The Path Less Traveled – Alumni Stories
The school was established by Lakshmi (PGP’82)and Arvind Kaul (PGP ’79), both alumni of IIM Bangalore, who are passionate about creating a space for children which is vibrant, loving and innovative. Lakshmi is also an alumnus of the International School of Geneva, St.Stephen’s College, Delhi and a B.Ed. (Gold medalist) from Lucknow University. She is involved in the school full-time and specially enjoys teaching Mathematics. She also conducts training sessions for the teachers and students on a regular basis. Arvind is a Mechanical engineer from IIT Kanpur and is a management consultant.
Founded in 1989, to cater to the educational needs of young children, K.K.Academy has come a long way in its expansion and development. It began as a Nursery school, with the objective of imparting high quality foundation for education, giving ample space for expression in a variety of forms, allowing children to maintain their individuality and inculcating a spirit of cooperation.
It now runs classes from Nursery to Class VIII and is recognised by the State Board. Children from the neighbourhood, belonging to less privileged backgrounds, started coming to us right from the beginning (two decades before the RTE Act), with requests for lowering or waiver of the tuition fee. These have been children of ayahs, carpenters, maids, hawkers, manual workers, farmers, watchmen…the
blue-collared, economically challenged part of society. We support them with extra classes after school hours and found over the years that these children showed remarkable progress and determination. Of our total student strength of 220 children, we support over 50 such students through a substantial fee subsidy.
A large number of alumni from amongst them have gone on to study science, and then engineering. Also commerce and law. We have lawyers, Chartered Accountants, teachers, engineers, bankers, IT professionals and even a published author. They are supporting their families and are role models to many others in their communities.
Implementation of the Right To Education Act began in U.P. in 2015 and we started admitting children from marginalised families and highly impoverished backgrounds. These families live in structures made of plastic sheets, in slum areas or by the side of the road. Theirs is a hand to mouth subsistenc
e. For their child to get admission in a good school was unbelievable – a dream come true. These children will be the first generation of literates in their families.
Ramesh Kuppuswamy (EEP 2008, an alumnus of IIMB) was a Colonel in the Indian Army with over twenty years of service to the Country before he switched over to the Corporate World. He has been honored with awards for his gallantry as well as for business excellence. A humble beginning to greater heights in society has been a journey traversing through many facets of Life, the last one and the lasting having been his tryst with spirituality.
Just in Case…
A usual morning, my dad was busy cleaning his two-wheelers in the basement of the house. It was not one, two or three. It was four two-wheelers in his possession. The earliest one was of 60’s Hercules bicycle. As the technology advanced, he added a moped (motorized bicycle) to make a faster mobility and then a scooter to take my mom or children behind. That he feels little heavy to handle now. A lightweight scooter added to his stable suiting his temperament and age of 80 plus. Hope, he does not push himself back to ride a bicycle to complete life cycle of his travel on two-wheelers.
It was not the passion that made him accumulate so many, but a thought that “Just in case” these vehicles may be required in future for his use or anyone in his family. He is not the only one in this pursuit to keep material things for just in case requirement but may be reflecting many of us.
When I stepped into the boarding school, a tiny metal box fitted to take a long list of things the school had asked me to have. With different sets of clothes to shoes and other essential requirements to meet, my daily needs. This box became big when I stepped into Military for training in the mid-teens. As I grew up in Military, a single box multiplied as the years passed by to stand at four dozen of boxes. When I shifted from one place to another, these boxes tagged along with my pride possessions. Even the smallest things used for once was so important just with a thought that just in case these may be required.
A legacy was being built on what my dad was doing. He associated everything he had with some memories. He proudly recollected his good memories when telling his children and then, to his grandchildren as how each one is so special to him. I did the same thing to my children.
Many memories are associated with our material possessions. Some of them mean so close to our heart recollecting the achievement behind it.
After stepping out been in Military for two-plus decades, the reality struck as I moved from an organized environment to an unorganized civic life. A need to live a simple life managing daily chorus. That pushed me to take stock of things that would actually be required. A time to shed many of the things. One last time, I recollected the memories associated with each and had to say goodbye, even it means that just in case it may be required. I just let it go.
When I cleared of this clutter, I really knew what was important to me now. The memories were not present in the things, but only in my mind. It reduced me to becoming light and simplistic. An insight into what is required in life, becoming contented and less consumption-oriented with material possession. The sentiments attached to every material thing added only misery, in the end, masking us to live in the present moment.
Let go of what is not required, whether it is material or the experiences. Everything that weighs needs to be dropped making this journey light to walk. Rich experience connecting with good people and nature always adds inspiration to live. Decluttering the mind periodically is very much required as detoxing the body for good health.
‘ Just in Case‘ are avoidable words, which I keep them away from my life. Uncertainties do come, but stocking inventory to meet an odd contingency is really not worth it. Learn from experiences and move on. Nothing is worth carrying all along. Stay simple and happy.