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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.

Where fountains sneeze and watches snore

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I just love my Sunday mornings, especially the ones when I have my Poetry Sundays, where I meet about a dozen kids between the age group eight to 14 at “Just Book clc” at Hiranandani Meadows, Thane every fortnight.

These Poetry Sundays are special because they are such fun! There is so much learning and there is a lot of joy! Here the children learn to express their feelings, thoughts and ideas through the medium of poetry and then gain the confidence to share these ideas and emotions when they read out their poems to others.

This week we were looking at personification as a tool to enhance our poems. As part of the exercises, we got the kids to match nouns with words that were randomly picked from a box. The results were hilarious and laughter filled the library as children looked at combinations like waves sleeping and the sun crying.

What was amazing is that not one of the kids questioned how clocks could snore or fountains would sneeze. Instead the conversations went something like this.

Yash: How and why will dragons run?

Shrushti: Maybe they are baby dragons and they are running to the edge of the cliff in a race and they will go whoooosh off the edge and fly.

Sunil: What could make the sun stand in one place?

Srikant: Because it was noon and he had already reached the top of the sky. He was tired and wanted to rest?

Shrushti: Okay, then why would the sun cry?

Janice: Because he was eclipsed

And thus did mini stories emerge about how the clock was so tired of waking up the child in the morning, that it too went back to sleep and snored and how it was so cold that the chilled water made the fountain sneeze.

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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.

Out of the mouths of babes

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I love the summer holidays! I absolutely love them! This is the time when I have my holiday camps for the kids. Every year the kids amaze me! Every year I feel that there is still so much we can do for our kids who have the most amazing minds. There has been so much potential just waiting to be used.

This year, the theme for our Chutti Power Summer fun was “Expressions”. This was especially for kids between the ages of 5 to 11. We encouraged the kids to express themselves through art, dance, drama and creative writing.

Yesterday, we were creating characters in our creative writing session.

I introduced the children to the words “protagonist” and “antagonist”. Before telling them what it meant, I asked them what they thought it meant. The answers were varied.

“It means a person who eats a lot of protein!” Said a little 5 year old.

“I think it means someone who is powerful, like Iron Man,” said another.

“I think it sounds like a mixture of a protractor and an injection” said a third.

It was amazing how they all seemed to link the “P” in the spelling of protagonist to something that started with a “P” – protein, power, protractor.

After explaining who a protagonist is, I asked them to think of someone they would like to create as a protagonist in their story.

The questions were immediate. “Does it have to be a human being?” “Can it be an alien?” “Can it be a monster?” “Can it be an animal?” “Can it be an imaginary creature?”

But the best question was from a little boy named Armesh. He asked, “Don’t you think we should create the antagonist first?”

“Why?” I asked him.

“Because the antagonist causes the problem and the protagonist supplies the solution. The antagonist is the fever and the protagonist is the medicine, the Crocin.”

Oh how I love my summer camps!