Bhaav Yatra update: Kohlapur to Kundapur
A school without walls
Have you heard of a school without walls? A school where kids decide what they want to study and create their own learning projects? We reach such a school amidst hills and natural beauty of sindhudurg area. We are given a tour of the school by a 10 year old and she surprises us by her explanations on farming, engineering, cooking, construction and many more experiential labs that they have. Upon inquiring what inspired the couple to take this leap of faith? The answer was – their daughter. They wanted to give their daughter a holistic upbringing and that was possible only at School without Walls. For realising this dream they have converted their 150 years old family home to this school. Kids come and stay with them and learn through different projects they take up. Their kids have graduated and joined large multinationals or further education programs like IIT and symbiosis. However, Sachin father to all these kids is not happy with the progress diverted in direction of more urbanisation. The ideology they wish to inculcate is sustainable living and learning within the rural areas and maintaining environment. They also make and sell organic products. This is one part of what they do. The other deeper part is the connect they have built with local community and the work they do to integrate with farmers around them. They have been a catalyst in creating change in the ways of farming. One entire village has moved into organic farming and understanding the eco-friendly ways of living. They also introduced us to their friend who comes from a tribal community and has created a museum at home that showcases the long forgotten methods of tribal living. It was interesting to note that tribal God is nature and they pray in front of a leaf and bronze vessel filled with water covered with a green cloth and decorated with peacock feather. They say all this signifies presence of nature. He showed us handmade musical instruments that they still play during their cultural functions. To revive their lost heritage both his sons have left job in the city and have decided to be with the family. This one place brought a lot of clarity about community and sustainable living.
We came across a teacher turned organic farmer Anand Mayekar. We had no plans or even a reference to meet him but somehow we landed up in his farm and found that we were in front of a farmer who is a writer, poet and a deeply spiritual person. In every moment with him we were connected with nature. Sitting under a mango tree we ate lots of mangoes. The moment a mango would fall off the tree Anandji will say if you do not eat this one the tree will be disappointed! He then invited us for dinner and stay at the farm. We accepted it humbly and we had dinner under a bright full moon in the farm and slept in the open, praying that no mango will fall while we were asleep! We had a heart to heart conversation with him and as he talked about his job as a teacher and his shift to becoming a farmer and staying on his own farm we immediately related to the transition he has gone through in his life. The realisation in that moment was all of us are heading towards the same divine through different routes we take.
That day was my driving test! I drove almost 300 kms. Through winding Ghats and forest area to reach a beautiful town Kundapur. We were hosted by a friend’s friend Dinesh Kamat who is a businessman by habit but at the core of his being you can see genuine service attitude. More importantly we came to know that this village operates as a one big community. So if there’s a marriage in some family they just inform others and every one volunteers to make sure the festivities are taken care of. This village has an ancient lake that was filled with algae and a lot of impurities. The villagers took it upon themselves to clean it up and 5000 people gathered and did the job. No help taken from government, not a rupee used as they came with cleaning material from home. In that brief stop we were witnessing virtues in community living. Not to mention we were fed with love and well rested before we headed out.
Posted by Sheetal Vaidya on Jun 23, 2014 | permalink
Harsh wrote ...
Wow Sheetal Ben. :) Thanks for sharing. :)
nisha wrote ...
great to read about Sachin-bhai and Kamat-bhai. look forward to more stories.
vipul shaha wrote ...
school without walls is really a 'down-to-earth' experiment in gandhian ideals of nai talim education...thanks for sharing this!