Sunday, December 25, 2011

TEJAL KARMALKAR sends me her greetings in rhyme!

"Hello Uncle! How are you?
Kimaya will visit you for sure,
She misses you too.

So much to tell and so much to hear,
But when, I don’t know, I fear!

My bored brain longs for maths challenges and cryptograms,
And wants to talk of Mozart and Brahms.
But it must resist,
For its possessor is studying to be a scientist,

I know I keep saying "soon" in every message I send,
But the headache of academics never seems to end
The Education system with all its crooks,
Has made sure my life revolves only around textbooks.

But I’ll see you surely in a little while,
And end my self-imposed exile.

I wish you a Merry Christmas and a happy new year,
I hope my reply in rhyme made you smile ear to ear!"

Monday, December 12, 2011

A Little Boy finds his Wonderland

Sharvil Thatte, now 17, an outstanding ex-student, a winner of The Genius of the Year Award, writes to greet me on my Birthday. This is his exclusive style of writing ... I welcome readers to mail in their comments.
--Prasan Wilfred, December 11, 2011

About a decade ago, a young boy of tender age stepped out of his house and entered into a strange, new place. The boy was confused. Confused as to why at a place where he had spent about just under an hour did he feel so home. Where was he? Was this indeed the illusive wonderland he had heard stories of? He went back home that evening and slept, happy and content.  

Over the next few days, he would have an itch at the back of his mind, a jump in his stride and a constant longing to the wonderland he was growing ever so fond of.

 The place even had a nice ring to it. The Genius. N 19 Saket Indore.  The shiny 'D.P. Wilfred' name plate outside the office. The veranda outside with the old palm tree, bent over the years. The plastic chairs or the concrete second level of the courtyard where he could sit before the 'class' began. He never quite got used to the word 'class' being attributed to it. It was always some place he could happily spend the rest of his life.

The place just wasn’t bricks and stones to him. It was an environment. A complete world within the world. 

He had grown used to the people there too. Whether it be the friendly guard at the gate with whom he could sit safely and chat away in the evening as he waited for his ride, or the pleasant baijis, from whom he would receive a glass of water to quench his thirst and a smile to brighten his day, or the autowala bhaiya, who would bring him back home at the end of countless ecstatic evenings. Or the didis and bhaiyas who were the mentors there. 

Funny word, mentors, he used to think. Initially, not used to diluting the authority of the traditional 'teacher' to 'mentor', he quickly fell in line. And boy did he have fun. He would be wild. Wild with joy. If he had wanted, he would have jumped around like a monkey at times, just to express his pleasure. Coming to think of it, he did. Alas, the poor mentor. Handling a group of exuberant children is hard enough but to add a monkey to it! 

Then there were the games. He knew what he was essentially doing in the process was learning. But learning had never been so much fun. Answering 'Manila' to "What is the capital of Philippines?" would earn his team an extra 10 points, clenching victory from his friends. 
Speaking continuously for 'just a minute' would earn him a win. Experimenting with science would earn him a prize. 
A bout at maths, word play and logic would mean a pat on his back. Learning a speech by heart and presenting it in front of the judges and his peers would make him proud of himself. Reciting a poem made him feel elegant. 

Correctly pronouncing the word 'opportunity' was a matter of self esteem to him. But probably the foundation of it all for him were the books.

 The place was FULL of books. There were shelves upon shelves full of books. Neatly assorted  according to their categories, there were books of every kind. Story books, encyclopedias, comic books, fiction, biographies, 'The Great Illustrated Classics' and what not. He got to take them home, read them till his eyelids gave out under the burden of sleep. He would read them whenever he had a second to spare. 

He got to make a project out of them on a topic of his liking. If it wasn't for them, he wouldn’t have quite understood the railways or the World Wars for the fact. 
And to top it off, he would get books as prizes too! 
First in declamation? Here, have a red labelled book! 
Second in poetry recitation? No problem! Here, a blue labelled book. Books there were galore.

