Why I packed my bag and moved to Dharampur ?
I was born in a small town called Padra near Vadodara — Gujarat. In my teenage years, I did a lot of experiments. There has been an absolute disregard for security but a strong zeal for life. I failed 3 times in my 12th Board exams, finally got admission in Diploma mechanical engineering course in a local college and then dropped out in my final year.
During that time, I worked as a sales man, started my own web development firm, worked as a content developer, started a learning platform, volunteered at different NGOs, worked with kids and a lot more.
I did all this for finding answers of some seemingly irrelevant but highly consequential questions like “is there any specific way to live a life full of creativity and fun ?” “Is there any special way to live life differently from the prevalent social system ? (as I am not best fit for that system.)”
Actually at that time I wanted to explore various paths like being a Scientist, an Artist, a Writer, an Entrepreneur , a Technologist etc. I did not want to lose anything. I did not want to fit in one fix system of modern lifestyle : birth — study — job — Marriage — retirement. I wanted to live my life with full of action, creativity and joy. The second question was “how people got stereotyped in this formatted system?” when I explored this question further, I found some facts about the so called ‘Modern culture’ and ‘Colonization’. I think ‘Modern Schooling’ is the thing which influenced our life most and transformed our lifestyle, to be available for the mass production from the factories. And even that we keep losing on our physical and emotional sensitivity.
I realized that when I used to work with kids, I was full of life. When I am with kids, I can be anything. I started spending more time with kids and did some creative projects at primary schools. I explored the field of alternative education, visited few alternative schools, and read a lot about why, what and how of education and more specifically- learning.
Finally, I ended up with some goals for my life:
1. I do not want to go for the so called ‘modern’ life. I want to live a simple, sustainable, creative and nature inspired life. Every day, I want to learn — make — feel — do new things.
2. I want to find out why — what — how humans learn? How culture transmits from one generation to second generation? How our present lifestyle has emerged? What are the dangers of modern schooling system and how we can overcome them?
After fixing these goals I started searching for place or group where I can realize them. I met lots of people and shortlisted a few names of organizations like Michle and Swati at Mozda village, open school in near Bangalore, work primary school near Dharampur. And also chose a few people I wanted to have as my mentors. Eventually, I arrived at Dharampur. Village Dharampur is situated in a tribal belt of southern Gujarat near Valsad. Here, I am living in a small tribal village at a height of 2000 feet from sea level. I am working at a primary school here. I have started my work with designing creative learning environment for kids where they can develop themselves naturally. I have also started my research on how — why — what children learn.
I am enjoying each moment because early learners I am working are full of spontaneity, zeal and love. They fill me with the love and energy. Every day, they break my frame of thinking and keep making me more creative along with them. Amongst the monotony of mundane routine of so called settled life, we get lost in our own dynamic world. I am loving it!!!!
I would like to invite you to engage yourselves in creative Un/learning experience. I wish a world full of playful creative people, who are constantly inventing new possibilities for themselves and their communities.
Here I would like to thank you for all my friends, family and mentors to understand and support me. And giving me new way of life.