Creativity Adda @Mukerjee Nagar, Delhi June 2018 Newsletter

Manish Jain
Creativity Adda Newsletters
16 min readJul 29, 2018


Highlight Of the month

JANWAAR CASTLE LEARNING TRIP!! Have you ever ridden a skateboard in the pouring rain on the edge of a tiger reserve in Madhya Pradesh (MP)? From June 26th-July 1st, the team of Creativity Adda took 15 of our free learners to Janwaar Castle, a project led by Ulrike Reinhard, which introduces skateboarding as a means to bridge the gap between tribal and local in a rural village of MP. An integral part of the five-day trip was to help our students develop their passion of skateboarding by practicing on the beautiful skate park made by Janwaar Castle and getting lessons from their professional young skaters. However, another goal of the trip was to also facilitate inter-skill exchanges between the urban and rural youth, and to give our boys a chance to explore nature while learning jungle survival skills. Rahul (class 9) says he loved the jungle trekking and in the process he gained some important knowledge: “I got to know how to save yourself from wild animals such as bears or lions. For example, you can make fire or throw away your clothes as the animals will follow the smell; or you can do zigzag running.” It was also beautiful to see how Rahul and the other Adda children in no time became friends with the local children. Abhishek (Class 11) says: “I became good friends with Arun, Anil, Shailen and Asha. They are so amazing in skateboarding and showed me all their tips and tricks, and although they didn’t know me, they treated me like an old friend right from when we met the first time.”

The trip to Janwaar Castle also helped the Adda kids to get to know each other even more closely. Faizan (class 10) is excited how a stronger bond was created among the group: “Usually we spend most of the time in our respective hubs and therefore we are often staying together with the same group of people; but during the trip I spent a lot of time with boys from other hubs and I made new friends. As I am mostly at the Dance Hub, I haven’t explored much of photography before, but I had a really great time learning photography from Chirag, who’s a member of the Community Media Lab, during the trip.”

Some more highlights of this unforgettable trip included doing yoga in the middle of the skate park at the crack of dawn, relaxing in the village’s tree house library, drinking chai out of self-made leaf cups while on a jungle trek, learning natural medicine from the local women, an exciting modern and traditional dance exchange, making sun dried clay pottery and eating fresh, juicy mangoes and jamuns right off the trees! During our stay in the village we were hosted in home stays with the families of the young skaters, which meant we also got a chance to learn how to cook local recipes (such as bhajia and aam ka achaar), learn about local language and traditions, and also join in to milk and care for the cows. It was an unforgettable experience for all, leaving the Creativity Adda facilitators and children feeling happy and filled with many memories and stories to share!


This month, it was time for our annual “Masti Ki Pathshala” event, which at the same time was the culmination of our 2018 summer camp. Students showcased their projects, initiatives and experiences through an exhibition and some great performances. We had a good turn-out of parents eager to hear and see what their kids were up to over the last four weeks and to learn more about Creativity Adda. All in all, around 200 people showed up to gaze in amazement at the talent and skills of the Adda kids in dancing, skating, mime, music and many more things. Our slow food junior chefs pampered all guests with some healthy, tasty organic food.

Here is what our guest Tarun Arora said about the event: “I was thrilled to see the energy and passion of the kids. The stalls displaying each hub of Creativity Adda were very entertaining and informative. I could see how the Design- and Maker-Space has taken a huge leap from building toy cars to sophisticated robotics such as making a robotic drummer. The kids were super excited and happy to bring along their parents and show them around. Then we all went to the venue. The energy of students during performance was just amazing, trying to do the best they can. Everyone was gazing with eyes wide open, as students were dancing on stage. It was fantastic to see how skating was mixed with mime and dancing to showcase the strengths of adda kids. Later on, Chirag’s mom/SMC member came on the stage and shared how the Creativity Adda has helped Chirag to grow into a confident, cheerful and creative kid as well as made him into a good chef.”

