With the school year coming to a close, nine-year-old Kavya Kompella’s family was planning their annual summer vacations. But 2020 had other plans. Confined to home for days that turned into weeks and then months, Kavya’s parents Kashyap and Divya Kumar suggested that their daughter take to creative writing to overcome boredom. Little did they imagine that soon the nine-year-old would self-publish a book, The Three Adventurers at Fungalore, which, for the first two weeks was among the Top 10 on Amazon rubbing shoulders with the likes of JK Rowling, Rick Riordan, Sudha Murty and Jeff Kinney. Notebook in hand, the fourth-grader from Sishu Griha, would jot down ideas as they occurred. “I was very particular that nothing be changed.
Everything was completely my idea,” says Kavya. Her parents agree wholeheartedly. “We suggested some changes, but Kavya simply wouldn’t reconsider,” says her father Kashyap, CEO of a global AI industry analyst firm, with a laugh. Like Kavya, the pandemic pushed six-year-old Bhishak Prabhu S Kalburgi to explore his creative side. With an art lecturer for a father, this Class I student at Divine English School, has already turned teacher for many of his peers.
He shares his work on a near-daily basis on WhatsApp. “English alphabets in comparison to Kannada don’t have many curves. During the initial days of the lockdown, when we were trying to figure how we could meaningfully engage our child, I turned to art. Instead of the usual ‘A’ for ‘Apple,’ I drew an ‘Artist’. Taking off from there, Bhishak started coming up with innovative drawings,” says father Shiva Kumar N. They individually reach out to 100 learners everyday.
Mother Latha G plays ‘anchor’ for the ‘show’ for which they prepare dress, dialogue and doodle in advance. Over the months, Bhishak has been making creations with big and small alphabets. “He practises on his own, and adds his own creative inputs,” Shiva Kumar says. It all starts with a way to keep the child entertained. While parents initially looked at the new methods as a creative option to keep children occupied, the focus and determination that the kids showed came as a surprise to many. “Once we saw that she was serious and we felt that there was some promise in the story, we asked her to write 300-400 words a day,” says Kashyap about his daughter Kavya.
The couple was also in for a pleasant surprise when they shared the book with friends who had young readers at home. “I heard from a lot of friends that they were also interested in writing after reading my book,” says the young author. As a founder of Reading Rhino Society, a community of 170 kids and their parents from India, Nepal, and the US, Arnay Agarwal has conducted sessions on soft skills, storytelling contests and talk shows. The 12-year-old started reaching out to children and seniors to give motivational talks and conduct book reading sessions for children. “During my sessions of ‘Mantras of Life’ and ‘Rouse up the House’, I shared how they can keep learning new skills while staying home.
I was nervous during my first session, but within a few minutes I was on a roll,” says this student of Greenwood High. Sounding mature over his years, Arnay explains how he discovered a ‘new me’ while presenting these sessions. “Most of the attendees were senior people. One of the sessions comprised students of BTech in Science and Technology Institute of Gwalior,” he says. Quite a few platforms also extended much-needed help to kids during the lockdown period to unlock their creativity. Bookosmia, a digital platform for stories, video stories, books and e-books, is one of them. Founder and CEO Nidhi Mishra launched the initiative ‘Gratitude during Covid’ to give a platform to children to talk about their emotions and what they are going through. Poems and essays poured in and the site would post two poems or two essays a day. “That such creativity is happening during the pandemic, when all of us are struggling to be productive, makes it something to cherish,” says Kashyap. Indeed. Creativity doesn’t wait for that perfect moment.
“Once we saw that Kavya was serious and we felt that there was some promise in the story, we asked her to write 300-400 words a day. That such creativity is happening during the pandemic, when all of us are struggling to be productive, makes it something to cherish.” Kashyap Kompella