Nidhi Panchal


Astitva – The Dramatics Society of Dyal Singh College (M) organized Expressions’17: The Annual Stage Play Festival on 24th and 25th March, 2017. The preliminary round of Expressions’17 was held on 10th March, 2017 in which about 35 teams of various colleges auditioned. The two-day stage play festival saw the best 10 stage play productions out of the 35. The Judges for the festival were Sweety Ruhail – Theatre practitioner, director designer and a graduate from National School of Drama (NSD) who had worked with Kingdom of Dreams in past and Rajesh Nirmal – Ex Member of Kirori Mal college’s Dramatics Society, Masters from Hyderabad University in Design in Direction, Professional writer of Takseem which was performed at Constitution Club.

Maitreyi College’s 'Daag-e-Daaman'
Maitreyi College’s ‘Daag-e-Daaman’

The first day of the festival kick-started with Shaheed Sukhdev College of Business Studies (SSCBS) stage play – A Shaggy Dog Story which tugged at the heartstrings of the audience with its simple yet, inspiring story of 15 year old boy suffering from Asperger’s syndrome. The visual treat continued as College of Vocational studies (CVS) presented Play That Goes Wrong, an epitome of ‘comedy of errors’ where Abhas Sharma from CVS managed to earn Best Actor accolade. Next in line was Maitreyi College’s Daag-e-Daaman, a play which rightly earned a Special Mention by the judges for unfettering the women issues and busting out the misogynistic undertones in our so called technologically advanced and modern times. Kirori Mal College’s – The Curious Incident of a Dog in the Nighttime, an adaptation of the novel by Mark Haddon and based on the script by Simon Stephens was staged next. Day 1 of the festival wrapped up with Hindu College’s – There Stands Another, a play which beautifully portrayed the relationship of two people.

Tsering lhamo of SGTB Khalsa in The Bear
Tsering lhamo of SGTB Khalsa in ‘The Bear’

Day 2 of Expressions began with SGBT Khalsa’s – The Bear in which Tsering Lhamo won the Best Actress Award for her performance. Following this was Delhi College of Arts and Commerce’s (DCAC) – Gasha, a play which represented the childhood innocence amidst kashmiriyat, CRPF,RAW, AFSPA and the consequent bloodshed. Shaheed Bhagat Singh’s (M) stage play – In Love With Shauhardh, an adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’ was staged next and Shubham Chaudhary received a Special Mention from the judges for his performance. Kirori Mal College’s – Pillowman, a dark comedy which asks some hard-hitting questions about the usurpation of rights and freedom while asking “if the pen is really mightier than the sword?” Pillowman won the Best Direction for its spectacular direction which glued the audiences to its seats till the very end. Expression’17 ended on a high note with Ramjas College’s Stage Play – Evam Indrajit which focussed on the existentialist question. Overall, Expression’17 brought myriad range of emotions and great performances on one stage, concocting an unforgettable experience for the audiences which left them asking for more.


Image Credits: Xposure – The Photography Society of Dyal Singh College, Morning.

South Korea’s most successful T.V. Show, Descendants of the Sun will soon air on Indian Television. The hauntingly beautiful and tragic love story of Caption Yoo Si-Jin and Doctor Kang Mo-Yeon has won numerous hearts across the world in 2016. Get ready to be swept over by the Hallyu-wave (Korean-wave) as Song Joong Ki and Song Hye Kyo brings to us the wartime love story fraught with heartbreaks and romance!

Descendants of the Sun, South Korea’s most successful Television Drama which is also allegedly being dubbed as Asia Best show of 2016 is soon going to air on Indian Television. The demographic of Indian Television scene has seen rapid change over the past few years. In the recent years the viewership of American and British shows has not only increased in India but, the Asian and European Cinema is also gaining audiences. The recent success of Pakistani and Turkish T.V. Shows is a textbook example of how cinema, especially T.V. shows can transcend boundaries.

Descendants of the Sun, starring South Korea’s famous actors, Song Joong Ki as the very dashing, charming and heartbreakingly cute Army Caption Yoo Sin-Jin and Song Hye-Kyo as talented, stubborn yet beautiful surgeon Kang Mo-Yeon brings to us a tale of love and heartbreak in the times of war. This show has everything from drama, action, and thrill to heartbreaks and romance which will surely sweep you off your feet! Even though the show is a romance drama one can clearly see the underlying patriotism of the characters towards their nation.

