Saturday Stories | Reva Dandage
With great humility, Reva Dandage began the Saturday Stories session with an introduction that said ‘An above average student from a middle class family’
Most students who have been through the Indian education system would relate deeply to what she had to share. The aspirations, the pressure for grades, the comparison with peers.
As a Straight A student all through school, Reva shared how she was always questioning the purpose of it all. As she grew up, she would also question if people were happy. If they were happy with what they were doing, had formal education contributed towards it through a structured degree? Most often, it wasn’t.
And so, Reva ended up failing all her subjects in the 12th grade – what some of her friends considered to be as tragic as a ‘death in the family’. She went through a phase rebelling against the system, and often faced the consequence of being labeled by society.
But the beauty is that she didn’t give up her quest for finding her true calling and satisfaction. She subsequently followed her dreams in Design and narrated an incident when she traveled all the way from Baroda to Mumbai to simply look at the way a store window was being decorated. The quest then took her to alternative education in the US and she realized this is what she would like to work on. To allow people to design their own curriculum and figure out what they want to do with their lives.
Her journey took her to a few individuals who were doing this in an extremely informal and subtle manner. Her intention was to take this to younger students, who were at critical junctures in their lives. And that is how the Swaraj University came about. ‘A space’ as she says for Khojis to come together and find their true calling, or what brings them alive.
Here is a short video of her sharing her journey on August 26, 2012 at the Moved By Love Terrace, Gandhi Ashram. More details about the event and on Reva can be found here.