Our friend Ravina Chowdhary shared, “Today’s event MastikiPathshala 2 was super awesome. the kids who performed and who prepared for the exhibition were crazyly awesome, and not forgetting the kitchen team who cooked delicious food for us. the facilitators worked very hard behind the scenes guiding the kids and managing the whole event, please forward my best regards to them. It is an amazing idea to involve parents in the happy space of their kids. I witnessed parents faces shining with joy. I could see how proud they were of their kids. I was overjoyed at that sight.”


WEBSITE DESIGN!! To enhance the skills and expertise of our media team, we invited Pranshu, from National Institute of Design, to conduct a 3-day workshop on designing and creating HTML-based websites from scratch. Chirag really enjoyed participating in the workshop as it will help him to make his own professional website for his photography work which he can share with others. He says that “having a website is like having a visiting card you can easily share with everyone. It can introduce myself and my work to everyone in more creative ways and in less words.”

WE ARE ON YOUTUBE!! Our Community Media Hub members have started their own, episode-based YouTube channel called Delhi Meri Jaan! In this channel, Chirag, Satyam Jha, Abhishek and other hub members are exploring various topics and issues relevant to the community life in Delhi. Chirag, who acts as the host of the documentary-style production, explains that the first episode is about the impact of the internet and social media on family relations. He says that it is really challenging to take interviews of people because they are often reluctant and unsure of one’s intentions, and you also need to know exactly what to ask them. But Chirag thinks this is a good experience and he feels that he and the other crew members have learned about how to better approach strangers for interviews: “Most importantly, you have to show them respect, explain in detail what you want to know and why.” Chirag also says that in this process, all the team members grew more confident. They really enjoyed getting out of the school premise and into the community to interact with other people. Lately, some freshers of the Media Hub have joined their film crew and Chirag and the other more experienced team members are showing them the basics of video production.

PHOTOGRAPHY ON THE STREETS OF DELHI!! What comes in your mind when you think about the traffic and the streets of Delhi? Probably a lot of things, but we bet that you may never have thought of the city’s highways as a piece of art. One evening, walking back home over a flyover, some of the children of the Media Hub actually imagined the road below as an artscape, with the ever-flowing (or -crawling) traffic illuminating the city at night. To capture their imagination into pictures, they decided to experiment with bulb light photography at night. They organized this all by themselves and went to take the pictures without our facilitators. Have a look at some of these beautiful pictures yourself and maybe you can also re-imagine the streets of Delhi.

OUR OWN NEWSPAPER!! Following up on last year’s workshop where the Adda kids were first introduced to designing and creating a newspaper or magazine, out of which our first ‘Zine’ emerged as a mix between both forms, Pia and our facilitator Bhim organized another workshop to create a new edition of the Addazine with our youngster journalists. Chirag said that he and some other kids already knew how to take interviews and approach people from the first workshop. This made it easier for them this time and the ones who attended the first workshop would help the newcomers in the group. This time, the free learners walked around the community to interview various people such as shoe polishers and key makers to find out more about their work and their lives. Chirag says that most people they interviewed were actually rather happy about their work, despite some hardship, since through this they are able to make a living for their families.

EXPLORING NATURE PHOTOGRAPHY!! Another highlight of this month for our Community Media team was the excursion to Jamuna Biodiversity Park. Who would have though that such a huge area of natural beauty and abundance is so close to the urban world of Mukherjee Nagar? Our alternative learners used this trip to experiment with nature photography, trying out new frames and perspectives and practicing their skills to capture plants, trees, birds, insects, fruits, vegetables, water bodies and other interesting elements that form part of the park’s eco system. Vipin (class 9) says he loves to do nature photography and he is always trying to improve his skiils by doing nature photography in and around the school premises .The children who went to the biodiversity park were not only able to deepen their practical skills in nature photography, but they also learned more about the important restoration work that takes place here and about the overall importance and role of natural ecosystems, thanks to our very informative and friendly tour guide. The Yamuna Biodiversity Park has become a home for biologically rich wetlands, grassland communities, a wide variety of fruit yielding species and an abundance of medicinal herbs. The Park also comprises a native flora and fauna which used to exist a 100 years ago and then became extinct locally. Presently,the park covers an area of approximately 457 acres near Wazirabad village.