Spoiler Alert!

Love and Mission!

Captain Yoo Si Jin – “Doctors don’t have boyfriends because they’re too busy.”
Doctor Kang Mo Yeon – “Soldiers don’t have girlfriends because it’s too hard (too much work).”

Caption Yoo Si-Jin and Doctor Kang Mo Yeon’s love story will definitely make you cry and laugh like never before. Caption Yoo Si-Jin is a part of secret UN-peacekeeping team and Kang Mo-Yeon is a famous doctor. The never ending cycle of guy leaving the girl for mission takes a toll on their relationship. But, fate has other plans for them. Kang Mo volunteers as a surgeon for a medical relief project in the area where Yoo Si Jin is posted. The story moves forward and their love is threatened by natural disasters, war, car-wrecks, gunfights and Ebolo like virus outbreaks.


Don’t be fooled by the Caption Yoo’s flower boy face and chocolate abs because the show has some serious fight scenes from knife fights, fist fights to gunfights! Caption Yoo believes he fights “for the peace & freedom for the land” he lives in and “protecting beauties, elders, and children” is his ultimate rule. The narrative is fraught with commando fights, North Korean spies, CIA-backed military coups and jaw-dropping action sequences where Song Joong Ki fights gangsters, mafia and natural disasters.

Second leads, bromance and OST!

Apart from the leads, the seconds leads Dae Young and Myung Joo’s consistent palpable chemistry and unwavering love for each other defying army hierarchy will surely tug your heartstrings. Also, K-Pop listeners will recognise Shinee’s (K-Pop boy group) leader Onew giving a stoic performance as a doctor.

The show’s OSTs are beautiful, especially Chen (from EXO) and Punch’s “Everytime” is a song which make you fall in love. The breathtakingly beautiful locations and top notch cinematography will keep you glued to screen. The humour, bromance and extremely cheesy lines will make smile throughout the 16 episode. People will die, get kidnapped, shot and tragedies will occur but, amidst all chaos and war the beacon of love will shine the brightest.

Catch Descendants of the Sun on Zee Zindagi at 8-9 PM, Monday-Saturday from 8th February, 2017 in India.

Image Credits:

Nidhi Panchal

[email protected]

Is your head swimming with endless definitions, terms, theories? Are you also fed up with your insta feed which has only pictures of books, coffee mugs, glasses strategically placed? Are your anxiety levels off-charts with the ever increasing syllabus? Do you feel that rush of happiness once again to rejuvenate your senses? Well, worry not! Here’s an exclusive furry therapy which will throw the anxiety out of the window and fill your heart with happiness. These animal Instagram will definitely make your worst day into a bright, sunny one with their super cute which melt your heart. Read on to know to know about these four and two legged superstars:

  1. The Dogist (@thedogist)

animal insta

With 2.2M followers on Instagram, this account is one stop destination for all the dog lovers. It features dogs in HONY (Humans of New York) style, sharing their stories and adorable pictures with quirky captions. They also have a book which features all these stories.

Image Credits:


  1. Smoothie The Cat (@smoothiethecat)

Animal insta

“Cause sometimes you just need some a Smoothie in life”, this exam season follow Smoothie as an antidote for your anxiety. As ‘The World’s Most Photogenic Cat’ with around 701K followers, this British Longhair cat is surely going to make you go ‘AWW’ with her pictures.

Image credits:


  1. Jack The Cockatiel (@jackthecockatiel)

animal insta

This super adorable and curious Cockatiel’s beautiful minimalist portraits will work like magic in calming your stress driven nerves. This bird is must for your Insta feed!

Image Credits:


  1. Doug The Pug (@itsdougthepug)

animal insta

This self proclaimed “King of Pop Culture” is everything that can seriously make you go ‘Aww’ in seconds to ‘Yes, he got that right!’ This dog acts like humans, from drinking wine to reading bedtime stories; he does it all and has 2.2M followers!

