see them again! Barf Master had smiled from ear to melted ear when they came to meet him and he hadn’t even cringed when a little kid had tried to lick him.

All of this changed in October. October in Mumbai was May all over again. But this time, apparently it was worse. Fewer and fewer kids had come to see Barf Master. One day when only two kids had turned up, Barf Master heard them talking about it being so hot outside that kids had been falling sick, some were even in the hospital. This was just horrendous! Barf master remembered how painful it was to lose part of his ear. He could only imagine how it would be for the poor kids. But what could he do for them?

>As night fell, he came up with a plan. He had already made friends with all the cool air in the refrigerator. He knew the cool air was just the hot air from outside that was better off. All he had to do was to tell the cool air to tell the hot air to cool off! And he did just that. While he couldn’t move from where he was, he directed all the cool air in his huge refrigerator to go off from the vents and cracks, outside, and to let the hot air in instead. While the hot air cooled in the refrigerator, he spoke to it and asked it to do the same! And boy, did that work! While it made him sweat and melt a little everyday, the kids started getting better. More of them came to see him everyday. October was getting worse, but the kids were getting better.

Till one day when the hot air came in and for some reason Barf Master started sweating and melting a little more than usual. It was a little after noon and the watchman had gone for lunch. That is when these bunch of kids walked in. There were four of them and one of them looked very sick. For all the dark she was, she looked pale. Tiny, frail thing, she couldn’t have been more than 5 years old. Listening to their talk, Barf Master came to know that she couldn’t bear the heat outside. So, they had gotten her to Barf Master’s fridge, to sit till the evening. Barf Master was sweating and melting quite a lot. He noticed the kids had left the door open. Hot air blanketed him. He could feel his cucumber nose slipping from his face.

The kids stayed there till the watchman came and shooed them away. It was almost dusk. The air was still warm and for Barf Master it was like he was in a volcano. He had melted to half of what he was. He kept sending out cool air while hot air came back in. He knew he wasn’t going to last for long, but he had to send the cool air for the kids. He couldn’t even remember what it was like at Greenland anymore, even when he tried hard.

The next day the kids came to see Barf Master in the morning, there was nothing but a pool of water, some ping-pong balls, buttons and a cucumber. They complained to the watchman who came in and saw that there was a crack in the back wall of the refrigerator. It let outside air in. And on a day when there was no electricity in the entire city, what else could happen to a useless snowman but this, he pointed to the dirty pool of water and asked the kids.

-Anish Vyavahare

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Isabel (Poem)

This is a poem from Shiksha Power’s poetry competition held in various schools in Thane. The poem is written by Sakshi Udavant, a class sixth student from the D.A.V Public School, Thane. The topic was The Bicycle Race. Hope you enjoy it.

Once there was a bicycle race
It started off with a fast pace

First was Isabel
But in between she fell

She fell in the dirt
And got badly hurt

She called her mother
To care, there was no one other

Unlucky was her ride,
So Isabel finally died

The Creative Writing Residential Power Camp by Shiksha Power

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We share our happiness, sorrows, experiences, memories… We tell stories… We express! We talk, we listen, we watch, we see, we read and we write.

Communication is the basis of all our relationships. It is the one thing that makes us who we are. We love to tell stories, and share our experiences and thoughts. But there are some who love to write them. If you are one of them, then come join us at The Creative Writing Residential Power Camp, where we will explore various ways in which you can learn to express yourself better as well as hone the craft of writing.

If you always wanted to learn to write stories and poems and never knew how to, then this camp is exactly for you. And why do it in a boring classroom when you can do it at a nice place away from the city?

The workshop is open for everyone above the age of 16 years. The primary medium of instruction will be English with a sprinkling of Hindi and Marathi.

The course will be conducted by Sunita Saldhana, a teacher and trainer for over 30 years. She has been teaching creative writing and English conversation to kids and adults both. She will be assisted by Anish Vyavahare, a published writer, former copywriter and founder of Poetry Tuesdays, a social property running for almost two years.

The cost for the course will include stay for the duration of the course, and it shall include all meals during the course of stay. The place we will be staying at includes comfortable accommodation on a sharing basis. The sessions will be conducted in air-conditioned conference facilities as well as outdoor areas.

What will you learn?
1. Learning to write stories
2. Building characters
3. Writing dialogues
4. Plot devices
5. Writing poems

When: 24 May, 2013 (Friday) to 26 May, 2013 (Sunday)

Where: Igatpuri, Nasik

How to register: Call us on 80808 25785 or mail us at ask@shikshapower.com to book your seat. Bookings will be confirmed on payment of the course fees.