Why Ulta Pulta?

Aditi and Ratnesh

train When I was a child, schooling was like a chuk chuk gaadi. I was just like a little bogie – being chugged along – totally led by the teacher/school who decided where I should go, at what speed I should go and my destination as well. I had no say in anything.

metro-train Now when I look around, I don’t see the chuk chuk gaadi – I see sleek trains. The school is still a train. Only, it now goes faster and is sleeker. There are sophisticated and technologically advanced tools, better service which is invariably more expensive. But it is still a train where the child (the bogie) is pulled/led by the engine (the teacher, school).

busstand In some cases, in some classrooms, in some schools, at some levels, in some countries – the children are allowed to choose – it is like the bus stand where there are buses going in a certain direction. You can choose (electives) and then jump on that bus with co-passengers – all of whom have chosen to go the same way! Though one may still be wondering why one has chosen that bus. And obviously, if you decide after a few stops – to change – that’s really not possible.

Some of us may want education to be more like the auto rickshaw – flag one down and tell them where you want to go and that’s it. But wait, we still would be driven around – the way the driver wants – what if he is too fast or too slow or too rash or maybe he is not even ready to take you where you want to go.

auto The problem is not really with the train or the bus or the rickshaw – the problem is that in each case – the engine or the driver – takes his/her job too seriously. We are so caught up with helping the passengers reach where we think they should reach, that we forget to enjoy the journey.

So, welcome to the ulta pulta issue. While the articles in this issue are based on our work with children at Aarohi – the idea here is not to showcase our work – but to offer you some contagious and hazardous bits of our experiences that can potentially change the way you think about yourself, teaching, children and etceteras.

Use and enjoy what you like, the rest you can deep freeze for a ‘hot’ day!

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