He grew with the place. Maturation was a way to put it. He had friends around him, with whom he had laughed, celebrated and parted ways for the summer break, promising to come back the next session. 

The mock interviews, the scrabble competitions, the etiquette sessions with those heavenly enchiladas.

 But, as all good things must come to an end...

The words 'Indian Education System' bring a scowl to the now 17-year-old boy. It was the villain in his fairy tale. To fulfill one of his goals, he had to sever a part of his soul. It was a conundrum he could get his brain around. In the end, he had to leave behind his wonderland. For 'the greater good'.


He was ashamed of himself because he couldnt believe how easily he could forget about those memories, those longings. He was ashamed that he had to express himself over an electronic medium. But for his average, mundane existence, he had no other shameless excuse.

It was his life and he had never wanted to let it go, especially of a man and a woman. In fact, the man and woman.

 Uncle and Aunty as they were lovingly called by everyone. 

It was their idea that had led to his wonderland's creation. The boy was always guilty that he never got to spend extended amounts of time with Aunty.  She was always busy with the major administration of the Genius. He did, however, come to know Uncle quite closely.

 Uncle to him was like his grandfather, his friend, his guide and his mentor. He was extremely fond of him. He looked surprisingly handsome in suspenders, had an uncanny similarity to Amitabh Bachchan for the boy, and was a treasure chest full of knowledge to anyone who knew him. He only had one bad habit. Smoking. The boy had always wished he would quit. 

And it was that one man's legacy that had made the young toddler the boy was into a confident youth, marching his way into adulthood. If it wasn't for him, the boy would have faded into the billions of human beings inhabiting the world as 'just some boy'. But he was glad that he hadn’t. And he was immeasurably grateful to God for somehow making him end up at The Genius' front gate.


He was, and always will be, in debt of one of the greatest men to ever walk the earth. He took the road less travelled and that has made all the difference for him and a little boy.
 The boy might have not met an Asimov, Verne, Lincoln, Churchill, Gandhi or Kalam, but it was his pleasure to have met Prasan Wilfred and he was more than content.

 So on this day, the day a legend was born 73 years ago, the little boy from a decade ago would like to wish his beloved Uncle a very happy birthday. "

Sunday, October 23, 2011

IQ Is Not Set In Stone

An Intriguing Question

I had never been perfectly sure whether exposure to puzzles, mental challenges, and high-level language skills do indeed change the reckoning of a child's Intelligence Quotient with the help of one of the standardised tests.

Measurement of IQ is not easy, it is a highly specialised task of a qualified psychologist. All
available IQ tests have been subject to criticisms of various types. The actual IQ scores are also said to vary from time to time. It is said to depend on the mood of the test-taker at the time of the test. It depends on the companions or peers taking the test with the individual. Their individual cultural, racial, ethnic differences appear to vary the results.

However, one thing that I had observed throughout my life was that young people did appear to build up certain strengths within themselves if either by themselves or through the influence of peers, or of capable parents or Mentor/teachers, they widened their horizons, strengthened skills, and applied their knowledge to solving practical problems with forethought and capabilities.

The thousands of students who have gone through the programmes of THE GENIUS over the last 21 years bear testimony to this. Those who declare that you are born with a certain level of intelligence, and that no power on earth can change it must accept that this is just true! This certainly is good news to all the young people who desist from wasting their time with inane television entertainment, or insipid conversation with ignoramuses.

In this connection do visit the web-page at this link: IQ Isn't Set In Stone
and listen to experts telling us that the right exposure at the right time does add to your cerebral capacities!

One other point: a child's intellectual development begins at birth. Early exposure to thinking skills, and mental challenges will bring forth an entire generation of geniuses, I am sure!

Send me your comments, if you have any. I shall publish them with my reply.
And, for those who are interested in an instant mental challenge, here's a problem for you to solve:

What are the next two numbers in this sequence?