Image Credits:


  1. Wally The Angora Rabbit (@wally_and_molly)

animal insta

As mentioned in the account description, they are absolutely ‘serious about silliness’ with about 319K followers loving them for it. Wally is a lovable bunny rabbit with pigtails who likes to eat snacks, roam around and has his own advice column which may come in handy during the exam season. Read, see and follow this cool bunny rabbit for wise and anxiety free days!

Image Credits:


Feature Image credits:

Nidhi Panchal

[email protected]

The Economics Department of Dyal Singh College (Morning), University of Delhi organised Eco-Solstice 2016. The event was a perfect amalgamation of art, poetry, business and economics. From poets to leaders, it had something for everyone.

The Economics Department of Dyal Singh College (Morning), University of Delhi, organised Eco-Solstice on 25th October, 2016. With the motto of – ‘Unplug. Unleash. Unwind’, it asked the audiences to ‘unplug’ their mind in order to ‘unleash’ their creative, analytical and logical powers to achieve one’s goals. However, it did stress on the need to ‘unwind’ once a in while and eliminate stress for a better mental health.

The event kick-started with a conference which saw various delegates from economics departments of about six Delhi University colleges gather together. This conference’s main focus was to bring to the table, the common obstacles faced by economics departments across varsity. From failures to achievements, everything was discussed and new ideas were pitched in to tackle possible problems in the future and meaningful collaborations were discussed. On being questioned, a delegate from PGDAV said, “We can’t restrict ourselves to being concerned about our particular colleges. We have to work together as a University and conferences like these which help us to be better together.

The next event was Quizzer’s Dilemma held in collaboration with Cognitio – The Debating and Quizzing Society of DSC (M). This economics and business based quiz was won by the team of Tushar Anand (Ramjas College) and Gokul S. (ARSD College). The second position was clinched by students of Department of Anthropology, DU – Abhishek Mishra and Rabin Jacob.

Next in line were talks by two eminent people. First, Mr. R.K. Dubey, Ex-chairman and Managing Director of Canara Bank who took to stage to talk about the leadership and essential qualities of a leader. He said, “Crux of leadership is acceptance of responsibility and efficient communication among the leader and the team.” This talk was followed by Mr. Rohit Ranjan, director-Internship and fellowship program, Art of living. He spoke at length about stress elimination and proper time management in order to lead a fruitful life. According to him, we shouldn’t “live with ‘I know’ attitude, instead, have the zeal to keep learning and evolving”. He also gave an advice to overcome peer pressure.

Last event of the day was a slam poetry session by the spoken word poetry collective – Slip of Tongue (SoT). The performances by SoT members – Diksha Bijlani, Cheryl Mukherji, Somesh Thapliyal and Prateek Pandey hit a chord with the audience who were completely mesmerized with their solo and duet performances. From ‘love stories more fragile than paper-towns’ to ’resurrection of the wonder-woman’, they touched themes of love, bisexuality, ambitions and atheism through their simple words which left the audience asking for more. Additionally, Eco-Solstice had a photography exhibition which displayed photos clicked by the member of Stobe – The Photography Society of Economics Department of DSC (M).

Image Credits: Strobe – The Photography Society of Economics Department of DSC (M)

Nidhi Panchal

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The season 11 of Supernatural ended on a high note with the kidnapping of Sam Winchester and a gift from Amara for Dean – Mary Winchester! Season 11 delved deep in mythology with The God, Amara – God’s sister and Darkness, Lucifer, world coming to an end and the usual angels and demons. But it also left a lot questions unanswered, so this season is all about going back to the roots. We’ll see a lot of family moments, re-unions, bromance and a kick-ass Castiel!

Read on to know more about the brand new season of Supernatural premiering on 13th October, 2016!

Spoiler Alert!

Mom’s back!

Straight out of season 1, we’ll see one of the major characters back in Supernatural season 12 – Mary Winchester! For those of you who haven’t guessed it or didn’t see the season 11 finale, well, Mary Winchester is Sam and Dean’s mom. She came back as a gift from Amara to Dean.

Being a descendent of hunters, Mary will join the hunting expeditions with her sons and Castiel. Together with Castiel and Dean, she’ll save Sam from the British Men of Letters in episode one.

Also, it’ll be interesting to see something other than the bromance between the two titular characters and see their mom in action. Supernatural has always been about the family bonds, so putting Mary Winchester into the mix will only strengthen the show’s central theme.

