Legendary artist Pablo Picasso once said, “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up”.
Often having their dreams and wishes nipped in the bud, children are seldom given the freedom to chase their vocations, let alone career paths.
Becoming a doctor or engineer is fetishized in India, and most parents will leave no stone unturned to fulfil this dream, irrespective of whether the child wants it
Often schools and colleges that are driven by traditional curricula fail to help children pursue what they are actually interested in, which ultimately adds to the growing number of unhappy and dysfunctional adults in the workforce.
Imagine a situation where a child’s aspirations, no matter what it is, gets support and encouragement from his or her parents? Quite hard to believe in an Indian context, isn’t it?
Well, this is the story of a 15-year-old boy from Bengaluru who found his calling in carpentry and is making a niche in a field that doesn’t fall under conventional vocations.
While scores of parents have been enrolling children as young as 10 to IIT and MBBS crash courses, Rashmi and Nagesh chose to go against the tide and helped their son Vivek choose his own destiny.
Vivek is a young entrepreneur who crafts wooden toys for educational purposes, all by himself. Currently supplying customised study aids for Montessori teaching, his dreams wouldn’t have seen the light of the day if it had not been for his parent’s unfaltering support.
Vivek was in class 6 when his parents, Rashmi and Nagesh Babu, realised that traditional curriculum-driven schools were stifling their son’s talents.
“It wasn’t that he had no interest in studying. In fact, he was very receptive to learn via practical examples. But, everything he was ‘taught’ in school started becoming hard for Vivek to cope with after a point,” Rashmi says.
After observing her son struggling to keep up with mainstream academics and growing stressed as a result, Rashmi, who is a Montessorian, along with her husband, decided to switch to an alternative mode of education – one that would not inhibit their son’s intellectual growth.
“We grew tired of receiving complaints during PTA meetings. Classroom education doesn’t necessarily help every child, and we knew that we couldn’t fail someone who was so talented,” Nagesh remembers.
After spending months of research, Rashmi stumbled upon Aurinko Academy, a progressive learning space in the city that was touted for giving a free-learning environment to children.
“We could see the change in him almost immediately. Within few months in the institute, Vivek found himself intrigued by carpentry, which was one of the subjects taught amidst the various genres in their unique curriculum,” Rashmi proudly recalls. Vivek’s parents soon took him out of his school and had him enrolled in Aurinko.
Vivek’s interest and dedication towards learning the craft was noticed by none other than the academy’s principal, Anoop Keni, who decided to help him hone his talent.
“There were days when I would end up waiting outside the school for an hour or more after everyone else left. Anoop and Vivek would work on new projects and completely lose track of time,” Rashmi said.
And after Vivek had learned everything the institute had to offer, he turned to YouTube to master even more woodworking techniques.
“Impressed by his dexterity, Anoop assigned Vivek his very first project of creating 100 cubical structures that could be used as teaching material in the academy. He was so engrossed with the project that he ended up finishing the entire lot within a month!” Rashmi added.
Since then, there has been no looking back.
Since Rashmi belongs to the educational sector, her son’s expertise has been aiding many of her colleagues. Vivek creates colourful and educational toys, which help teach tiny tots. He delivers the toys himself.
He also has a Facebook page, called ‘Kingwood carpentry’ – that showcases his entire handicraft and from where one can reach out to the young artist.
As for the future, Vivek wants to enrol in a management studies course. He hopes to inspire other children to pursue their dreams and also plans on organising workshops for both kids and parents.
You can reach out to Vivek through his Facebook page.