Design Studio and Maker Space

ROBOTICS!! The free learners of our Design Studio and Makerspace were pursuing various new activities this month. Anshul, supported by our guest resource person Ankit Dialani, built a robotic drum with the help of Arduino, an open-source electronic prototyping platform. 15-years old Anshul says that when compared to a manual drum, with a robotic drum you can slow down and speed up any drum beat with much more precision and ease. Because of this it can even play things a real human drummer could never do! Anshul says he is really passionate about coding and wants to explore more through open-source learning toolkits such as Arduino.

Vipul (class 9) built a cool water fountain. He says that he got the idea by going online and watching various ‘How-To Videos’ on YouTube. At another occasion this month, Vipul came up with the idea to design and construct a dual utility chair which can be folded so it can be used as a ‘normal’ chair, and it can also be opened so it serves as a ‘relaxing’ chair.

WOOD CARVING!! Another highlight in this month for the members of the Makerspace was the wood carving workshop with Pranshu from the National Institute of Design. Chaman (class 7) was particularly keen to learn and then apply his new skills. He says that in the workshop he and the other kids learned wood calligraphy, such as carving their names in the wood and how to make decorative items and even jewelry out of waste. Some other important things that Chaman found out during the workshop are that it is better to not work directly on the floor because it will damage the tools, and that you can use sandpaper to give a finer shape to your work.

Slow Food Junior Chef Academy

BAKING TIME!!! Sajid (class 9) says that this month he and the other kids wanted to explore how they can make fast food and sweets, which are usually eaten outside in cafes and restaurants and often unhealthy due to the ingredients used, into slow and healthy food. As such, they tried out their skills on pizza, vegetable puff, foccaicia bread, chocolate and vanilla cake, and making cookies. Sajid says that “usually when we go out we don’t know what we eat, if it’s healthy or not, but now that I know how we can make for instance a more healthy pizza, I will share this with others.” Indeed, Sajid is always keen to share his experience with others — this month for instance he also went to the Girls Adda to bake honey oat cookies with the girls.

Dance Music and Art Academy


Deepak (class 11) learned how to compose songs and write lyrics. Together with his group, he composed the song ‘To Chalo’ and now he wants to write more songs by himself. “I like to compose my own songs because through this I can express my own feelings. At the moment we are working on a song called ‘Yaariyan’ (‘friendship’) which is about childhood memories based on our own experiences,” Deepak says.

Subhash (class 11) practiced his guitar skills over this month and was able to make lots of progress. He also loves singing, especially classical music, about which he learned at Adda for the first time. He finds that singing classical music challenges him to develop a high scale voice and thus he can improve his vocal range.

NEW INSTRUMENT!!! Our percussion group was very active this month and explored playing the Djembe. According to the Bambara people in Mali, the name of the djembe comes from the saying “Ankedjé, ankebé” which translates to “everyone gather together in peace”. They also made their own Jal tarang. It consists of a set of ceramic or metal bowls tuned with water. The bowls are played by striking the edge with beaters, one in each hand.


EVERYONE’S A FACILITATOR!! Across the month, our dancers were busy to learn and co-create new dances in contemporary, jazz and hip hop. Himanshu (class 9) says he had a lot of fun in the hip hop classes. What’s more, whenthere was no facilitator for a few days, Himanshu took initiative to share his hip hop moves with the other kids who didn’t join for theJanwaar Castle trip. He says that this was a great experience which also made him understand some of the challenges of facilitating: “It was really hard to give equal amount of attention to every single student. I sometimes forgot to make sure that the students at the back are also following properly. I noticed that I was not able to look at every child and to give attention to each and every child sufficiently. But I learned a lot from my mistakes and I really want to facilitate some hip hop classes again.” Himanshu also said that he realized how important it is to use body language and expressions.