Sam Winchester is kidnapped!

Season 11 finale had Sam Winchester kidnapped by a woman. The woman was suave, sophisticated and had pictures of Sam and Dean in her lavish mansion. No, she is not some crazy ex-girlfriend of Sam or Dean. She is Lady Toni, part of the British Men of Letters. An organisation which is way more systematic than its American chapter wiped off years ago.

The British Men of Letters want Sam and Dean dead for the obvious reason – they have brought upon the apocalypse a couple of time, freed Lucifer, brought Amara, almost got God killed, unleashed Leviathans and many other disasters. Yes, they believe that even though, every time they’ve managed to contain the chaos, one day they won’t be able to and then the world will suffer for their mistake. So, the British chapter wants to get rid of them and has Sam in their hold.

Angry angel and Ex-King of Hell!

If you missed Castiel in the last season, worry not. This season, we’ll get out favourite angel back. He is no more the vessel for the fallen angel and angry as hell with himself. Lucifer is back to his nefarious ways and Castiel blames himself for his chaos. He wants to cage him. Moreover, apart from sharing a good bond with Mary in this season, he’ll also have a standalone episode which will delve deep into Castiel’s past.

The first teaser for season 12 features Rick Springfield as Vince Vincente, Lucifer’s new rock star vessel, in a confrontation with Crowley, a.k.a the former King of Hell. Crowley wants his crown and to get rid of Lucifer, once and for all. The extreme humiliation that Crowley went through last season was of the worst kind and now he’s angry and is on a hunt for Lucifer with Castiel.

Catch Supernatural Season 12 every Thursday at 10 PM on AXN India from 15th October, 2016.

Nidhi Panchal

[email protected]

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The wait is finally over as the scarlet speedster is back to flash on our screens once again. Season 2 ended on a high note with Barry going back in time to save his mother the night Reverse-Flash killed her. Thus, the story will pick up from when Nora and Henry Allen would be well and alive, giving Barry a chance to live the kind of life that he always dreamt of. But, the question is whether he would risk everything, including his powers to have his parents alive. Well, this and more will be part of the Season 3 which will premiere on 4th October, 2016.

So, fasten your seatbelts because The Flash is going to take you on a ride to explore the Flashpoint Paradox!

Spoiler Alert!

Flashpoint Paradox

For those of you who don’t know about Flashpoint, well, it’s a comic by Geoff Johns, Andy Kubert, and Sandra Hope in which Barry wakes up, powerless, in a world where his mother never died at the hands of the Reverse-Flash. To really get a hold of this, I will recommend you to watch Justice League: Flashpoint Paradox. Till now, we know that that the first episode is called ‘Flashpoint’ and second, ‘Paradox’. So, we can take a sigh of relief knowing that the whole Season 3 will not delve deep into this whole phenomenon.

Though interestingly, after watching the trailer, we know that there will be a new Flash in the town fighting crime – or better, a Kid-Flash. Wally West, played by Keiynan Lonsdale, will be the Kid-Flash. And yeah, once Barry starts forgetting parts of his old life, the Reverse Flash (guest star Matt Letscher) taunts his nemesis and tells him that there will be serious repercussions for Barry and the ones he loves if he continues to live in this alternate universe. When the time comes, will Barry make the choice of his life, remain as it is or go back and be The Flash of his universe? Also, we’ll see Cisco as a badass billionaire and Caitlin as a scientist in the tampered timeline.

Zooming in – the new and old characters!

Due to the multiple timelines and dimension in the storyline, most of the characters can return because of indefinite scenarios and new characters can always be incorporated. For season 3, unless you’ve been living in a cave, you know that Draco Malfoy a.k.a Tom Felton has been signed as a series regular. He will be sharing Barry’s Lab and play Julian Dorn, a new CSI of Central City Police Department. His apparent disdain and distrust for Barry Allen’s good boy image and his own secrets will weave an interesting story.


Season 3 has a great line-up of villains with The Top, Mirror Master, speedster The Rival, the metahuman Magenta. Though, it’s the supervillians which will blow you off, Helbing, executive producer of The Flash teased:

“Savitar is more of a psychological villain in a weird way. I think the Hindu word for Savitar means God of Speed; he’s all about speed. Everything about this guy is different. I can’t go into super detail, but he’s not like Zoom or Reverse Flash.”