7, 14, 17, 21, 27, 28, 35, 37, ?, ?

Happy puzzle-solving!

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Prasan Wilfred

Sunday, June 26, 2011


On the evening of Saturday, the 25th June 2011, we had our first real REUNION in 21 years! Anand Wilfred, Aunty and I met twenty-two of our past students on our premises at Saket, Indore. Envisaged by Shriya Gupta and made possible with the help of Shreya Raj, the evening turned out to be a truly memorable one.

All of them took time off their busy schedules and came over to let down their hair, re-introduce themselves to old friends, re-live some of the beautiful memories of their earlier days at THE GENIUS, and also to play a couple of games. It was nostalgic to listen to Prasad Kawathekar reciting the story "Peace at Last" that they had learnt while in Class 3 or 4. Some of them recalled the words of "The Charge of the Light Brigade" recited with vigour and a flourish.

Everyone enjoyed a game of "Scattergories" which they had never played at
THE GENIUS during their days. This was a new game we had introduced a year ago in our effort to develop thinking skills in new ways.
It was a great evening and we hope we would be able to repeat such occasions more often.

All the photographs with captions can be viewed at this link on Picasaweb.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


Someone very rightly called our 'education system' as a mere 'examination system'. Schools appear to make concerted efforts to help children to stop thinking and learn the ready-made regurgitated notes, to learn facts by rote, and to repeat everything verbatim in test papers.
For an elaboration of this thought please read my post at

We devised our system of fun and games with an intellectual content so that children would begin to think for themselves, be able to understand what they learn, develop capabilities beyond what is envisaged by the pedagogues, and express themselves with their own ideas and opinions.

We are now trying to reach out to Dubai in the hope that we can contribute our bit to the development of the children of this region.

Scheduled for 10 a.m. to noon on June 11, 2011
Venue: Mankhool, Bur Dubai
Telephone: DUBAI 050-4693191 -- Call Veathika Jain

Saturday, April 9, 2011


The Greatest Evening of the Year 2010 - 2011


The Annual Awards evening this year took place on three separate days: 27th March for the Vijayanagar unit, 2nd April for the junior children of Saket, 3rd April for children from group Alpha (classes 9 to 12) to group E (Class 4).

The spirit of the evenings was just fun and laughter, loads of books for the successful children interspersed with some interesting performances. This year the children ended the festivities with a mass performance of the energetic dance "STEP IN TIME".

Click here to see the children come in small and large groups in sheer exuberance.

Here is a clipping of the Book Review on A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini. This will give the viewer a sample of the quality of work the children do at The Genius.

THE coveted GENIUS OF THE YEAR 2011 AWARD winner was Ishita Garg. It consisted of a Certificate, a silver trophy, and a set of books.

Here Ishita Garg
holds her trophy, her proud parents on the stage equally honoured, and the books -- the full 60-volume set of The Britannica Great Books of the Western World -- displayed for all to see.

This picture is of the children of Group E [Class 4] performing "The Energy Rap".

The students of the Alpha Group [Classes 9 to 11] displayed great talent performing a small spoof on Shakespeare's great "MACBETH". Check out

It was, as usual, left to my lot to speak a "few words of wisdom" to my audience of parents. I chose just a few queries to which the children desired answers from their parents. You can see this speech by clicking on this link:

We ended the year on a note of joy with a repeat performance of "Step in Time" and hope to re-start our work in earnest in July 2011.

Our past students now grace the portals of the world's leading Universities, and contribute in a great way to making India a proud country. Many of them do keep in touch with us and we are happy that our small contribution is adding so much to the quality of education that is now being described as an 'examination system' as opposed to an honest 'education system.' All our Mentors and I have truly earned kudos all along for our work, and it is my hope that we would have the energy and the intellectual ability to continue our work for many years!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


Here's another interesting Cryptogram.
These immortal quotations in coded language are given to our students to decipher -- each is a mental challenge that should assist and accelerate intellectual growth.