MADHUBANI STYLES!! In order to make the Adda also visually look more like the inspiring, creative place it is, we keep on inviting artist friends to come and work with the Adda kids on wall murals and other things to beautify the space. This month, the Madhubani workshop ended with a lovely, colorful and eye-catching mural. Madhubani art or Mithila painting is practiced in the Mithila region of Bihar and in Nepal. Thanks to our guest artist Rupam Bhardwaj for sharing this amazing work with the students.


A FACE SAYS MORE THAN A THOUSAND WORDS!! Our Mime Workshop with guest artist Sushanto Das from Kolkata attracted a lot of free learners to discover more about the use of facial expressions and body language. 17-year old Deepak from our Dance Hub says that through the workshop he now understands how important face expressions are for his dance performances and he will pay more attention to this now. His favorite expression is ‘happy’ (see the picture above). “I also got to know more about my body, for example how I can relax my body. I learned how to make my body sharp, slope, and slow,” Deepak further says. Nitesh, aged 14, also participated in the workshop. As a member of the Music Hub, he found that it is also important to fit his expressions with the rhythm and lyrics of the songs he is performing. “It was a lot of fun to play with all those different face expressions and to learn how to control your body; how to relax and open your body,” he says. Nitesh’s favorite face expression is ‘cool’ (see picture above).

Sports and Fitness Hub

Nikhil (class 7) is very enthusiastic about skating and this month he learned backward skating, half camel and one-leg skating. He says that he loved hockey break skating and doing the limbo stand. He is sharing some of his experiments with his friends.

Shamim (class 8) in turn loves to play table tennis. Before coming to Adda, he has never played table tennis before, and now after a few months he is one of our best players. Shamim states that at the beginning he used to observe the other kids playing but was too shy to play himself. Encouraged by the other children, he just started playing and kept on observing his fellow players to learn how to serve and play. Now Shamim wants to learn some more sophisticated techniques and shots.


MEETING MORE MAKERS!! Our free learners from the Design Studio and Maker Space got the opportunity to visit another maker space, Banana House in Chhatarpur. It is an enterprise run by Ankit Dialani, one of our guest resource people. It was a great learning experience for the kids to explore SketchUp software, 3D modelling and introduction to different motors. Thanks to Banana House team for hosting us.

FLYING HIGH!!! This month, our free learners visited the Airforce Museum in Delhi. It was a new learning experience for them as none of them has seen a real plane in front of their eyes. Our designers were curious to explore the aerodynamic design of the airplanes. Sumit curiously asked for the motor power and the power needed for an airplane to fly.


I like the idea of “creativity adda.”
I never heard about it or visited this place. It seems like a cool place in Delhi, especially for student or kids. I must say, all have done a very good job as I followed this page from last week. I saw almost all videos and posts.When I saw these kids, how talented and happy and energetic they all are, then the first thought came to my mind was, “why me? How disappointing and suffocating education system, I have to go through?”
I think its time for a new revolution in the education system and learning process, where everyone is a teacher and a learner and most important thing all are enjoying, instead of fear of any kind of exams/ marks/ teachers/ jail kind of feeling.
I wish to be a kid again after I saw this “creativity adda” page. I wish to join you “as a student” to learn from you guys. You all are doing a very well done job.
Hope our education system and parents can understand this part and take at least small step toward this method as there is always a place for improvement.
Keep it up!
Surbhi Jain, government school teacher


We hosted a high energy one month summer camp for girls at the Lancer Road Government Senior Secondary School in Delhi to develop a prototype for a future girls creativity adda. Over 100+ girls attended and explored many new dimensions of themselves. Read up more about it here.


Creativity Adda is a project supported by Shikshantar Andolan, DS Foundation and MLA Pankaj Pushkar.