My name is Pavini Sharma. I am in class 9th and currently studying in Senior Study School, Amritsar. This is my new school. Till last year, I was a student at Evergreen Public School in Delhi. Was I a frisky yet disciplined child? Yeah, you could say that. I remained a topper—disciplined and ideal student in the eyes of my teachers, and funny, audacious and amiable to be a cool friend. Anyways, till fifth grade, everything went just fine. But in sixth grade, things got interesting. We used to attend the school Art and Craft sessions in the morning. On one such morning, a student came and said to my craft teacher, 'Ma’am, the class teacher wants to see Pavini Sharma.' My craft teacher replied sharply, 'Why? What’s so important this early?' The student said, this time choosing his words more cautiously, considering the mood of the teacher, 'Ma’am, there is a certain workshop in which her name has been selected with a few other kids by the class teacher. She is supposed to go and attend it now.' And yes, you are intelligent. My craft teacher angrily scowled. “No way. You go wherever you want to go, but she is not going anywhere.” And there I was, cursing the stupid timer of the traffic lights. My teacher didn’t understand. It was not my fault that the traffic lights had a timer of 10,000 minutes to wait for green lights when we were getting late and it was raining outside.
Well, fast forward to the end of the art thingy, I went and learned that the workshop was taken by someone from IQF, a not-for-profit organisation. After getting more details about the session from my friends, the conclusion was that—it was epic. I had clearly missed something amazing. The next thing that happened was me fighting with one of my friends—Shreya for the IQF Club membership form because she was my substitute in the workshop and had got a form. But the quarrel ended on a good note. The coordinating teacher allowed both of us both to be a part of the club.
We had club sessions every Friday. The club was very different from the other workshops. We learned and practised meditation, understood concepts like powers of mind, stages of mind, and eternal bliss, and did creative tasks like making as many things as we could in 10 minutes from a circle, or weaving a story from random stuff around us. We also learned that the mind is like a monkey, always jumping here and there. In a few months, we, about 30 kids, and Pankaj Sir were like a family. And then the pandemic chose its moment to crawl inside. Everything went online. So, IQF also went online. But the spark remained the same. Actually, the time dedicated to IQF became even more precious because it was the only time when, after a long week, on Saturdays, we were able to chitchat, interact and do something creative online.
During this period, I attended the 21-Day Power Challenge programme. It was an interesting initiative, which included attending two online sessions—one in the morning for meditation and yoga, another in the evening—the interactive, informative and creative sessions; for 21 days straight including Sundays. Students, not only from my school but also from other schools in Assam, Jharkhand and other places participated in these sessions. The experience of learning with so many students from diverse backgrounds under the roof of IQF was amazing. We learned that ‘We are the creators of our own destiny.’ We understood that FDP—Faith, Determination and Practice are required to accomplish any goal.
I remember opening the creative doors of the minds and making colourful birds and Leonardo da Vinci’s bridge using paper. I also played the flute and got the opportunity to express my views in the valedictory session in front of the chief guest. I even remember one of the junior students casually asking if we could eat poppadom while practising yoga when rules were being explained, which made everyone burst into laughter.
When I was in eighth, the sessions went like once a month, but the grin which came by itself when we heard that ‘hello’ from sir was priceless!
As time passed, there were certain circumstances due to which, I had to change my school and shift to Amritsar but the things that occupy space in your brain and your heart are rarely forgotten.
"As an IQF Ambassador, I would first like to share my experiences about the IQF club with others and encourage them to join it or at least try to work on the ideals of the club, which are rooted in the teachings of Swami Vivekananda. I would advise other students to be consistent with their spiritual practice and make yoga and meditation a part of their daily routine. It’s kind of crazy how a foolish fight ended in such a great series of events that changed my way of perceiving things."
"To sum up, I would like to say that IQF is a great platform for students to learn and express new things. Swami Vivekananda has now become one of my favourite leaders. He is at the centre of our learning. These lessons have psychologically made me who I am. IQF has helped me to understand the importance of a spiritual way of life (yoga and meditation). I have learned to balance the frisky and disciplined aspects of my nature and merge them to become a more content person. My future goal is to be a good human first, then balance my personal and professional life."