With the Cult of Savitar, we’ll have Dr. Alchemy paying Flash a visit this season. It’ll be fun to watch Barry fight a non-speeding villain – Dr. Alchemy and, a speedster – Savitar team up together.


We all love crossovers and with the newest addition of Supergirl in the CW’s fight club, we’ll have a blast. Supergirl and The Flash will have a musical crossover. Additionally, there will a The Flash and Arrow crossover too. The most anticipated four-way crossover of this season between – The Flash, Arrow, Supergirl and Legends of Tomorrow will see heroes fight ‘The Dominators — or Dominion’ as the alien race was called as a whole — were extremely technologically advanced, skilled geneticists, who’d previously vexed the Legion of Superheroes.

Catch The Flash Season 3 on Colors Infinity from 5th October, 2016 every Wednesday in India.

Nidhi Panchal

[email protected]

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The college campuses are filled with shouting drones and we are walking on the carpet of pamphlets. Each year, the election season brings out people who want to bring about positive changes. However, in recent years, it has been noticed that while names and faces of the candidates change, their promises never really do. There is a culture of never addressing the right issues.

To break the monotony of the current political scene, we take a look at a few world leaders and what our future Student Union leaders can take away from them:

Angela Merkel – Chancellor, Germany

A winner of 3 General Elections and the only continental leader whose term predates the 2008 financial crisis, Angela Merkel has dominated European politics for almost a decade now. A strong and radical leader, she became a convictional politician who took decisions of welcoming 1 million migrants and refugees into Germany. Thus, she was successful in putting compassion, charity and, humanity ahead of realpolitik.

Our student leaders can take lessons about tolerance and the value of humanity, charity and compassion from Angela Merkel’s humane decisions!

Aung San Suu Kyi – Leader, National League for Democracy, Myanmar

A Delhi University alumna, she is a leader who is recognised worldwide today. As the co-founder of National League for Democracy, she renounced violence to fight Myanmar’s despotism, despite being subjected to house arrest for about 20 years. Her personal sacrifice gathered global support for her cause and also earned her Nobel Peace Prize in 1991.

Student Union aspirants can note that it’s not always violent demonstrations which yield effective results. Peaceful demonstrations can also move authorities and governments to great lengths.

Justin Trudeau – Prime Minister, Canada

An upbeat leader with a fresh outlook and intellect, he is probably the world’s most favourite political leader right now! With a pledge to resettle 25000 Syrian refugees, Justin Trudeau made waves with his liberal cabinet which had regional, cultural and gender balance. He is changing the face of western politics swiftly with his rare optimism, be it through his climate change policies or legalisation of marijuana. Our student leaders can definitely gain from following in the footsteps of Justin Trudeau. His policies are pragmatic and effective. Be it foreign policies or Quantum computing, Trudeau has a sensible answer to every question.

Our student leaders can learn the power of intelligence, optimism and charisma from the current Prime Minister of Canada.

Image Credits:

Nidhi Panchal

[email protected]

