Masti Ki Paathshaala by Suresh Nair

When I think of school, I have fond memories. It was the best time of my life. Of course, you don’t realize it at that time. Getting up early for school, getting ready and opening the books for a class was a chore. Uff!! I wish I knew what lay in store for me in the circle of life. School was strictly academics, everything else was a side distraction. I had other ideas/ My first priority was sports, second was the cocurricular activities, third was the library. I was hooked to stories: fiction, biography, from a young age.

I was an aspiring cricketer. I was playing at the district and state level. Unfortunately, I had to give it up when I was 12. It broke my heart. My parents and teachers were of the view that it was affecting my academic performance. I was allowed to play at the school level only. If only I had a chance. 

My friend was fond of sketching. He could draw anyone or anything described to him. His sketch book was a treasure of creativity. He sketched celebrities, nature, an automobile, a battle scene; you name it. The descriptiveness in those sketches were astounding. Today, he runs his father’s auto spare parts business. He still sketches, and they are really good. He fondly remembers the accolades won by him across the country in his school days. It had filled up the large living room of his large household. When he took over the business, he sold the for scrap. A dream sold for 400 rupees and dumped in a garbage collector’s lot. I still remember the day when his father had visited the school for a parent-teacher meeting. He was getting a dressing down from him and his teachers as his rank had slipped to number four in the class. He used to be the table-topper. All because he was spending time doing sketches on large canvases. They were unique and exemplary. But his grades had slipped. The school was supportive enough only to the extent till his grades remained avant-garde. Anything less was not acceptable to the “standards of excellence” poster boy of the school.

Megha was a Bharatnatyam dancer. She was graceful. When she was 11 years old, she won a national level competition in her age group for her” fusion” dance. Mixing classical and techno beats, she choreographed a dance that was never seen before. It appealed to the teenagers and young adults. Classical music is not appreciated by everyone, but the innovativeness of her number created a flutter. She mixed it with a few Hindi and English songs and created a masterpiece. Less than a week after getting coverage in all the national dailies for her creativity, her parents dropped by at school and informed them that she will not be participating regularly in dance. Her parents were both doctors. Of course, she was to become a doctor too. She was a rebel and stood firmly against her parent’s diatribe. Unfortunately, the school did not stand by her.

There are innumerable such stories. I found my love for writing after spending 25 years in sales and Marketing. I have an MBA degree certificate hanging on my living room. I finally found the courage to follow my passion. Few of my friends have followed their heart and are pursuing their passions at 45+.You just can’t help wondering, what heights of success and greatness these people would have achieved, had they been given the opportunity to do so.

Schools are in the business of preparing “rats” for the race of life. It is not about providing education, it is about “producing” Doctors, Engineers and Techies. The painters, writers, dancers, actors and singers happen mostly by chance. Schools need to build a system of grooming creativity or a skill. Their system needs to be overhauled with emphasis on identifying and honing a skill of their pupils.

Parents spend their lifetime worrying about the future of their children. The sad part is, their idea of success can be stuffed in a small shoe box. Their definition of success is like Hyperopia. They cannot see what is close to their eyes. Their concern stems from the ability of their child to be financially independent in life. So, tell me one thing please? Are all Doctors, Engineers and Techies financially independent? Out of the millions graduating every year, does everyone of them make big money? No. In fact, the number of people pursuing alternate professions after a professional course is indicative that they do not.

Parents feel many of the professions in the creative field are not lucrative. Please do your research. The options are manifold and they grow exponentially every year. They make more money while living the life of their dreams. Even in cases where the income is not highly lucrative, people following their passions lead a happy life. Their quality of life is envious. Little do parents realize it, but that is all that matters. The world has enough professionals who are not wealthy by any standards.

This brings back to question of the role of the school or institution where the child spends nearly 15 of their lives. They can do much more than academic pursuits. They can build lives of the children and play a stellar role in creating a happy society. It is the responsibility of that institution to identify and groom one skill or talent of the student. Radical thinking? Very difficult? Crazy? Well, Ii is any day better than a city of unhappy people who work themselves to death early, all in the name of achieving “success”.

Have you ever noticed how China produces great athletes? What about USA, England, Australia? “MADE IN GERMANY” infers high quality. How do they manage this? They have a system of identifying talent at a young age. The children are groomed extensively to shape that talent. The rough, crude stone is polished into a diamond. This is the job of schools. This should be their business.

I have always wanted to open a school. It will be a school of excellence. Not just academic excellence. It will be a school for creative excellence. For Artists, Painters, Scientists, Sportspersons, Poets, Writers, Designers and so on. I will call it “MASTI KI PAATHSHAALA”. Children and parents will have the time of their life in this school. It will be channel to unleash the creativity and passion of the children. The school will be the guide and mentor for pursuing hobbies and building a lucrative career out of it.

I want to create this school to build a strong, healthy and a happy society.


  1. Agreed 100% with the thoughts and nicely presented

  2. This is so pertinent Suresh… as a parent and later in life rebel like you, I can identify with each thing you said. Schools today are so busy making money they can’t see the children. Generally speaking the more expensive the school, the less they care about kids. What they do care about if if the kids are from the right background. If they are, they are assured the parents will provide enough resources that the kids succeed anyway. Schools and teachers take pains to not be held accountable for a students performance and grooming. Not unless they have the right surnames. This has been my experience.


Post a Comment

Share your response