Rela - Rhythms of Change
(Co-Founder & Project Director)
Rela began with our fascination to live closely with and learn from adivasi (indigenous) communities. We began our journey at a remote forest village in South India which welcomed us. At their request, we began our first project called "Chinta Chettu Badulu" (Tamarind Tree Schools) in 2014 as a way of engaging with children through play and a self designed experience centric learning. Over the next couple of years, we expanded to work with over 1500 children and youth between ages 10 and 18 from across a dozen different tribes and villages and started our own learning centre where children chose and worked on their own upcycling projects, art, storytelling, science experiments and questions, occasionally guiding them towards resources and holding the space loosely. We were also actively involved in community drives and initiatives working with the state and local government bodies and other NGOs in the region. "Rela" is a term used by many tribes in their songs and dances as a 'call to celebration'. One person would start the song or dance chanting some version of "Rela... Rela" and one by one, the community would join in until it becomes one grand celebration.
Anbudan Full Moon Gift Circles
The idea for the Full Moon Gift Circles came to me spontaneously while I was giving a talk on my explorations with Gift Culture in early 2020. Seeing the interest that people showed, I committed to offer a virtual gift circle (given that the COVID lockdowns) every full moon for people to not just understand the idea better but also experience it as a community. Through 2020-21, we built a community of curious seekers around Gift Culture, localizing their gift culture practices through experiments around handmade gifts, personal talents and service offerings including the gift of listening. We celebrated a virtual DIWALI that year where the community self organized and posted each other thoughtful gifts as an act of love and celebration as a way of unlearning their Diwali gifting habits.
'Anbudan' is an initiative I started in 2018 to invite people to experience and experiment with gift culture in their own local contexts in South India. We have had discussion circles, gift drives and circles and kick started a virtual social media community.
Elements of Facilitation
One of the most challenging aspects in the path of conscious self-transformation is the need to be consistent with practices. In a community of fellow seekers, in solidarity, exchange and connection, one can nourish their spirit and commitment into staying on the path of authentic seeking despite the pulls and pushes of life.
This is the intention with which "REIGNITE" began as a weekly virtual gathering of people who had explored deep dived courses with Unlearning Ashram to come together to support and nourish each other's journeys during the pandemic lockdown times. For over a year, the space experimented in multiple ways to rekindle the light.
Elements of Facilitation was a series of hands-on, semi-structured facilitated sessions for aspiring and established facilitators. It explored some key elements that are fundamental to creating a space for facilitation within and without and through real-time scenarios, allow people to learn and unlearn the nuances of choices and experiences that a facilitator may encounter while engaging practically.
Elements of Facilitation was a prototype whose iterations and experiences led to the emergence of the Facilitators' Unlearning lab which is currently being offered.
Swaraj University has been around since 2010 as an experimental learning community for young seekers to explore themselves and their place in the world. It works with the pedagogy of self-designed learning around the question of 'how do we bring swaraj into our everyday lives?' The primary programme is a 2 year 'Khoji' programme for 18-28 year olds with no degree/certificates required or offered. It seeks to challenge the current education models and re-imagine what a 'university' can be like that is truly meaningful.
Foundation for Universal Responsibility
of His Holiness The Dalai Lama
The Annual Interfaith Youth Pilgrimage is organized by the Foundation founded by The Dalai Lama himself keeping in mind his vision for Interfaith Dialogue and Harmony, particularly among the youth. As part of this intensive exploration of theistic and spiritual paths explored through the lens of science and tradition, "Paalam" is a one day programme set aside to slow down and witness the power of our own stories, our belief systems and other judgments we may hold that need to be unlearned to enable authentic inquiry and dialogue for peace.
YES! Jams in India
Started in the US over 30 years ago, Jams are organized around the world as residential retreats creating safe spaces for young social changemaking leaders to come together and share, celebrate, inquire and collaborate on their projects and delve deeper to explore themes like their deep listening, frameworks for social changemaking, identities, gender, vision for the world, education, wellness, etc. I have co-facilitated multiple jams including the India Youth Jam and South India Jam and am part of the Global Jam Leadership Community.
UnConferences are unique inter-generational spaces where sessions are co-created by participants as a community with a small team of organizers/facilitators loosely holding the larger unconference together. Receiving anywhere between 200 - 2000 people, a variety of unconferences take place across the world from time to time. I have had the privilege of facilitating at multiple Learning Societies UnConferences (LSUCs) and a few City Learning UnConferences in Telengana, Kerala, Maharashtra and Udaipur. Themes like Unschooling, Homeschooling and other alternative systems around education, economy, healing, governance, parenting, art, games, etc.
Pause was originally designed as a short term residential retreats for people to 'pause' from their fast paced lifestyles and slow down to connect with themselves, each other and nature in a safe space co-created together by everyone and held together by a small group of facilitators who design experiential and reflective processes for authentic connection.