  • Pamphlets, pamphlets on the wall; who is the most anti-environment of all?
  • If you have never walked over a carpet of pamphlets in your college life, worry not! DUSU election candidates will make your dream come true. They’ll exclusively get their faces and names printed on pamphlets for you to tread upon them! But on a serious note, this is the worst way of campaigning. Each year these candidates waste huge amount of paper and money over these pamphlets. We have been reading about saving trees and ‘3 R’s’ since childhood. Do we want such candidates who are anti-environment? By wasting resources these candidates only show off their money power not, leadership abilities!
    1. You can run, you can hide, but you can’t escape – the white walkers!
    DUSU season is the only time in Delhi University where instead of your college guard and the usual rickshaw-wallas, you meet the white walkers – frantically forcing you to accept their cards and chanting the names of their candidates as soon as you step into your college or out of the metro station! The other kind of white walkers are found in groups. They’re usually going around the college shouting slogans and once they find a group of kids, they stop to tell them about their candidates, agenda and mention the flaws of the rival party contestant. They often interrupt the lectures, hence irritating professors. This is not exactly a bad way of campaigning but, please don’t make us listen to your manifesto and resentful ranting towards the current union or opposition 5 times a day. We like to be informed but, making us late for lectures and interrupting our conversations doesn’t really make us happy!
    1. From the bus pass to latest movie tickets – they’ve got you covered!
    So, this is one of the most unethical way of campaigning. Under the garb of helping students, the campaigners try to buy the student votes. Yes, there are some who genuinely help students with the form filling, anti-ragging, offer ‘if you’ve any problem come to us’ kind of thing. But that’s not the only kind of help they do. They lure the students by offering Lakme lip-colour, latest movie tickets, free amusement park trips, food vouchers – basically money! To nip this corrupt way of campaigning is to ‘refuse’ any such help. The candidates and the party are not the only ones corrupt when they offer such stuff, you also become corrupt the moment you accept it!
    1. The vicious circle of blame game and violent fights!
    Every year the rival parties indulge in this blame and negative publicity. We don’t want to listen to the failures of your opposition party neither want to be a part of your character-shaming/shredding activity. Each time the ruling student union won or lost a battle, we were at the receiving end of the consequences. Also if you failed to deliver your promises, don’t go around blaming people. The last thing we want to hear is your ‘sorry excuse’. We want solutions, we want to see the actual work. Let your actions speak for yourself – and by actions we don’t want you to beat each other or break stuff, we want leaders not goons who just have money-muscle power and zero intellect! Informing us is not wrong but, spreading hostility and hooliganism around the campus doesn’t exactly show off your leadership qualities. Nidhi Panchal [email protected]]]>

    ‘Gooood morniiiiiing, Teeeaacherrrrr!’ This chorus is the first thing that comes to my mind as I write this article on the morning of 5th September. In the narrative of our life, this is that one chorus which is constant. So, for once, think about a world without teachers.  As hard as I think, a world without teachers is something that is impossible to imagine. The whole education system would collapse. Our whole being will be undefined; life will be a chaotic mess. I don’t know how the world would be if ever the teachers vanish from the story of our lives. I just know that our story would be incomplete and a sad one.

    After our parents, teachers are the ones who have the strongest influence on our lives and personality. Sometimes they influence us in a way which completely transforms us. Yes, we hate homework or assignment deadlines and more so when they write ‘redo’! We resent all those times when they put us on spot in front of the whole class for an answer which we didn’t know. Sometimes, the following insult session and Parent-Teacher meeting was nothing short of brutal! I know they scared us, rebuked us, hit us, punished us (though, I’m not trying to justify or referring here to the 3rd degree punishments), flunked us, insulted us, hit us with a chalk and other things in the book of ‘101 reasons to hate teachers’. We have our personal Professor Snapes and Dumbledores; we dread or love them on the basis of our experiences. But, what is important for us to understand is that in the end, Professor Snape was also not the villain of the story. Whatever he did, he did it for Harry.

    Thus, there is nothing like a good, bad, beautiful or ugly teacher. It’s all the situations and our perceptions which make us classify them. The significant lesson is to understand that teachers/professors are also human beings and not flawless. For some child, a certain teacher can be the best and for the other, a personal devil, especially sent by Satan from the underworld; we often see the world in binary of black or white and so does the figure of a teacher in good or evil. We need to see the shades of grey. We need to see how sometimes they have to do what they do. None us would be reading this had it not been for those teachers who relentlessly helped us read and taught us a language which was not our mother tongue.

    Always keep in mind that for every Doloros Umbridge from Harry Potter, there is a Mr. Kobayashi, the headmaster in Totto Chan: The Little Girl at the Window who would say,“Having eyes, but not seeing beauty; having ears, but not hearing music; having minds, but not perceiving truth; having hearts that are never moved and therefore never set on fire. These are the things to fear,” and help slay all our other dragons of fear which shackle our dreams and aspirations. These are the kinds of professors, headmasters, teachers, mentors that we need to remember and celebrate today.

