A Quill of Their Own

“We wrote, we laughed, we grew…together.”

Armed with their maiden publications, proudly displayed on the bookshelves, this is what the students of grade 9th and 10th of Shiv Nadar School, Gurgaon and Noida will tell you!

In a unique offering to the school community, the said students sifted through their nascent thought-bank to come up with topics which inspire them, affect them and engage them. These topics and thoughts were then cloaked in appropriate words and punctuations to arrive at stories, poems, narratives and letters.

The literary exploration, however, did not stop here. These students went a step further to compile their individual sparks of inspiration into a collective expression, which could be read, understood, disseminated and at some later stage, cherished. Thus were born two books – ‘Thought Jar’ and ‘City of Letters’, which bring together the joys and frustrations, concerns and motivations of all these students.

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The students functioned under the umbrella of the now-a-year-old Aha basket of Creative Communications. The strategy and direction this initiative took was purely their own, mentored at appropriate places by the facilitators. To create a common theme for the publications, the students were asked to dwell on the act of ‘writing’, and play in any direction within this broad brief. So while some went into history, some others soared in the sky of fantasy; while some poured out poems close to their heart, some others took to prose and research; while some created new stories, some others rewrote age-old narratives.

Once this was done, all the pieces of writing were put together, sequenced, edited, re-edited and then, students spent hours and days into thinking up a name for their respective compilations. Here are the two that came up.

‘Thought Jar’, Shiv Nadar School, Noida

‘Thought Jar’ is exactly what is announces itself as. It is a precious treasure chest where young creative writers have picked up strands of thoughts which they encountered along their path, in their notebooks, in the classrooms, in the smiles of their friends, in the warmth and love of their teachers, in the storybooks they found in the library, in the adrenaline that pumped up in sports field, in the comfort that greets them at home and in the hopes they’ve set for themselves. Each moment in life, we learnt, holds the potential for creating magical verses and charming prose.

Sample a trailer of their thoughts in the quotations below, drawn from the book.

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‘City of Letters’, Shiv Nadar School, Gurgaon

An intensive day of brainstorming in the school made students realize that the experience of writing together had revealed to them figments of their own thoughts, as well as given them a peek into the ideas and personalities of their peers. Writing had opened the doors of greater understanding and appreciation. In the pages of different articles strewn in front of them, they felt, there were gateways to history, to research, to art, to stories and to interpretations. They had made for themselves an entire city of emotions and ideas, using the medium of language. And thus, it struck them, their labour of devotion needs to be called ‘City of Letters’.

Some vignettes from the book.

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Both the books have received tremendous response from all corners. We hope these first publications only open the doors to several more, over the many years of excellence we are yet to live.

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