Wednesday, 27 July 2016

My Award Journey

Shradha Ramakrishnan, a Bronze Award Holder from Hiranandani Upscale School, Kelambakkam, shares the experience of her Award journey here.

I, Shradha Ramakrishna have completed my Bronze Award journey.

My Service section was a group activity, where we mainly taught under-privileged children some basic computer skills, incorporating other vital concepts as well. For example, on a normal day we would talk about the necessity of staying in good health and give them an activity accordingly on the computers in either Word or PowerPoint. Our talks consisted of a main group talk that summarised the topic at hand, and then we would split up into three groups where we discussed the topic in detail. Some prominent topics discussed were road safety and health. We normally ended our classes with a quick game to gauge their spirits, such as ‘Simon says’. My individual service comprised a day at the Alpha to Omega School, which is a school for children with learning difficulties.

In the Skills section I chose Bharatanatyam. It is a dance form that I am highly passionate about, and have been practising it for more than eight years now. My Arangetram, a dance graduation, was completed in July 2014. To explore this passion further after my Arangetram, was the reason I took this dance form as my skill in this section of the Award. My classes were always very demanding. Some classes involved a thorough revision of the basics and when the teacher was slightly late, it was my mandate to begin some of the crucial exercises for the younger children. Since I had finished my Arangetram, the teacher had taught me longer and more demanding pieces of dance known as Varnam Jathis. These are pieces of pure dance that make up the Varnam Dance. I was taught charis, which are simple, elegant movements that are incorporated in a dance. To keep in touch with my Arangetram dances, we revised them in almost every class. The culmination of my academic dance year was with a performance in March at Tambaram, Chennai, where I took part in the Kauthvam group dance, a solo padam ‘Bho Shambo’, and in the themed dance of Dashavataram, the 10 avatars of Vishnu. It goes without saying that dance is the key to my concentration, balance, discipline and my overall mental and physical health. It is something that I enjoy thoroughly and I explore this art form with my Guru in every lesson!

For Physical Recreation I chose Athletics. Athletics is a sport which I plan to pursue in future and I thought this would be a good opportunity to track my progress. For each athletics session, I spent two hours a day and I went twice a week -- on Saturday and Sunday. The coach gave rigorous training, which increased my stamina and speed twofold. I am currently training four times a week now. The training was unique and sometimes we would go to different places. For example, we went to St.Thomas Mount and we did sprints and other exercises uphill and ended with a brisk 3 km jog. Each class focused on a certain aspect, for example: endurance, speed, power, skill and fitness. I excel mainly in endurance because I am a long distance runner by nature. I had run 10 km in an event hosted by Chennai Runners on 10th January and out of 50 people I came 7th with a time of 52 minutes. On 6th February, the school had a sports day, and my relay team finished third and I finished third in the 100 mts race. The rains in Chennai had affected my fitness as the track was submerged and inaccessible. Getting back to form was another challenge I overcame. I thoroughly enjoyed these athletics sessions and will continue to take part in meets and soon dream to become an International Champion.

The most amazing and interesting part was the Adventurous cum Exploration Journey. For this activity I went to Coorg with my batch mates. We stayed there for 3 days and 2 nights. On day one, we decided to explore nature on our own. We walked up to the Abbey Falls and explored the vast extended forest. The walk there was scenic. After visiting the falls, we visited the source of the Cauveri River known as Thalacauveri, a temple and a historical site, on top of the hill. The second day consisted of major adventure activities. We kick-started with some football and then proceeded kayaking. It was a team exercise; I kayaked while my partner helped with turning. We kayaked for 2 km. After this, the whole group went rafting and I was manoeuvring the boat with the supervisor, again this was also for 2 km. It was a very scenic canal of water. Later on, we went to a lagoon area with rocks forming pools of water, some shallow, some deep, giving rise to different colours. Since it was a team activity we had to help each other in climbing over the rocks. The boulders of rocks surrounded a small waterfall which flowed to a gushing stream. After eating our lunch, we went for a hike to the summit of a high hill. The drive took 10 minutes and from there we proceeded on foot with our mentors. We trekked from one mountain summit to another. The first one had a thick forest which we had to walk through. It is said there are elephants in the area, but we did not see one. We trekked for a distance of 12 km altogether.

After completion of my journey, I can say that getting the Bronze Award is one of the most unforgettable experiences of my life. The Award Programme has given a focus to my interests and helped me sharpen them greatly. Click here for the pictures

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