    Take a moment, go down the memory lane and remember all those teachers/professors who touched your life, taught you valuable lessons which were not a part of textbooks but shaped your personality. Even find that friend who always became your teacher before the exams and helped you pass. Thank all those teachers who had unwavering faith in you and motivated you whenever you made a mistake or couldn’t pick yourself up after a failure. Celebrate teachers like Miss Stacy (Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery) who asked you whenever you were having a bad day to think, “Tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it.” And most importantly, teach someone who doesn’t or didn’t ever have the privilege to know who a teacher is. Keep spreading the light and knowledge around this Teachers Day.

    Nidhi Panchal
    [email protected]

    Image Credits:

    1st July, 2016 was the day when I stepped through the mirror into the ‘Looking Glass House’, just like Alice did in ‘Through the Looking Glass’. And yes, just like Alice I also felt that I had stepped into a world which was similar to mine but, with several strange differences. I cannot describe my Teach for India (TFI) experience without lending images from this wonderful text by Lewis Caroll. Alice becomes a different person after her journey through the Looking Glass and so did I, after this internship.

    The world I had stepped into was unlike anything that I had ever seen. All my life I thought I knew everything about the impoverished and marginal community of our society, the people living in slums. I thought I was aware about the challenges they face. I thought I knew about the educational inequity and loopholes in our education system. But little did I know that ‘I thought’ too much and hence, assumed ‘I knew’. Everything that ‘I thought I knew’ just came crumbling down the moment I stepped into 4th grade classroom of MCD School in Saraipipal Thala.

    I expected the worst; the unruly kids, lazy government school teachers and yes, dirt everywhere! Alas! I was wrong about a lot of things. Here’s how my one month went as TFI intern.

    1st and 2nd July were Friday and Saturday. The attendance was low, with only 5 and 6 kids present each day. The class teacher told me that the kids will definitely come from Monday and, they did. The moment I in stepped in class, I was wished by a chorus, “Good Morning, Didiiiii”. I was taken aback by their enthusiastic, happy response.

    This first week was the hardest week; I was stripped off all my pre-conceptions. Every time I saw something which was not what I had believed, it confused me even more and felt as if everything I knew was a lie. Each day of this week I heard a new child’s story which made me feel a little more grateful of my life and childhood.

    Now with all the kids present, the teaching began. As my TFI fellow had pointed out, “If you don’t have a plan for the kids, they’ll have a plan for you.” The kids in my class had unlimited energy, constructive as well as destructive. I was assigned to teach English and Science. My first foray into teaching began with a poem. This poem gave me an insight of the level of the kids. There were kids in the class who were unaware of the basic sound and letter recognition and hence, were unable to read. Thus, I made it my goal to teach them sounds and basic reading before my one month gets over.

    My days flew thinking, planning, talking about just my kids. I didn’t know when I started referring to them as ‘my kids’ but, I did. All the things in my life faded into insignificance. With my BOY assessment, my days were spent assessing each child on a motley range of criteria’s and my nights were spent filling the tracker.

    This assessment further helped me in recognizing the strengths and weaknesses of my kids. As my assessment came to end, so did my internship. I could not teach all my kids to read. All of them had different learning capacities; some could only learn letter sounds, some 3 letter words and some to read sentences. But, with each little milestone that my kids achieved, I smiled little more and felt a little more alive.

    I may not have done much, but I did what I could in one month. Change is a slow process. One could not expect to move mountains but, it’s the baby steps that count and the will to continue. It’s all about ‘one child at a time’. Being with these kids for one month taught me to smile in the face of adversity. Their happiness and zeal was infectious. And yes, their lack of resources showed me what today’s privileged kids are losing, with their lives heavily dependent on technology.

    I learnt that my biggest flaw was that my opinions about the education system were based and influenced by what I had read in newspapers, heard from others and seen on television. We often go through life forming opinions, passing judgements over our flimsy assumptions, but it’s the first experience and in-depth insight that really matter and help. I realised that most of the policies fail because the real situation is misconstrued by the policy makers. Though this TFI internship was short, I stepped into an alternate reality. However, I wish that there was no disparity between, my kids and my reality. In the kids company, I learnt to unlearn. Before I met them, I thought they needed me, but it was I, who needed them!

    One should definitely work with TFI as an intern if, planning to join the fellowship. An intern does most of the things that a fellow is expected to do and gets a peek inside TFI culture as well!

    Featured Image Credits: Zeba, TFI

    Nidhi Panchal
    [email protected]