Forever in a Minute
The Trip of A Life Time
On the 1st of December, ten assorted children and two teachers were standing in the various queues at the Indira Gandhi International airport, not knowing what to expect of the next three weeks- Summer School at the University of Melbourne, in Australia.
Yet, from the time we were waiting in the security lounge, the ice melted and we were laughing together, creating quite a racket - glibly ignored the “looks” people were giving us.
After a long twelve hour flight, we arrived in Sydney tired and exhausted. However, even on that first night, we were up till two playing games, getting to know each other.
On the first day we toured Sydney- we went to the Koala Park, to the exhilarating Bondi beach, the Sydney opera house, and Paddy’s Market.
But, it was that evening that we reached Melbourne.
At the two Summer Schools we learnt a host of new and interesting things:
The Science students attended a number of lectures with an extremely entertaining Dr. Roger Rassool, and various other teachers from the university of Melbourne. The topics of our lectures included chemistry of color and light, electromagnetism, genetics and zoology, and even HPS (History and Philosophy of science). Some lectures were extremely interesting, even though some people decided to catch up on their sleep. The practical sessions were incredible. We dissected a cow’s eye to see the retina, the optic nerve and reflective tissue. Though initially it was a bit unpleasant, the cow’s eye was unimaginably beautiful. We also went fossil hunting, and to a sanctuary, where it started pouring and we were drenched to the bone.
The Creative Thinking students had a completely different program from the science students, as far as the academics were concerned. While the science students had lectures in the University of Melbourne everyday, the creative thinkers had actual classes in Trinity College.
Classes that were compulsory for everybody were: Dramatic Narratives (or Drama), Cultural Narratives (which included studying Aboriginal stories, movies and paintings), International Relations (and actual negotiations) and Global Issues (or all about the Environment). Other than that, everyone was required to take one optional module from Consumer Psychology, Creative Writing, Math, Endangered Species or Economics. The creative thinkers were taken out on many excursions, ranging from the national gallery, to the Ceres ecological farm. Also, creative thinkers had a faculty lecture in the University, everyday.
At the end students of both Summer Schools had a seminar on Sustainability
Apart from the actual studies, we had wonderful experiences at Ace Hi Ranch, where we rode horses, attempted archery, sang around the bonfire, and swung on a giant 25m high swing. The activities organized by the mentors were extraordinary- bush dancing, trivia night, mystery night (where we ran around the campus playing detective), the city tour and laser wars…
It is impossible to summarize those three weeks in an article, but undoubtedly the best part of the trip was making friends with so many other children from India as well as Singapore, Malaysia, and Australia. Every night, we stayed up late just talking. We’ll always remeber getting drenched in the sprinklers at 3 in the morning, having Dodgy juice (an unbelievably sweet mixture of candy), singing to random people in the Turkish restaurant, traveling in trams, eating at hungry jacks, yearning for Indian food, getting squeaky voices from helium balloons, watching the sunset, disco night, using swipe cards (SWIPEYS!) to get around, chatting till late with Mrs. Jairath and being shooed of the Bulpadock (main garden)….
In those three short weeks, all of us formed a very special bond that would last the rest of our lives- even as we all walked different paths that, perhaps, would never cross again.
Graduation Dinner came too soon; we felt like we had just arrived the day before, and yet it felt like we had been there forever.
Nitya Vaishnavi Singh.
Smooth as Silk
They brought the sound of the mountains into the Indipop scene. Their fresh music catapulted Silk Route to instant fame. The song Dooba dooba raced up the charts, and its unique underwater video was noticed immediately. The group also swept the Channel [V] awards, bagging the Best Debut, Best Song, Best Music Video and Best Indian Group. And then…
They came to Vasant Valley School, to play for the Tsunami Relief Fund Raising concert, on Sunday the 16th. We got an exclusive interview with them backstage (the teachers quiet room for all the uninitiated)- Mohit Chauhan, lead singer and a whiz with the harmonica, Atul on the guitar, and Kem Trivedi the talent behind the piano.
Kenny Puri, the percussionist of the band was however unable to come.
So, first the rhetorical question- how did they think the concert went?
“That all really depends on the audience.”
Well, we thought they “rocked the show” as one little kid standing behind us stated very aptly, with finality in his tone that could not be argued with!
“Was it difficult to play to an audience ranging from 4 to 40 and not just teens or people in their twenties?” , asked an eager newspaper reporter.
“Not really. For us it’s just the music and we thought the crowd was really good.”
And what about the cause- tsunami relief: “Do you think enough has been done for the tsunami victims? Is there different feeling after the show, because for the first time you were playing with a cause involved?”
“It is our first time for a charity event, and it does ease our conscience to know that we have in some way done our bit. In fact we just flew straight from Lucknow; it’s extremely difficult to play without our drummer, though our friend did really well; I haven’t slept in 48 hours; yet in the end it was all worthwhile.”
Well that’s all folks, we decided to let them catch up on their sleep; they deserved it after the awesome performance and patience with which they answered all our questions, and signed autographs for all the excited kids!!
Nitya Vaishnavi Singh