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I distinctly remember the first day of classes when, out of sheer curiosity, I attended a mathematics class. A complex problem, something about the number of ways a ball could hit a pool table, was being discussed. On one hand, my brain just hurt thinking about how large the number of possibilities could be On the other hand, the students were discussing in how many different ways, using different theories, can they arrive at a conclusion! The level of intelligence and the phenomenal speed with which information was processed was not restricted to just one class.
The faculty who came in to teach these students had very high profiles. Each of them was either held a PhD or was a researcher or a lecturer from reputed national and international universities. Impressing them was not an easy task. But these children did not even have to make an effort to do so. Every child was a ticking bomb… waiting to explode with their fresh thoughts, ideas and opinions. By the end of the first day, there were ferocious debates about the Nazis on one table, deep discussions about wind and turbulence on the other while a few decided to go beyond the boundaries of science and delve deeper into the world of literature.
For me, all of this was too much to take in. It was astonishing to see how children so young, could grasp concepts of trigonometry and resolution of vectors (something I had learnt very recently) so easily. And this was not just about subjects… the next few days revealed that they could just talk about anything and everything in the world! Their arguments as to whether an IPhone was better than a Samsung or whether Superman was better than Batman; were equally precise. Their discussions ranged from being as technical as involving the number of pixels in a camera phone to as generic as which country’s leader did what.
A conversation I had with one of the kids is particularly worth mentioning. I asked him why he was solving the grade 10 maths textbook when he was just going to begin class 8 after that summer. He said “Well, the faster I complete the grade 10 book, the more time I get to finish off grade 11 and 12 books. Then I get enough time to study for IIT and I’ll get an admission there. But anyway, IIT is just a backup… I want to be an author”. After that, I could not bring myself to say anything! I realized that these kids were not just about science and math and I hope he does become an author…
Weekdays dragged on with lessons, and weekends were fun days. Kids were made to actively participate in lipsync competitions, sports day, treasure hunts, karaoke evenings, talent night and DJ nights. The habit of excelling did not leave them even in these extra-curriculars. Their sharp minds were a challenge for the organizers of treasure hunts to keep up the standard of puzzles and clues. There were many times when each of us would be proud to have thought of a game that was foolproof but the children would just as easily find some or the other workaround. There was no way, but to pull off all-nighters to fix all the loopholes! The talent night saw acts varying from band performances, instrumental performances ranging from electric guitar to violin, ballet and classical dances, rapping, skits and card tricks.
With each activity, every child showed their hidden creativity and talents that they did not know existed. I slowly started to wonder that this lot was but a small part of the larger whole. I marveled at the tremendous amount of potential that is just lying there in the world, waiting to be tapped. Just the thought that there would be a time in the future when I will have to work with this kind of a younger generation, made me speculate how much I had to update and improvise myself to survive in the ever changing world!
The summer camp came to an end with an exquisite display of projects in various subjects. Students talked about historical wars, platonic solids, illusions, 3D images, rockets and evolution of human beings as their proud parents walked by witnessing a significant change in them since the day they left them behind. And it was not the just the students who were engaged in the learning process, even I evolved with them as I learnt to take responsibilities, make decisions and implement ideas.
In the duration of the camp, every single individual, students and staff alike, formed bonds that could not be broken by distance. The same students who cried to leave their parents now cried to go with them… As I left with a myriad of emotions, I was proud to have shared the same platform as the Newtons and Picassos of tomorrow. Certainly, ASP is not an ordinary place and this is what drives me to come back again and again!
Residential Life Coordinator
Asset Summer Programme, 2016